This palazzo-style Italianate house, much of it designed by Prince Albert in collaboration with Thomas Cubitt, was the royal family's private retreat and Queen Victoria's favorite residence. The house reveals Albert's interest in engineering through clever innovations like an early form of central heating, as well as Victoria's determination to give her children a normal but disciplined upbringing. After Albert's death in 1861, the queen retreated to Osborne to mourn her loss in relative seclusion, and the antiques-filled rooms have scarcely been altered since she died here in 1901. The house and extensive grounds (also designed by Albert)—which can be quite crowded during July and August—were used as a location for the 1998 movie Mrs. Brown.During the summer, a minibus takes you to what used to be Victoria's private beach, now open to the public, where you can see her personal bathing machine. Another minibus goes to the Swiss Cottage, a replica Alpine chalet built as a playhouse for Victoria and Albert's nine children. Book ahead for guided tours of the house and gardens. Buses 4 (from Ryde) and 5 (from Cowes and Newport) stop outside.
York Ave., Cowes, PO32 6JX, England