Isle of Wight day 4 – Osbourne House
Another blistering hot day and off we went wobbling our way down the roads to Osbourne House (via the chain ferry as we took a wrong turn and turned a half hour drive into an hour and a half, and a pop in to Waitrose for a sandwich to take).
This is one of the star attractions of the island – Queen Victoria’s family home. Overall I was rather disappointed – mainly because of the way we explored the grounds due to poor signage. This it seems is a common gripe on Trip Advisor – to which I added my own at the end of the day.
Being English Heritage, you are greeted with the unavoidable ‘buy English Heritage membership’ booth and a run down of the benefits for disabled people. Thanks but no thanks. You are cleverly pushed through the gift shop to the ticket desk. Finally we got in and you are greeted with roads and an expanse of not a lot. To your right is their mini bus stop and a sign to the left points you along the road to the house. Most people seemed in the 60’s plus with the odd family and we tried to find a place to picnic. The map said there were tables by a play area but we didn’t see them… we headed off towards the house. It was just road and an expanse of grass (I was expecting some kind of manicured lawn with plants and paths and a fountain or something grand). A few people sat on the dried out lawn. Eventually we headed for an alcove feature thing which had a seat in it.
After our not so grand lunch (because the cafes were sandwiches and ice cream or full waiter service) we debated on getting the mini bus to the Queens Beach – but the sign was covered up so we assumed it had stopped running perhaps. So we we did a trip to the loo (terribly signposted) and walked back to the entrance. Here we took a mini bus to the Swiss Cottage (not accessible for disabled people and no photos of what it was like around the outside – in fact no information boards about anything on the property). You could order your picnic lunch (very basic) at a cost of £20.50 from the kiosk here. We settled with bottled water. A walk past a lovely walled picnic spot (not mentioned in the maps) a vegetable patch, meadow and museum of things collected., shot and stuffed or gifted to the royal family finished that corner of the grounds. I really liked the museum but some things in the glass cases can’t be seen from a low wheelchair height. I was impressed with there ramp though – it was wooden and the floor was carved to match the tiled outer path that it ‘took over’ from to lead you inside. Very well done in keeping with the building. From here it was a ten minute walk (well that is what they claim) through a wood, to the beach. I don’t know how long it took us, it was pretty steep and allowed a good half an hour for the midges to take chunks out of us.
The beach was very pleasant, pretty empty with a kiosk selling ice cream and some tables and chairs outside. A few brave people were standing in the water. It is another ‘short’ walk to the bus that takes you back to the stop at the front of the house which we had seen boarded up! You can take the bus or walk another 1.2 K up a huge hill. Whilst on the bus you have a little commentary on the sewerage system for the house. It got a chuckle on the bus if nothing else.
So our trek around the property took 4 hours – and we arrived back at the house just in time for it to close. So we never even got in (it shuts at 5 even if the rest shuts at 6). I can see a common theme to our holiday here.
All in all, better sign posting would have really helped (and other’s were muttering the same thing). Ah well.