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Picture of Osborne

OSBORNE, East Cowes

"Visit Queen Victoria's summer retreat"

External picture of Osborne

Bring history to life and get a real insight into the private lives of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their children at Osborne. Their home can teach many aspects of the curriculum across numerous subjects in a fun and engaging way. Enjoy a free self-led visit or get hands-on with history as part of a Discovery Visit, led by the formidable (and wonderful) costumed interpreter Mrs Pilkington. During the session your pupils will step into the world of a servant and discover what life was like below stairs.

HINT: See more pictures in our Gallery!

More Details

As home to one of the most well-known Queens of England, Osborne house and estate has a lot to offer educationally. Albert was a great forward thinker and this is apparent across the estate.

This provides many possible curriculum links across numerous subjects including:

KS1: Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.
KS1: Changes beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally.
KS1: The lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements.
KS2 & 3: A local history study.
KS2 & 3: A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils' chronological knowledge beyond 1066.
KS3: Ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain, 1745-1901.

Use the gardens to find out more about living things and their habitats

Use the house and grounds as inspiration for the pupils to record their observations in sketchbooks, journals and other media as a basis for exploring their ideas.

Free self-led Visit

Enjoy a free education visit and design your own day to suit your curriculum needs. Explore the house and grounds, including the beach and the Swiss Cottage. The Swiss Cottage Museum collection forms the inspiration for an Enquiry Visit, during which pupils become story-tellers writing their own tales of Victorian explorers and collectors and the weird and wonderful treasures they found while travelling the world.

Or book our Story Mat session, during which volunteers use a beautiful textile map of the Isle of Wight to tell the story of the royal children and how they collected bits of geology for their museum at Swiss Cottage.

Hands-on Discovery Visits

Choose a hands-on workshop led by the formidable (and wonderful) costumed interpreter Mrs Pilkington. During the session your pupils will step into the world of a servant and discover what life was like below stairs. At just £100 per session (max 40 pupils) the workshop has been specially developed to meet the needs of the different key stages to really enhance your visit.

Don't miss:

Nearby are Carisbrooke Castle and Yarmouth Castle. Why not book a visit with your class and discover all that English Heritage has to offer on the Isle of Wight.


This venue provides its own educational materials
Education Destination can arrange FREE visits to Osborne, Carisbrooke and Yarmouth Castles on your behalf!

Get in touch to find out more! Justification required.

The following links to external website(s) may be of interest to visiting groups:

An overview document introducing Osborne to teachers

On-site and Classroom resources published by English Heritage


Based on feedback from experienced teachers who have visited Osborne, here are some suggestions for learning activities related to this venue:


KS 3: Note and develop initial ideas drawing on reading and research

Link what the pupils saw in pictures and read about the site before they went with what they see on the visit.

Identify the audience for and purpose of the writing. Consider how their writing reflects the audiences and purposes for which it was intended.

Use information gathered before and during the visit to produce a guidebook suitable for children. Crossover with History and IT.


KS1, 2 and 3 Geometry

Identify 2d and 3d geometrical shapes on the outside of the building

Identify horizontal, vertical and perpendicular lines on the outside of the building, as well as the properties of geometrical shapes.

Use the shapes on the outside of the building to estimate ratios and proportions


KS 1: Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality

Describe the life of Queen Victoria and identify how she changed the Isle of Wight

KS 2 & 3: A study over time, testing how far sites in their locality reflect aspects of national history

Link national changes in population and daily life with what happened on the Island

KS 3: Ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain 1745 - 1901

How did Queen Victoria change the Isle of Wight and how much of the technology of Osborne was used in the homes of the ordinary people?


KS 1, 2 &3 - Human and physical geography

Identify key features of human and physical geography on a map before you go and then when you are at the site

KS 1, 2 & 3: Geographical skills and fieldwork

Match what can be seen at the site with how it is represented on a map

KS 3: Human geography relating to economic activity in the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary sectors.

Describe and explain why the site is suitable as a tourist attraction

Information Technology

Produce a guide book suitable for children, collect guidebooks at the places you visit on the island, gather information about your site when there(split the group into teams and allocate them different aspects of the site to investigate), then produce it when you get back with a variety of prizes, good use of colour, written style, team work, pictures have been annotated.


