Queen Victoria’s secret garden terrace opens to the public

Queen Victoria's Garden terrace Osborne House, Isle of Wight
Now you can step into Queen Victoria's garden terrace at Osborne House. Credit: Jim Holden/English Heritage

A garden terrace where Queen Victoria sat and painted watercolours at her Isle of Wight home, Osborne House, is opening to the public

Visitors to Queen Victoria’s beloved seaside home on the Isle of Wight will now be able to step into the private garden terrace where the queen would sit and paint.

The terrace (as with the rest of Osborne House) was designed by Prince Albert alongside his ‘Adviser in Art’ Ludwig Gruner. From here there are panoramic views across the Solent – comparable, according to the Prince Consort, to the Bay of Naples.

An Andromeda fountain, bought by Queen Victoria during the Great Exhibition in 1851, has been restored. Visitors will also be able to inspect the famous royal myrtle plant, given to Victoria by Prince Albert’s grandmother.

The myrtle has been included in royal wedding bouquets since the marriage of Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter. Both HRH Queen Elizabeth II and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge included it in their weddings.

The classic ‘Osborne Yellow’ has also been reinstated to the terrace walls. This gives the area an Italianate feel, as it would have had during Victoria and Albert’s time here. 

You will also be able to experience the Victorian planting that the queen was so fond of and get a sense of why she adored this spot so much. Writing in her journal on 02 June 1850, she said: ”This evening, after our little “tête à tête” dinner, we went out for a little on the Terrace, & nothing could have been more enchanting. — the calm sea stretched out before us, & innumerable birds singing, the only sounds to interrupt the quiet of the place”.

Samantha Stones, English Heritage’s Properties Curator at Osborne, said: “Queen Victoria loved to be outside in the fresh sea air and the terrace was a place of peace. Opening up this previously closed space to visitors gives them another glimpse into the private lives of the royal couple. Our conservation project now reinstates Albert’s original vision of Osborne.

“Matching the yellow of the walls, restoring the beautifully decorated shell alcove with its aqua blue canopy, and seeing the Andromeda fountain with her surrounding sea monsters in working order has truly brought the terrace back to life.” 

The Garden Terrace at Osborne House is open to the public from Wednesday 28 June 2017.