Things to See and Do

State Rooms at Osborne House

Wander the opulently decorated State Apartments at Osborne House, where Queen Victoria took dinner, played billiards and received numerous dignitaries during the time that she lived at Osborne.

The Council Room

In the Council Room, marvel at the magnificent interiors and imagine what life was like for the royal couple over 100 years ago. The room was used most frequently for entertaining, including dancing, games of charades and drama. It was here that Queen Victoria gave Prince Albert the title 'Prince Consort', and, in 1878, where Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated his new invention - the telephone - to the queen.

The Audience Room, with its array of sumptuous original furnishings, was where the ministers of the Privy Council gathered before their meetings with the queen in the Council Room.

Dining Room and Drawing Room

Visit the Dining Room to see the table laid for the queen's dinner, which during the 1850s she always had served promptly. By the end of the century, however, this had shifted towards 8.45pm, but it was frequently 9.15pm before the queen arrived.

The Drawing Room is decorated and furnished as far as possible as it would have been in the 1890s, with yellow satin curtains, full length mirrors and cut-glass chandeliers. Visiting foreign royalty were often received in this room, and the queen generally retired here after dinner to play cards or to sing and play the piano with members of the royal household.

Billiard Room

Separated from the Drawing Room by a columned screen and drawn curtains, the Billiard Room was where the men retired after dinner and could sit on a raised bench while the queen remained in the next room. Technically, the men were required to stand unless given permission to sit in the queen's presence.

The queen also played billiards, and her journal records games with the women of the household after lunch.

Durbar Room

Designed by Rudyard Kipling’s father, Lockwood, and master carver Bhai Ram Singh, this unique room is detailed with intricate Indian-style plaster work to reflect Queen Victoria’s then status as Empress of India.

The room was the venue for ceremonial dinners for European royalty and the backdrop to Queen Victoria’s favourite theatrical entertainments. A new banqueting table re-creates the scene of a dinner held in the Durbar Room in the laste 19th century, and Indian gifts are displayed in new cabinets.

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