Nicola here. A couple of weeks ago I spent a few days on the Isle of Wight in a cottage that is situated on the Osborne House estate. Although I knew that Queen Victoria had built Osborne as a summer holiday home (more on that later!) I knew very little about it or its history so it was a fascinating trip. When I say that we stayed in a cottage, it was actually the gatehouse to the estate, known as Sovereign’s Gate, which was the entrance through which Queen Victoria and her family would have approached the house back in the day. Now transformed into a holiday home over three levels, it’s a fabulous place to stay. These days the Sovereign’s Gate is locked but Angus was happy to pose for a photo to show it off! Inside the gatehouse has many of its original 19th century features, including these fabulous windows with movable sashes on a pulley system.
As the house and grounds were closed, we had the place largely to ourselves. This was an enormous privilege enabling us to explore
the acres of gardens, park and beach (as long as we told the security detail that we were going out – it was rather like having bodyguards!). It also meant that I got a personalised tour of Osborne House itself, which was brilliant. I was allowed to use the “ministers’ door”; there were five different entrances at Osborne, one reserved for the monarch only, the second for the royal family, the third for ministers, the fourth for titled visitors and members of the court and the one round the back for the servants and tradesmen!