A Victorian extravaganza is planned for Osborne House’s Victorian Christmas Weekend over the weekend of Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th of November when this lovely old palatial home makes its annual time travelling trip back to the days when Queen Victoria was in residence with her family.
Part of the gardens will be illuminated to create a mini-winter wonderland and two Christmas trees will be twinkling with festive lights – it’s likely that the first ever Christmas trees in Britain began at Osborne as it was Prince Albert who imported the tradition from his native Germany.
The Royal children and their parents might have been entertained by a very fashionable travelling camera obscura and visitors will have the chance to step into a darkened room in which they will see the world outside world appear in full colour and upside down, just as they might have done 150 years ago. For those that have never seen one this is a live projection of the view outside using mirrors and light and is still quite an amazing sight to our modern eyes.
You can meet Queen Victoria, who will be gracing Osborne to recall festive times she spent with her family at Osborne over 100 years ago. Rooms inside the house will be decked with festive decorations in the fashion that they would have been when Queen Victoria celebrated Christmas here at her favourite residence. Trees will be decorated in the style favoured by Prince Albert, garlands of dried herbs, ferns and floral arrangements will adorn the rooms. Sweet treats from the royal table and real gifts given to Queen Victoria by her family will add to the intimate festive atmosphere.
Charles Dickens‘ classic tales will be read to the assembled throng, a brass band will bring a festive air to the proceedings and there will be horse and carriage rides around the grounds, just as the Royals would have taken. The nineteenth century holiday season will be further brought to life by old favourites such as Father Christmas, Punch and Judy, a coconut shy and traditional Christmas carols. To add to the atmosphere on both days a cast of costumed characters from Singing Chimney Sweeps to Jack Black the Rat Catcher will entertain visitors with Victorian festivities played out around the grounds and lower floor of the house.
In the Victorian kitchen visitors can join Mrs Posser and Mr Pourer to enjoy nostalgic displays of forgotten kitchenalia and roll up their sleeves to try out old fashioned household chores like doing the laundry and mixing up a traditional plum pudding. ‘Mrs Beeton’ will be demonstrating and giving hints and tips for producing Victorian Christmas Fayre and a chocolatier will be offering up Victorian confectionary art.
This superb nostalgic event runs from 10am until 4pm (grounds open until 5pm) on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th November with prices as follows: Adults £13.60, Concessions £12.39, Children £8.20, Family Ticket £35.40. There is a reduced entry price for English Heritage Members. Tickets can be pre-booked by calling 0870 333 1181.
Victorian Christmas Tours
On Wednesdays-Sundays from November 23rd until January 8th 2012 Osborne House offers pre-booked guided tours which take in the five festively dressed ground floor rooms. Knowledgeable guides retrace royal footsteps relating factual snippets and fascinating anecdotes as they take visitors back in time to bring the festive season at Osborne to life. Normal admission prices apply for guided tours: Adult: £11.50; Concession: £10.40; Child: £6.90: Family ticket £29.90 – group discounts available). To book call: 01983 200022. *(house closed 24-26 Dec and 1 Jan).