Tag Archives: English Heritage

Queen Victoria’s Private Garden Terrace Revealed

A garden terrace where Queen Victoria sat and painted watercolours at Osborne, her Isle of Wight home, will open to the public for the very first time after a major conservation project, English Heritage announced today (Tuesday 27 June).

The terrace’s panoramic views across the Solent – compared by Prince Albert to the Bay of Naples – can now be enjoyed by the public for the first time as they would have been by the royal couple over 150 years ago. In a project worth over £600,000, the terrace’s centrepiece Andromeda fountain, bought by Queen Victoria during the Great Exhibition in 1851, has been returned to working order and the elaborate Shell Alcove, decorated with thousands of seashells from the beach below, has been painstakingly restored to its former aqua blue and vivid red glory. The public will also be able to experience the terrace’s Victorian planting scheme and the famous royal myrtle plant, given to Victoria by Prince Albert’s grandmother, up-close. The myrtle, traditionally included in royal wedding bouquets since the marriage of Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, has been used by HRH Queen Elizabeth II and more recently by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

English Heritage has also reinstated the classic ‘Osborne yellow’, inspired by the warm Italian sun, to the terrace walls which once again match the golden hue of the rest of the house and restore Victoria and Albert’s original vision.

Samantha Stones, English Heritage’s Properties Curator at Osborne, said: “Queen Victoria loved to be outside in the fresh sea air and the terrace was a place of peace. Opening up this previously closed space to visitors gives them another glimpse into the private lives of the royal couple. Our conservation project now reinstates Albert’s original vision of Osborne.

“Matching the yellow of the walls, restoring the beautifully decorated shell alcove with its aqua blue canopy, and seeing the Andromeda fountain with her surrounding sea monsters in working order has truly brought the terrace back to life.”

The Lower Terrace was designed by Prince Albert as a key part of his overall vision for the royal couple’s family home away from the hustle and bustle of court life. Dubbed ‘Albert the Creator’ by Victoria, her husband was very much at the forefront of creating their new residence, enlisting the help of his ‘Adviser in Art’ Ludwig Gruner to create the magnificent Italianate terracing as the crowning glory of their new house.

The Garden Terrace at Osborne will open to the public on Wednesday 28 Jun 

With thanks to the Friends of Osborne and an individual donor for their most generous support of this conservation project.


For further information or images please contact:

Emma Gough, National PR Assistant at emma.gough@english-heritage.org.uk or call 020 7973 3390

Notes to editors:

Queen Victoria’s Journals

Queen Victoria often wrote about the terrace in her journals:

  • (Of the Shell Alcove) – Tuesday 3rd August 1852: There is a most charming tame magpie at Barton, which is most amusing, & has been here the last few mornings, pecking at our shoes & boots, running after us, & taking away all the shells from the workmen, who are ornamenting the Alcove below. It is most mischievous having gone into several people’s rooms & carried things away, proving itself quite a “Gazza Ladra”.

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 3 August 1852 (Princess Beatrice’s copies)

  • Wednesday 5th December 1849: It cleared sufficiently in the afternoon, for us to take a walk, & watch the proceedings on the lower terrace, which is what is truly called “a great job”

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 5 December 1849 (Princess Beatrice’s copies)

  • Sunday 2nd June 1850: We walked about on our 2 Terraces, & sat in the alcove, beyond the clock tower. We both said how we daily rejoiced in the purchase of this dear place, & what we had laid out upon it, for it certainly is quite perfection for us & our Children & we enjoy it more & more. This evening, after our little “tête à tête” dinner, we went out for a little on the Terrace, & nothing could have been more enchanting. — the calm sea stretched out before us, & innumerable birds singing, the only sounds to interrupt the quiet of the place.

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 2 June 1850 (Princess Beatrice’s copies)

 Wednesday 30th July 1851: The outer wall of the terrace round the foundations of which ruins a walk, is surrounded by a bed of flowers, the greater part of which are trained up the wall & I cannot describe the brilliancy of the effect.

