Families at Osborne

A place for families

Ever since Queen Victoria's own princes and princesses played here, Osborne has been a special place of fun and freedom for children and families.

Queen Victoria's beach and the Swiss Cottage and are firm favourites with younger visitors, and there are fantastic events to keep you entertained too. Punch & Judy shows on the beach will have you roaring with laughter during Easter and summer holidays, and there are larger annual family events to look forward to as well.

The Osborne estate is quite large but taking a young family around is easy with mini-buses to both the beach and Swiss Cottage.

Our free children's trail, a Noble Quest, is available in the house during the school holidays. Noble, one of Queen Victoria's favorite pets has lost the queen's gloves - can you find them using the clues around the house?

The Beach

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's children spent many hours at the beach playing and learning how to swim.

Today your family can enjoy the part shingle and part sand beach, with its gentle slope into the sea making it ideal for paddling and swimming. Relax and soak up the stunning views of the yachts and ships in the Solent across to the mainland.

From April to October (and occasional winter weekends and holidays) a shuttle mini bus from the front of the house will take you to the beach in seven minutes. It is accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Or you can take the scenic Valley Walk which takes around 20 minutes. It has lovely views down to the beach and back up to the house.

Fun and Wildlife on the Beach

Every day in August you can enjoy seaside fun from a bygone era, with 1850s Punch and Judy shows, and games of quoits, skittles and other traditional Victorian activities. You can go inside Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine and see the alcove where she liked to sit.

The beach is an important haven for wildlife and you can spot seabirds and herons feeding near the shore. Read more about the nature and ecology of the beach while you are there.

If you want to see more wildlife you can follow the nature trail through the woods up to Swiss Cottage and try to spot a red squirrel. Many of the trees along the path were planted by Prince Albert himself.

Swiss Cottage

Created especially for the royal children, the Swiss Cottage is still the perfect place for family fun today.

Hidden in the woods, you can see where the princes and princesses planted their gardens, explore the museum full of strange and fascinating objects, and jump around in the play area.

Find out more about the nine royal children in the interactive exhibition and follow the garden adventure trail. You can also enjoy snacks and cakes from the Gazelle House in the tea garden.

Eating and Drinking

You are welcome to picnic in any open area on the estate and beach. There are picnic benches near the Swiss Cottage entrance bus stop, at Swiss Cottage itself, and by the play area near the car park.

  • The Petty Officers' Quarters café serves soup, light lunches and snacks in the Petty Officers' Quarters entrance building. Highchairs and children's cutlery are provided and kids lunchboxes are available.
  • The Pavilion Café at the beach serves ice cream, sundaes, coffees, cold drinks, teas and cakes. Seating is limited inside and on the veranda, but there are tables and chairs outside.
  • The Gazelle House café is a take-away kiosk at the Swiss Cottage serving teas, coffees, cold drinks and cakes.
  • The elegant Terrace Restaurant serves light lunches and afternoon teas. Highchairs and child-sized portions are available.

Need to know

  • Toilets are available at the admissions centre, main house and at the Swiss Cottage.
  • Baby-changing facilities available at the house, beach and Swiss Cottage.
  • Changing rooms are available at the Pavilion café at the beach.
  • There are play areas at Swiss Cottage, and near the visitor car park. There is also plenty of room for children to run and play in the grounds.
  • Pushchairs are permitted everywhere except within the house, with the exception of disabled access buggies. Pushchairs can be stored at the entrance to the house, and baby carriers are available for visitor use.
  • Paths and ramps allow access to most of the grounds and the mini-buses are buggy friendly. Slings and baby carriers available.
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