Osborne House – A Living Museum in East Cowes

As we touched upon briefly in previous blog posts on this website, Osborne House in East Cowes is a former royal residence on the Isle of Wight. It was built in Italian Renaissance style for Queen Victoria and Price Albert as a summer getaway where they could escape the Royal Court and enjoy some rest and relaxation.

The house, which was was designed by Prince Albert himself, is open to the public against a fee and visitors can marvel at the beautiful architecture and stately rooms and gardens. The house is maintained as it was back in the days of Queen Victoria and visitors can enter the rooms that the British monarch called home for a few weeks of the year. Osborne House has been maintained and kept in good condition since 1851, when it was completed after a six year building phase overseen by Thomas Cubitt, an architect who also built the fa├žade of Buckingham Palace.

Queen Victoria, who spent a lot of her childhood on the Isle of Wight, retired there and died in January 1901. The home was passed on to the UK government and a few rooms paid homage to the queen as a living museum.

In an interesting twist, the state of Victoria in Australia built a replica of the house in 1876, as a tribute.

Osborne House is today under the care of English Heritage and thousands of visitors come to East Cowes to see the stately home. It is now officially a tourist attraction and the former Royal Navy cricket pavilion was turned into holiday accommodation in 2004. In 2012, Queen Victoria’s private beach was opened to the public as another attraction in 2012 and visitors can see the bathing machines, odd contraptions that allowed the well to do to enter the water on a wooden type of hut without exposing themselves to anyone when bathing.

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