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 30 July 1851 (Princess Beatrice’s copies) 

  • Sunday 17th July 1853: Everything in great beauty. The roses out in profusion on the lower Terraces. The new fountain there is beautiful. —

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 17 July 1853 (Princess Beatrice’s copies)

  • Sunday 23rd July 1854: We afterwards spent the evening on the Lower Terrace, walking & sitting in the Alcove, the air perfumed with the smell of honey suckle, jasmin, roses, magnolias, &c. —

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 23 July 1854 (Princess Beatrice’s copies)

  • Sunday 2nd August 1857: Sitting in the lower Alcove from 5 to 7, reading & writing. Such a glorious day & evening; the deepest blue sky & sea, the Terrace brilliant with every colour of flower, the air quite perfumed, — so enjoyable.

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 2 August 1857 (Princess Beatrice’s copies)

Osborne is the royal family home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on the Isle of Wight. Designed by Prince Albert, it reflects the couple’s passions, tastes and style. Ornate furnishings and artefacts from The Royal Collection fill rooms and corridors where Victoria entertained heads of state, inventors, princess and princesses and ruled the vast British Empire.  “It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot” said Queen Victoria of Osborne and the stunning views across the Solent reminded Prince Albert of the Bay of Naples. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/osborne/

English Heritage cares for over 400 historic monuments, buildings and sites – from world famous prehistoric sites to grand medieval castles, from Roman forts on the edges of empire to Cold War bunkers. Through these, we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million visitors each year.


Registered charity no. 1140351


New Web content to boost Cowes tourism

Visit Isle of Wight and Destination Cowes have collaborated to replace the single “Cowes” page on the official tourist boards top ranking site (www.visitisleofwight.co.uk) with a whole new collection of detailed pages designed to showcase Cowes and East Cowes and everything it has to offer.

At the same time, the old Cowes.co.uk site, which was quite out of date, has been removed, and the domain now points to the new pages on the Island’s tourist board site.

David Thornton explains: We wanted to have the best of both worlds: to use the popularity of Visit Isle of Wight’s website, which now attracts over 2.4million visitors a year, but retain the link “Cowes.co.uk” as a trusted source of local information about Cowes, East Cowes and the surrounding area. By combining our resources and content like this, we’ve created a whole new platform for Cowes, with new social media plug ins to complement activities.

The creation of the official tourism site builds on the development of the Destination Cowes brand – a partnership formed by Red Funnel, English Heritage, Cowes Town Council, Visit Isle of Wight, Cowes Harbour Commission, Cowes Yacht Haven and both the Cowes and East Cowes business associations to help market the area.

Cowes.co.uk provides a wide-ranging guide to the town. Visitors will be able to find advice about cultural sites, activities and attractions, what’s on, as well as information about where to stay, eat, drink and shop.

Destination Cowes believes the new website will play a significant role in increasing the appeal of the Cowes and East Cowes to visitors and ultimately lead to more people visiting the towns and the wider Island. The new site includes a range of features including increased social media integration and blog and video content.

Stephen Brooks, the Chairman of Destination Cowes, said: “Our target is to reach 1 million people through the site. This, plus our social media, will show potential visitors what Cowes and East Cowes have to offer. Attracting more visitors will help our local businesses grow, creating jobs, facilities and prosperity for local people.”

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said: “As the maritime gateway to the Island with a wealth of places to visit and explore, Cowes offers an exceptional visitor experience.

“The Cowes.co.uk address signifies a new energy and collaboration to really get Cowes on the map and we hope that local businesses will get behind it by supplying great, relevant content from interesting blogs and special offers to fantastic images and video content.”

Visit Isle of Wight confirmed that this pilot project to upgrade individual town and area content online through closer partnership with resorts across the Island is something they would like to do more of in the future.


 For further information about The Isle of Wight, please contact:

Sue Emmerson, Tel: 07766 705672, Email: sue@visitwight.org

Notes to Editors

Attached image taken in Cowes High Street LtoR:  Mark McNeill, Cowes Town Council, Stephen Brooks, Chairman, Destination Cowes, Simon Dabell, Chairman, Visit Isle of Wight, Ryan Stoffell, Red Funnel, Gina Baldwin, Red Funnel and Karl Love, Councillor for East Cowes.

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight.   As well as the consumer website www.visitisleofwight.co.uk the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities www.visitwight.org

Get social media updates from Visit Isle of Wight.   Go to https://www.facebook.com/VisitIOW, https://twitter.com/VisitIOW, https://instagram.com/visitisleofwight/, https://www.youtube.com/user/VisitIsleofWight, https://plus.google.com/114584030216192729120/posts



Earlier this month, Visit Isle of Wight took soundings from one of the South’s premier film-making events to get a better understanding of what production companies are looking for in a location, in a bid to attracting new filmmakers to the Island.

