The best Beatrix Potter attractions in the Lake District
Beatrix Potter attractions in the Lake District are high on the wish-list of many visitors to the area. Fans of Peter Rabbit, Tom Kitten and Jemima Puddle Duck will be spoilt for choice with places to visit in this beautiful area of the UK. The Lake District was extremely important to Beatrix Potter and is where she found inspiration for many of her books. As well as making her home at Hill Top, she also took holidays in the Lake District from a young age. During her lifetime she bought 15 farms and over 4,000 acres of land, which she left to the National Trust after her death in 1943, to ensure that it would be preserved for future generations.
Beatrix Potter attractions in the Lake District
During our recent holiday we visited a number of Beatrix Potter attractions in the Lake District. It was really interesting to learn more about who the author was as a person and to see some of the specific settings for her books which still remain today.
If you’re visiting the Lake District with kids, then make sure you read some of her books with them ahead of your visit. This will help to bring the places you visit to life. They’ll love spotting sites like Owl Island on a boat trip or seeing where Tom Kitten climbed up the chimney in Hill Top.
Can you visit Beatrix Potter’s house?
You can indeed visit Beatrix Potter’s house which is called Hill Top. The 17th century stone farmhouse is located in Sawrey, about 20 minutes outside of Ambleside. The best thing about Hill Top is that of all of the Beatrix Potter attractions in the Lake District it is the one which most closely shows how she lived her life. Many of the rooms have been kept in the same way as she had them and many of the items actually belonged to her.
Beatrix Potter bought Hill Top in 1905 with proceeds from her first book, the Tale of Peter Rabbit. She went on to write 13 of her books here and my little adventurers were thrilled to see so many of the actual places which appear in their favourite books such as Tom Kitten and Samuel Whiskers.
Visitors to Hill Top first walk up a path past a white gate, which they will recognise from The Tale of Tom Kitten.
Inside the house you can see specific rooms and items which appear in the illustrations of The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or The Roly-Poly Pudding. These include the fire-place he climbed into, the hallway Samuel Whiskers ran across with the rolling pin and even the damaged floorboard which John Joiner had to saw up in order to free Tom Kitten.
The house itself is quite small, with six rooms open to the public. There is a small amount of information in each room about what Beatrix Potter used it for and special points of interest. The guides are also very knowledgeable and great with children.
If you’re visiting the Lake District with kids, encouraging them to look for scenes from the book will make the house more interesting for them. My little adventurer loved seeing the doll’s house which contained the furniture Beatrix Potters publisher sent her to inspire the story of Two Bad Mice.
Outside there is a cottage garden which is laid out to grow vegetables and flowers.
An important thing to note about Beatrix Potter’s house is that it gets very busy. Pre-booking tickets is essential, even if you are a National Trust member, as the carpark and the house itself are both quite small. There is no cafe at the site, only a coffee cabin in the orchard, which I imagine is lovely on a sunny day when you can sit on the lawn and enjoy the scenes of the surrounding countryside. Sadly on the day we visited it was pouring with rain and the nearby pub was full, which meant a 20 minute trip back into town for a warm up.
Hill Top is free to National Trust members, £15 for adults and £7 for children. Find out more from the National Trust.
The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction
If you’re visiting the Lake District with kids then this is one attraction you can’t miss. It’s a really sweet little museum, with scenes from the books, which makes it the perfect place to take photos with your little ones favourite characters. Most of Beatrix Potter’s books are represented from the most well known like Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle to Johnny Town-Mouse and The Tale of the Pie and the Patty Pan.
Your visit begins with a five minute video about Beatrix Potter and her work. You can then move through the rest of the attraction at your own pace. The attention to detail throughout is great. The characters all look exactly like they do in the books, so it feels like stepping into their pages. There’s also a little outside area, which houses Mr McGregor’s garden. As well as the lifesize characters, there are also lots of little areas to peek into to see the smaller creatures, like a family of mice living underneath some tree roots.
Our little adventurers spent ages peering into the display cases and retelling the stories as we went round.
There’s also a room which contains information about Beatrix Potter and her life. There’s a couple of interactive activities here, which my little adventurers loved. However, I did feel like they could have done with a couple more, as the attraction does get quite busy, so there’s the inevitable queuing from children waiting to have a turn.
The website suggests that you only need to spend 45 minutes at The World of Beatrix Potter. But I think it depends how quickly you move through things. We were there for two hours and could probably have spent longer.
If you’re planning on visiting the Lake District with kids during the school holidays, check out the website to see if there are any special shows or activities on at The Laundrama which is opposite the attraction. We went during the Easter holidays and paid a little extra to ice some Easter biscuits, which my 5-year-old loved.
Tickets cost £9 for adults and £5 for children aged 3+. You can’t book tickets in advance to The World of Beatrix Potter. So at busy times be prepared for queues or aim to arrive as soon as it opens at 10am. There is a pay and display car park opposite. More information here.
Lingholm: Beatrix Potter’s holiday home
One of my favourite Beatrix Potter attractions in the Lake District was The Lingholm Estate. For me Lingholm combined all of the things which make the Lake District so lovely: a boat ride across Derwentwater, a walk through a woodland area, a delicious lunch and a touch of Beatrix Potter magic.
The Lingholm Estate is where Beatrix Potter spent 10 summer holidays between 1885 and 1907. Although Hill Top is well known as a place where she wrote many of her books, it was actually The Lingholm Estate which inspired a lot of her early work. The red squirrels in the woods were the basis of The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin and the Lingholm Kitchen Garden inspired Mr McGregor’s garden in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
It is possible to stay on the estate. But if you are just planning a visit you can catch a boat from Keswick and jump off at the jetty opposite. It’s then a short walk to the The Lingholm Kitchen, which serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. We popped in for lunch and it was delicious. Unfortunately you can’t book in advance and it does get very busy, but the staff are extremely organised and we were served quickly.
The glass-fronted building looks down onto the restored walled garden, which really does feel like stepping into Mr McGregor’s garden. It is laid out in vegetable beds and at certain times of year it’s possible to purchase the produce. My little adventuerers had a great time running around, pretending to be bunnies and avoiding the grumpy gardener who it felt certain would appear at any minute.
Make sure you check the boat timings for your return journey, as the clockwise and anticlockwise routes around the lake only stop once an hour. Then you can sit back and enjoy the views or choose to hop off at another stop around the lake. My little adventurers loved trying to spot the grumpy Old Brown owl who lives on an island.
If you have enough time you can also climb Cat Bells from this stop, which takes between 2 to 4 hours and is 3.5 miles.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this round up of Beatrix Potter attractions in the Lake District. If you are visiting the area and don’t have much time to spare, or your own transport, it might be worth booking a tour to ensure that you get to see all of the best bits:
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