The following information is not intended to form a comprehensive access statement; it is provided to highlight particular areas of concern for disabled visitors. We do not warrant that this information is fit for purpose or accurate. Education Destination will happily assist with gathering information in respect of particular concerns, or help you arrange an inspection visit.

To help you determine whether Osborne is suitable for your particular students, we've summarised any accessibility issues for you in the section below.

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Gardens (other than Walled Garden)

Assistance dogs allowedAssistance dogs allowed

The gardens are accessible using tarmac and impacted gravel paths.

Swiss Cottage

Assistance dogs allowedAssistance dogs allowed

The Swiss Cottage Museum and gardens are accessible to wheelchair users but the Swiss Cottage itself is NOT accessible.

An adapted minibus is available to shuttle disabled visitors to/from Swiss Cottage from the main house.

Video Clip Through a Teacher's Eyes

The Beach

Assistance dogs allowedAssistance dogs allowed

The beach promenade is accessible but the beach sands are not. The bathing machine may be observed closely but wheelchair users will be unable to enter.

Video Clip Through a Teacher's Eyes

The Main House

Assistance dogs allowedAssistance dogs allowed

The main house is generally accessible to wheelchair users. Queen Victoria's private apartments are accessible via a lift to the first floor, therefore they may be occasions when access is not possible. The Nursery is not accessible to wheelchairs.

The Walled Garden

Assistance dogs allowedAssistance dogs allowed

The Walled Garden is heavily gravelled and may be difficult for wheelchair users.

Video Clip Through a Teacher's Eyes


ED the squirrel is a little puzzled

Opening Dates, Times and Restrictions

Many Island venues and attractions, especially those outdoors, have limitations on opening times during the year. Additionally, some have limits on the number of group tours on any given date for safety and capacity reasons.

This section helps you identify whether Osborne has any such restrictions during your preferred visit dates.

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A visit to Osborne is a whole day trip if undertaking on-site learning activities.

Open fully April - October. Open on certain days through winter - contact us for details.

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Have a question about Osborne that's not answered here?

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Helping you come prepared!

In this section we've highlighted any special clothing or equipment you'll need to bring in order to get the most out of a visit to Osborne

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There are no special requirements for a visit to Osborne.


ED the Squirrel carrying all his relevant paperwork for his Isle of Wight school trip

All of the supporting documentation you'll need

One of the most common issues faced by teachers when planning trips is ensuring that all of the relevant paperwork is in place, and that the lead teacher and their assistants are fully briefed about each venue before they arrive.

Our experienced teachers have done most of this work for you. In this section you'll find a sample Risk Assessment covering all of the typical activities undertaken at Osborne by groups of students, along with a detailed "On The Day" Procedure which sets out everything you need to know about the site before you get there.

If there are any other mandatory considerations, such as HSE advice sheets for animal attractions or outdoor activity centres, you'll also find these below.

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Venue overview for Osborne

A brief overview of Osborne prepared especially for teachers.

Download (PDF) →

Generic risk assessment for Osborne

For your convenience this generic risk assessment has been prepared to cover all of the typical activities undertaken at Osborne. You may use it as the basis for your own documentation. We do not warrant that this is either complete or accurate, and would be happy to help arrange a site pre-visit if required.

Generic Risk Assessment (PDF) →


COMING SOON! - we're currently working on this document and it will be published in advance of any visits booked here.


Verified feedback from previous group visits...

Wendy Leeming, Head Teacher | 28/06/2017 | 30 x KS2U
Joanne Clark, KS2 Teacher | 05/04/2017 | 80 x Lower KS2
Roxanne Dee, Head of Travel & Tourism | 11/10/2016 | 17 x KS4
Maggie Howland, KS2 Teacher | 15/06/2016 | 34 x Upper KS2
Pauline Stirling, KS5 Head of PSHE & Citizenship | 06/03/2016 | 12 x KS5

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Site Plan

Clickable map with video tours & pictures

Save time visiting and assessing venues - our experienced teachers have done it for you!

Download risk assessments and all relevant documentation here.

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Osborne is located at:

York Avenue
East Cowes
PO32 6JX