Film Expo brings together a range of key decision makers and great contacts including directors, producers, future filmmakers, writers, make-up artists, production companies and more.  It also allows exhibitors to forge valuable new relationships, identify potential collaborators and to hear about new sector opportunities

A one-stop shop for all things to do with movies, the event was held at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on February 4th.   More than 40 Hollywood speakers were booked to appear, including John Glen, who has directed five James Bond movies and editor on three others in the hit franchise.

Screen tourism is seen as a growing phenomenon with more and more locations across the UK benefitting from a booming screen industry. From period drama to dark, contemporary stories, family fare to fantasy and sci-fi, screen exposure can help drive tourists to UK regions.

Visit Isle of Wight believes that the Island is well placed to encourage all kinds of film production and has partnered with English Heritage and Wight Media Services to set up a new venture – the Visit Isle of Wight Film TV Services Network – to smooth the way for film and television companies by offering a pool of expertise and resources – from locations advice and facilities hire to sourcing accommodation and theatrical services.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said: “From themed visitor experiences and activities to accommodation both for visitors attracted through screen tourism and for crews filming on location, there a number of ways that tourism businesses can capitalise on television and film production.

“Whether it be a fashion ad looking for a retro-style backdrop, a TV drama searching for country house interiors or even a Hollywood blockbuster looking for the drama of a ‘Jurassic’ forest, the new Visit Isle of Wight Film TV Services Network is keen to see the Island’s scene-stealing scenery cast in a leading role – and in doing so, generate a broad range of economic benefits for the local Island economy”.

The Visit Isle of Wight Film TV Services Network is now looking for expressions of interest from Island businesses.   Those wishing to get involved in any upcoming projects should e-mail (one) high-res image and a description of the property to sue@visitwight.org

A new Isle of Wight guide, which includes a movie map of the Island will be produced to lure more movie-makers, TV and commercial production teams to the Island.  A dedicated webpage “Filming on the Isle of Wight” is also available on the VIOW website: www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/filming

For further information about The Isle of Wight, please contact:

Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight, tel. 01983 521555, ext 29/07766 705672



Notes to Editors

Image attached:

Katie Jones, Events Manager, Visit Isle of Wight, and Dave Russell, Wight Media Services, attending Film Expo South at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on February 4th.

About Visit Isle of Wight

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight.   As well as the consumer website www.visitisleofwight.co.uk the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities www.visitwight.org

In 2013, Visit Isle of Wight worked with Twentieth Century Fox (Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie), in 2014 with Paramount Studios (Transformers: Age of Extinction) and again with Paramount (Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension) in 2015.

Get social media updates from Visit Isle of Wight.   Go to https://www.facebook.com/VisitIOW, https://twitter.com/VisitIOW, https://instagram.com/visitisleofwight/, https://www.youtube.com/user/VisitIsleofWight, https://plus.google.com/114584030216192729120/posts

For more info about FilmExpoSouth, please visit www.filmexposouth.co.uk


Natalie Dormer to star in BBC’s factual drama telling the story of the Isle of Wight’s “Scandalous Lady W”

Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer is to star in a BBC2 factual drama on August 20th, re-telling the tale of the Isle of Wight’s “scandalous” Lady in Red.

Natalie Dormer will star as Lady Seymour Worsley who, aged 17, married Sir Richard Worsley the 7th Baronet of Appuldurcombe House on the Isle of Wight, on September 20th 1775.

Badly suited to one another, the couple’s marriage began to fall apart shortly after it began.  Lady Worsley was rumoured to have had 27 lovers, one of whom was Captain George Bissett – Sir Richard’s best friend.

The BBC TV drama – titled The Scandalous Lady W – will recount the 18th century scandal on the Isle of Wight, which shocked the British upper classes.  Natalie Dormer (Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, The Tudors) leads a cast of British actors in the gripping 18th century factual drama produced by Wall to Wall Media and directed by Sheree Folkson for BBC Two.  The untold true story of Lady Worsley is brought to life by award-winning writer David Eldridge.

