Thursday 4 May 2017

Osborne House Gardens

We popped over to the Isle of Wight for the weekend. It may have been a wet and windy day but I couldn't resist making use of my English Heritage membership to pay a visit to Osborne House. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had it built as a family home in order to escape the prying eyes in London.
With its views across the Solent the positioning of the estate reminded Prince Albert of the Bay of Naples. This inspired the design of the house and the Italianate ornate terrace gardens at the back of the house.
The spring tulips are just coming to an end but the overall appearance is still impressive.
On the terrace a range of conservation projects are under way. Quite an undertaking for such a historic property.
Prince Albert took a keen interest in the education and upbringing of his nine children. The extensive grounds of Osborne House allowed him to construct areas especially for the children to play and learn in. As Osborne was the couple's private residence Prince Albert had a free rein in what he could do. The children were each given a vegetable plot in order to grow their own produce. In turn they then sold whatever they grew to their father. Prince Albert saw this a way to teach them about business and economics.
The plots still survive to this day. At the moment they are mainly filled with emerging soft fruit.
One of the plots has asparagus in it. You don't get much yield for the space and effort but it is a seasonal delight. The night before I had a risotto with Isle of Wight asparagus in it but I doubt it was sourced from here!
In the surrounding woodland the floor is carpeted in bluebells and flowering wild garlic.
Many of the trees in the woodland were planted Prince Albert himself.
Inside the house the spectacular Durbar Room is laid out in preparation of Her Majesty's Dinner on Saturday 6th February 1897. Queen Victoria became Empress of India in 1879 and this wing was built to reflect her new status. Look out for it in the new film Victoria and Abdul due for release in September. In the meantime just enjoy some the views that Queen Victoria looked out on.

1 comment:

  1. Excited to see your post, as we're off to the Isle of Wight for our holiday this summer. Looking forward to visting Osborne even more now!


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