Detail of floor mosaic in side Osborne House on the Isle of Wight

English islands

“It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot” said Queen Victoria of Osborne House, her palatial home on the Isle of Wight. Even after seeing the house on a blustery, grey January day we had to agree with her.

Karen and I took an afternoon off after Top Drawer to have a tour of Osborne House on the Isle Wight, which is just across the River Medina from our home in Cowes. Whilst the upper floors in the house are closed for the winter months, the House Keeper leads daily tours with small groups of the ground floor rooms, so we took the opportunity to have a nose around without the summer crowds, and probably got to linger longer than visitors normally do.

We were early for the tour so had time for a ramble in the Walled Garden, which is just starting to show the first signs of Spring’s arrival with green shoots poking out of bare flower beds, and espaliered fig trees spreading their branches along the walls.  I fell in love with the vegan pigs we discovered. And Karen found that she could easily imagine herself living here!

Inside we were able to explore the main rooms with their impressive, OTT Victorian decoration; as well as take the time to appreciate the smaller details, such as these incredible Minton floor tiles with their beautifully detailed depictions of sea life. We finished the tour in the Durbar Room, which was like walking inside a wedding cake with it’s frosted walls. There must have been some very chic dinner parties held here 100 years ago. Having seen the ground floor we are very much looking forward to coming back in the summer and seeing the rest of the house and the garden.


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