Eldridge based his screenplay on author Hallie Rubenhold’s book Lady Worsley’s Whim.  The book is inspired by the full length oil painting of Lady Worsley that hangs in Harewood House in Yorkshire.  She is depicted wearing a bright red riding habit.

Dormer plays Seymour Worsley, a passionate, courageous woman at the centre of a very public trial brought by her powerful husband Sir Richard Worsley, played by Shaun Evans (Endeavour, The Lost Weekend).  The one-off ninety-minute factual drama is currently scheduled to appear on BBC2 on August 20th.

Located near to Wroxall on the Isle of Wight, Appuldurcombe House today is the shell of a large 18th-century baroque house, cared for by English Heritage.It stands in Capability Brown designed grounds where there is also an Owl & Falconry Centre.

Sir Richard Worsley became the seventh baronet in 1768 and took up residence at Appuldurcombe in 1772.  He represented the peak of the Worsleys wealth and influence, becoming a privy councillor and “comptroller of George III’s household”.  By 1782, he had completed the rebuilding of Appuldurcombe in the Palladian style. Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, meanwhile, was hired to redesign a huge ornamental park around the house.

The ‘new’ Appuldurcombe was a wonder to behold: a gem of Georgian architecture situated in landscaped grounds set in beautiful countryside.  However, Richard was disastrously unsuccessful in his marriage to the heiress Seymour Dorothy Fleming, which lasted from 1775 to1782.  The proceedings of their scandalous divorce case ruined his public reputation and the failure of the marriage doomed the Worsley dynasty.

For further details of Appuldurcombe House, visit http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/appuldurcombe-house/.

All other tourist information about the Isle of Wight can be found at http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk.


For further information, please contact:
Sue Emmerson, Visit Isle of Wight Press Officer
Tel: 07766 705672
E-mail: sue@visitwight.co.uk


The Education market is the target of a new campaign to be rolled out by Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) in a bid to attract new visitors and raise the profile of the Island.

The campaign activity spanning print and online media, aims to promote the Island as a study destination worldwide, inspiring schools and those involved in all aspects of education to book a visit to the Island for day trips or longer stays.

The campaign will be supported by a new 40-page printed guide, packed with ideas and tour options for schools.    Entitled “We know Education”, the brochure capitalises on the Island’s strengths across all curriculum areas, including the themes for History, Geography, Art and design and Physical Education.  A downloadable app version of the brochure will also be available.

Working with a range of specialist operators, including the UKSA, English Heritage and Education Destination, VIOW will host familiarisation trips for teachers who will be invited to explore the UK’s ‘biggest classroom’ and find out what makes the Island such an outstanding place for their subject and their students.

“This is the first time we have specifically gone out to target the education market,” said David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight.  “We are extremely fortunate to have such a rich variety of exciting learning experiences and we believe this campaign is a great opportunity for the Island to increase its share of this market.”

Jonathan Green, marketing director for Red Funnel Ferries commented “With journey times of just 2½ hours from London and ferry-inclusive, curriculum based itineraries available from just £11pp, the Isle of Wight represents great value for money for school trips.

Jon Carter, Group General Manager, Education Destination, added “Having done extensive research with teachers, we know the key to this market is offering curriculum focussed teaching resources. Education Destination is working with all the leading venues and transport providers to ensure the Isle of Wight offers the best teaching materials of any destination in the world.”

Mark Persad, Head of Marketing for Wightlink Ferries said “With up to 150 sailings per day, a choice of three routes, crossings to the Island in just over 20 minutes and a choice of world class attractions nearby, school trips to the Isle of Wight have never been easier and are available from just £6.40 per child.”

Part of the new marketing campaign will involve creating an education section on the visitisleofwight website with up-to-date information on businesses that provide educational things to do and accommodation for educational parties. By showcasing the many businesses providing learning experiences it will help organisers to plan their trips effectively and efficiently.

Island businesses that provide learning experiences and would like to be included in the campaign should e-mail their details to jill@visitwight.org


For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Tel: 01983 201048, 07766 705672, E-mail: sue@visitwight.org

Attached image shows (LtoR): Sarah Dawson, Sales Development Manager, Red Funnel, Jon Carter, Group General Manager, Education Destination and David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight at the launch of VIOW’s new “We know Education” brochure.   The launch took place at the Education Show held on 19/20 March at the NEC Birmingham. http://www.education-show.com/