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Playground of the Young Queen Victoria Becomes Grade I Listed Landscape

Historic England has upgraded the 143 acre landscape at Norris Castle from Grade II to Grade I in recognition of the exceptional nature of the park and garden after new research carried out in partnership with the new owners and the Isle of Wight Gardens Trust.

The landscape at Norris Castle is thought to have been designed in 1799 by Humphry Repton, one of England’s greatest landscape designers. It includes one of the grandest examples of a castellated walled garden anywhere in England and stunning views across the Solent. Within this largely unchanged landscape sits Norris Castle, designed in a striking Gothic Revival style and a model farm, which with its castellated walls looks more like a large fort.

Norris Castle photographed from the east against blue skies.
Norris Castle, designed in a striking Gothic Revival style, where Queen Victoria regularly stayed with her mother whilst a princess © Historic England

During its history the landscape of Norris Castle has seen many a royal visitor. George IV visited in 1819 while Queen Victoria regularly stayed with her mother whilst a princess, and continued to visit with the family later in life. Queen Victoria wrote about the site in her diaries, sketched the landscape and even considered buying Norris Castle but, finding it too expensive, bought neighbouring Osborne House instead. Later on Norris Castle frequently provided a residence for her grandson – Kaiser Wilhelm, and today there is still a canopy bath in the house called the ‘Kaiser’s Bath’.

The castle and landscape has also played a starring role in more modern times featuring as the setting for a Dr Who series The Sea Devils with Jon Pertwee in 1972.

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