A Visit to Lord Tennysons House, Isle of Wight, UK

Five years ago, I wrote a blog about stumbling upon Farringford, the home famous Victorian writer Lord Alfred Tennyson. Back then the house was a hotel with extra self-catering properties. Since then the house and grounds have been restored back to what it was when Tennyson and his family lived there.

Unfortunately due to Covid restrictions, the house won’t be re-opened for tours until next year. But the grounds and gorgeous gardens are and a hot summers day, it was the perfect time to re-visit.

Lord Tennyson was a prolific writer and Poet Laureate of Great Britain during most of Queen Victoria’s reign. His famous works include “The Charge of the Light Brigade” and “The Lady of Shallot”. He came to Farringford in 1853 to escape the noise of London. For him and his wife Emily it was the perfect place to raise their family. Tennyson remained at the house until his death in 1892.

The house itself is Georgian but has a rather Gothic feel with it’s arched windows and castle-like roof. The grounds lead to rolling views over to the cliffs. But it’s the gardens that are really stunning. When we visited they were full of colourful blooms and growing fruit and vegetables. The Tennyson’s were great fans of gardening themselves, often to be found digging and planting in the beds.

The couple also hosted many of the great and good of the Victorian era including Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Ellen Terry, Jenny Lind and even Prince Albert. In the garden is a sundial designed by Mary Seaton Watts, whose home and studio I also visited not long ago.

Not all visitors were welcome. Tennyson hated the tourists that would come nosing around. In fact he had a path that passed behind the house lowered so he could build a bridge across it to the downs beyond without bumping into them!

A short (and steep) upward walk behind the house takes you up to Tennyson Down. It was originally named High Down, but re-named after Tennyson who spent many hours walking up there. There’s even a monument to him pinned high above the sea, overlooking the stark cliffs and golden beaches below. I can imagine how inspiring it must have been. It’s an amazing place in the sunshine, but any time of year would produce spectacular scenes.

I’m not a big Tennyson fan, but I definitely enjoyed the day out and maybe next time I’ll get to visit the inside.

What do you think? Have you ever visited before? Please share in the comments.

Related reads

Visiting Batemans, the Home of Rudyard Kipling

A Visit to The Charles Dickens Museum, London

Uppark – Where HG Wells Discovered Morlocks and Mars

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4 thoughts on “A Visit to Lord Tennysons House, Isle of Wight, UK

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  1. Beautiful photos and I love Tennyson. One of my favorite and new found musical artists Laura Wright sings several of his poems put to music. One being “Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal,” which is absolutely exquisite. I’ve been recording myself reading poetry and the fore mentioned verse by him has been one of them.


  2. Years ago we used to book the study where the Poems were written and I used to sit at the very same desk in that room, where my Father had booked Tea so that we could watch the Boat Race on Television. This was before Fred Pontin bought the Hotel but while it remained a Private House. You do not mention his Famous Poem ‘Sunset and Evening Star and one clear call for me……’ which was almost certainly composed ‘CROSSING THE BAR’ from Yarmouth to Lymington – When you can, have a look at the sunset from Yarmouth Pier!
    A Gardner and his wife who had been a maid at the House were able to buy Tollgate Cottage on the Afton Road for the princely sum of 250 Pounds – Then Bert Taylor looked after the gardens at Tapnell Farmhouse.
    If you want a bit more just email! I am in Sri Lanka at the moment (actually not far from where Julia Margaret Cameron eventually went to live)

    Liked by 1 person

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