4 of the Best Beatrix Potter Attractions in Cumbria
Beatrix Potter’s stories are familiar to kids and adults alike. Timeless characters such as Peter Rabbit, Flopsy, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and Jemima Puddleduck stir memories in adults and continue to entertain today’s generation of children. But did you know that Beatrix Potter gained her inspiration for these tales from the Lake District? She holidayed in the lakes for many years and used the income from her books to buy property in the area, which she bequeathed to the National Trust when she died. There are numerous places to visit in the region if you’re a fan of her work. Here are just four of them.
The World of Beatrix Potter
Located in Bowness-on-Windermere, The World of Beatrix Potter is an award-winning, interactive museum which brings the author’s world of characters to life. Children are sure to be enchanted by the experience, which begins with a short film introduction to Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit. The doors then open to reveal Jemima Puddleduck’s woodland glade, where a host of popular characters will be on display. Some of them are animatronic, so younger visitors will think they are the real characters! Keep an eye out for Mr McGregor in Peter Rabbit’s Garden and experience the real life smells of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle’s freshly cleaned laundry and Squirrel Nutkin’s woodland river raft. The experience ends in the museum’s fabulous gift shop, home to an array of exclusive Beatrix Potter souvenirs.
A family ticket for two adults and two children costs £20.15, whilst children under 3 go free. Fans of Beatrix Potter simply must visit this most incredible of attractions.
The Beatrix Potter Gallery
Housed in a Grade II listed building in Hawkshead, the Beatrix Potter Gallery is dedicated to showing original book illustrations by Beatrix Potter herself. The exhibits rotate so you can visit more than at once and still be discovering new works of art. As well as early sketches of her iconic characters, the gallery also displays diaries and letters written by Potter, as well as photographs that she used as inspiration for her stories. Managed by the National Trust, the gallery also houses a small but charming gift shop and the onsite team are experts in everything Beatrix Potter, always on hand to explain the exhibits to you.
If you are a member of the National Trust then entry to the gallery is free, if not then it costs £7.20 for adults and £3.60 for children.
Another Grade II listed house, but this time one which once belonged to Beatrix Potter herself. Hill Top in the village of Near Sawrey was the home of the author until she passed away and left it to the National Trust. The Trust has maintained the house to look as it did when it was home to the famous author, and visitors can explore the house to recognise inspiration from her books, as well as many of her personal items. For example, the carpets on the floor of her landing were woven specially to match those in The Tale of Samuel Whiskers. There’s also a 1902 coronation teapot from The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan and a dolls house containing the ham from The Tale of Two Bad Mice. Children who are fans of the books will love spotting these real life exhibits from their favourite stories. Mr McGregor’s garden is also open to the public.
Similarly to the Beatrix Potter Gallery, entry is free for National Trust members. Otherwise, entry costs £12.60 for adults and £6.30 for children.
Although Beatrix Potter never owned Wray Castle, her family used to stay in the surrounding area a lot when she was younger, and she bought property nearby with the revenues from her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The castle itself was built in the 1840s and is located on the shore of Lake Windermere, surrounded by lush vegetation. Once more managed by the National Trust, the castle has a themed room known as The Peter Rabbit Adventure. Children can help to prepare a meal in the kitchen and enjoy a tea party, before helping Mr McGregor to plant potatoes and carrots. Older children can enjoy dressing up and building their own castles in different parts of the attraction. And outside, there’s a woodland adventure playground to entertain visitors.
Non National Trust members will have to pay £10.40 to enter the castle, whilst children’s tickets are priced at £5.20.
Beatrix Potter was one of those rare authors whose work inspires generations long after her passing. Her characters remain as popular as ever, with a recent 2018 Peter Rabbit movie starring the actors James Corden and Margot Robbie. The books continue to sell and Potter’s legacy is protected thanks to the work of the National Trust and others who maintain many of the exhibits discussed in this article. For a day out, any of these attractions are suitable to a Beatrix Potter-mad family.