Whilst arrangements for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations were getting into full swing I spent a day visiting the Isle of Wight and Osborne House. This palace was a favourite retreat for Queen Victoria, the only other monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee – back in 1897.
My travel across to the Isle of Wight was care of Red Funnel Ferries, a very pleasant journey dodging through the many yachts in the Solent and, being over 60, I received more than 30% discount on the tickets – enough to buy some drinks and a snack on board!
Osborne House, a couple of miles from the ferry terminals in Cowes, provided a fascinating glimpse into Queen Victoria’s family life and the pomp of court proceedings, not too dissimilar to today. But also recognised is the influence of Indian on Victoria, with the richly decorated Durbar Room, and pictures of her confidant, Abdul Karim.
I particularly enjoyed wandering around the extensive grounds including the walled garden and the Italian terraces, with views across the Solent towards Portsmouth. And one of Victoria’s other confidants is remembered in the John Brown’s Walk.
So a great day out, and being a weekday before the Jubilee holiday break, I was able to enjoy the grounds in tranquillity!
Okay Osborne House offers only a 10% discount on the entry charge for the over 60s, but I have an annual English Heritage admission card, which gives a smacking 25% discount for the over 60s.
There’s lots more to see on the Isle of Wight including the impressive Needles chalk stacks in the far west of the island and Carisbrooke Castle, where Charles I was imprisoned, in the centre.
I finished my day with an excellent meal at the Lifeboat near the East Cowes ferry terminal.
Look out in the future for a full feature on heritage sites throughout the British Isles, and of course how to get the best discounts as a senior traveller!