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“Once upon a time there were four little rabbits, and their names were – Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter.” – The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.
Beatrix Potter is best known for her beautifully illustrated children’s books which are still loved by children around the world almost 80 years after the author's death. Hawkshead and the surrounding Lake District countryside is where she wrote many of her books and it is the perfect place to find out more about her life and the wildlife and landscape that inspired her.
The World of Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter was also a prominent member of the farming community and won prizes for breeding Herdwick sheep which you still see pottering around the region’s fields today. The Lake District is home to lots of wildlife that inspired characters like Mrs Tiggywinkle, Jemima Puddle Duck and Jeremy Fisher. Take a nature trail along the edge of Esthwaite Water near Hill Top and you’ll see some of the creatures first-hand which she immortalised in her books and illustrations.
For even more information about Beatrix Potter and the places in the Lake District that inspired her, check out our Beatrix Potter biography.
Here are 5 of the best Beatrix Potter attractions to visit when on a holiday in the Lake District…
See a different exhibition every year in the delightful 17th-century building, formerly the law offices of Beatrix Potter’s husband. Be inspired by Beatrix Potter’s exquisite original artwork; there are children’s activities and spaces to create a masterpiece of your own too, as well as interactive exhibits. The village of Hawkshead is an excellent base for exploring the countryside that inspired Beatrix and many other artists, authors and poets.
Fun fact: This unique space occupies a 17th-century building which served as the office of Beatrix's solicitor husband.
Prices: Adult £8, child £4 and family £19.50.
A must see for any fan of the Little Tales, walk in the footsteps of Jemima Puddle-Duck and Tom Kitten and explore the charming cottage in Near Sawrey Beatrix Potter once lived in. Packed full of her own treasures, follow the clues on the children’s trail and spot the scenes Beatrix painted for her Little Tales.
Hill Top and its surroundings acted as the inspiration for many of her books, and each room of the house contains not only her most treasured possessions but also a reference to one of her best-loved Tales.
Fun fact: Bought in 1905 with proceeds from her first book, the Tale of Peter Rabbit, she used Hill Top itself and the surrounding countryside as inspiration for many of her subsequent books.
Prices: Adult £14, child £7 and family £35.
Beatrix Potter was sixteen when she holidayed at this dramatic Victorian Gothic castle near Ambleside - the beginning of her love affair with the Lake District. The original contents have gone but you can go wild in the play area - complete with a mini wooden fort to conquer. Explore the Peter Rabbit adventure rooms, dress up as a knight or princess, picnic on the terrace and take in the amazing views across Lake Windermere.
If you are interested to read about more historic buildings, check out our guide to the best castles to visit in the Lake District.
Fun fact: This castle was built 180 years ago by a surgeon and his wife who was an heiress. Today it is owned by the National Trust.
Prices: Adult £11.50, child £5.75 and family £28.75
The World of Beatrix Potter is an incredibly popular attraction for children and adults alike. Visitors can step into 3D scenes from the books and experience the sights and sounds of Beatrix Potter's much-loved characters. Among the iconic scenes you can visit are Peter Rabbit's garden, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle's kitchen and Jemima Puddle-Duck's woodland glade. It is a truly magical exhibition. There is also a superb character-themed family-friendly café and gift shop meaning you can take a break from the excitement and refuel with coffee and cake!
Fun fact: There is a Peter Rabbit garden which brings to life the kitchen and cottage gardens you see in Beatrix Potter’s illustrations. Designed by Chelsea RHS Gold medal winner Richard Lucas, the garden is created with local materials, including Honister slate and Furness bricks and is tended to using organic principles.
Prices: Under 3s go free, adult £8.20, child £4.20 and family £23
Tarn Hows Lake, near Hawkshead
Beatrix Potter purchased the Monk Coniston estate and Tarn Hows to conserve and protect them. Today, Tarn Hows is a classic Lake District spot where many enjoy gentle walks, picnics and unforgettable views. It is just north-east of Hawkshead village and easily accessible.
This would be a nice place to take the kids where they can ignite their imagination as they search for Mrs Tiggywinkle in the leaves or Jemima Puddle-Duck on the water. They may even see Squirrel Nutkin up a tree. This is a magical spot for imagination to run wild, and a nice opportunity to enjoy a loved spot of Potter's without all of the crowds.
Fun fact: Before passing, Beatrix sold half of the estate to the National Trust at cost and left the other half to them in her will.
Map of Beatrix Potter attractions
Find all of the days out mentioned above in our handy map below and start discovering Beatrix Potter's Lake District.
Have you been inspired to visit the Lake District and delve into the world of Beatrix Potter?
Come and stay in our wonderful self-catering cottages to enhance your magical experience. With a gorgeous collection dotted throughout, you can find everything you need here. Hawkshead, Windermere, Coniston and Ambleside are all within easy reach of the Beatrix Potter attractions and offer great bases for you and the family to explore from. With everything from family-friendly homes and large lodges for groups to cosy traditional cottages for two we can cater for everyone. We even have some lovely log cabins in the woods!
Don’t forget the dog, as we have a great range of dog-friendly cottages too!