One of the most popular festive events on the Isle of Wight is the Victorian Christmas, staged by Osborne House. On Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th November the house will draw on all of its rich historical background of Christmas to produce a unique experience for families and guests of all ages to enjoy.
Throughout Queen Victoria’s life she loved celebrating Christmas and spending it with her nine children, describing it as a “most dear happy time”. Many of the Christmas traditions that we still preserve today, such as the decorating of trees, and the giving of presents and cards were made popular by the Queen and her family throughout her reign. After the death of her husband Prince Albert on 14th December 1861, the Queen decided to spend her first Christmas as a widow at Osborne House, and from then continued to spend the festive period on the Isle of Wight until the end of her reign.
(Above – Osborne Dining Room laid-out for Christmas in the time of Queen Victoria. Image kindly supplied by Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012.)
Visitors to this years Victorian Christmas at Osborne House will discover a wintry courtyard taking centre stage, with costumed characters as varied as Father Christmas, Jack Black the Rat Catcher and of course Queen Victoria herself on hand to entertain with Victorian Festivities. For families there will be a Christmas Carol Show, traditional Victorian fairground stall and even a 1903 steam powered carousel. There will be authentic entertainment from “What a Palaver”, with some daring feats including a fire show and Bed of Nails, and Aardvark Productions will also be on hand with a fast and interactive version of “A Christmas Carol”.
There will also be an opportunity to “Meet Victorian Toy Makers” with Thomas and Hester bringing traditional toys for you to play with, and even the chance to make your own balancing toy to take home with you. In the “Victorian Kitchen” there will be displays of forgotten kitchenalia with Mrs Posser and Mr Pourer, with displays of old fashioned chores like mixing up a traditional plum pudding.
Following on from the Victorian Christmas Osborne will be opening its doors for visitors to take part in their Festive Guided Tours, running Wednesday to Sunday from the 21st Novemberto the 6th January. This will give you a chance to experience the spectacular house in all of its decorated glory, with a detailed tour from one of Osborne’s expert guides. The decorations run throughout the principal royal ground floor rooms, just as they would have been in the days of Queen Victoria.
Tickets for these events can be booked in advance, and should be purchased early to avoid disappointment. They can be ordered via the Ticket Sales Team on 0870 333 1183 (Mon-Fri 8.30am – Sat 9am-5pm) or online at http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/events/a-victorian-christmas-oh-17-nov/. For all price information please view the website.