In Search of Beatrix Potter - 7 places to visit

In Search of Beatrix Potter - 7 places to visit


In search of Beatrix Potter - our tips for 7 lovely places to find Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter is loved by children and grown-ups alike throughout the world. And here in Windermere we are in the heart of Peter Rabbit country, so here’s our choice of the best places to find the spirit of the wonderful writer, illustrator – and natural scientist.

The World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness is a charming visitor attraction filled with larger than life characters from Peter Rabbit and other stories. There’s a Peter Rabbit garden, a very tasteful gift and book shop, a café, and – in the same building – the Old Laundry Theatre which has staged a musical show, Where is Peter Rabbit, for the past few summers. Even the website address keeps the spirit of Beatrix alive:

Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey just across the lake from Bowness was Beatrix Potter’s home for many years. The house is full of fascinating objects that she collected, giving a glimpse into her magpie mind. Some are antiques, others items that she collected and brought to the Lakes. It’s a shrine for visitors from all over the world, and queues are long in summer. In the winter months, opening times are limited so do check the website. The gardens and shop are sometimes open even when the house is closed.

The Beatrix Potter Gallery is in Hawkshead village which inspired many of Beatrix Potter’s illustrations including Jonny Town-Mouse. The building used to be her husband’s solicitors practice. Now owned by the National Trust, the gallery is dedicated to presenting original book illustrations.

Brockhole, the Lake District national park’s visitor centre, was once the home of Beatrix's cousin Edith who married a merchant William Gaddum. A new restaurant on the site is named after him. There’s a Beatrix Potter trail around the beautiful lakeshore grounds which provide a home to many of the creatures who appear in Beatrix Potter's tales. And the centre even shares its name with Mr Brock the badger.


Lingholm is an estate on the western shore of Derwentwater where Beatrix Potter spent ten happy summers enjoying the English countryside while staying in the Victorian mansion. The grounds  inspired many of her 23 children’s classics, but especially Squirrel Nutkin. The walled garden, where there’s now a wonderful café, is thought to be the inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden in Peter Rabbit.

Littletown in the valley of Newlands, between Keswick and Buttermere, is named in the Beatrix Potter story about Mrs Tiggywinkle – which was the name of Beatrix’s own pet hedgehog. The distinctive outline of the popular mountain called Cat Bells can be seen in her illustrations. But though Cat Bells sounds like a Beatrix Potter creation, it’s actually a distortion of 'Cat Bields', meaning 'the home of the wild cat'. Stop off to see the lovely Newlands Church.

The Armitt Museum in Ambleside is one of the most unusual small museums in the country and is home to a wonderful collection of the work of Beatrix Potter as a mycologist and artist. Mycology is the study of mushrooms and fungi, and Beatrix intended originally to make a career as a natural scientist. Her scholarly paper, On the germination of the spores of agaricinae, was presented to the Linnean Society in London – by a man, as women were not allowed to do so. It was the basis for great advances in study subsequently, but – perhaps upset by the chances denied to women - Beatrix subsequently abandoned her scientific career to write children’s books. The Armitt offers a chance to see another side of this fascinating character. Closed Mondays.

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