Hill Top, in the village of Far Sawrey, is the house she bought with the proceeds of her most famous book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. It is full of fascinating artifacts, a dolls house, clocks and furniture and you can almost imagine Beatrix sat in front of the fire writing, whilst Mr. MacGregor tends the lovely cottage garden. It is cared for by the National Trust and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world. The National Trust also care for the Beatrix Potter Gallery in the centre of Hawkshead, which was originally William Heelis’ solicitors office, who became her husband.
2020 sees 125 years of the National Trust, and Beatrix had a big part to play in its development. Her friend and lifelong mentor, Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, was one of the founding fathers of the Trust, and after a lifetime’s interest and activity in farming and conservation, she left 16 farms and acres of land to the Trust in her will, really kick-starting the land conservation movement here in the Lakes.
There are so many places to discover different sides to Beatrix: One of our favourites include Wray Castle, the dramatic, gothic turreted castle on the shores of Windermere; where Beatrix used to go for childhood holidays. Head here for lakeshore walks and cycle rides, with fabulous views over the Lake; informal grounds to run around in, and lots of indoor places to explore, along with a café and shop – a real family friendly place to spend an afternoon.
Hill Top & Beatrix Potter gallery in Far Sawrey & Hawkshead both immerse you in Beatrix, her life, her collections, her writing and her passions of the outdoors and Herdwick sheep farming.
You could spend the day wandering around these two places, enjoy a coffee in Hawkshead, and perhaps lunch or a pint by the fire at the Tower Bank Arms next door to Hill Top, where a certain Jemima Puddleduck used to frequent.
Whilst in the Windermere area, head to Bowness to discover the World of Beatrix Potter – a great place for children of all ages, with shop and café. This summer sees the third year of the ‘Where is Peter Rabbit?’ musical in the Old Laundry Theatre which is a great way of finding out about Beatrix’s story by song and dance.
If you’re a big fan of the Rabbit himself, the newest Peter Rabbit film: Peter Rabbit 2 the Runaway is out on 27 March, with James Corden starring again in the leading role as Peter.
The Lingholm Kitchen on the shores of Derwentwater is a beautiful spot, with great food, coffee and views. It’s another place where Beatrix used to stay as a child, and where she was inspired to write The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin and Benjamin Bunny. The countryside further afield around Catbells and the Newlands valley inspired her Tale of Mrs. Tiggywinkle.
So, go on, unleash the child in you, explore the Lakes in the footsteps of Beatrix Potter and see where you end up and what new things you can discover.