Beatrix Potter in the Lake District

Beatrix Pottering about the Lakes – Discover the author, illustrator, farmer, sheep-breeder, naturalist, mycologist, conservationist, businesswoman, legend.

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Discover Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter was a quite remarkable woman, and if you want to find out more about her life and work, we’ve gathered together a few of the places most associated with her that you can visit on your next Lake District holiday.

See the house where she lived and wrote some of her most famous books. View her original manuscripts and illustrations. And, learn about her important contribution to the preservation of the Lake District National Park.

A Lake District love affair begins

Although she was born in London, Beatrix Potter is forever linked to the Lake District.

We’ll begin where it all began in the Lakes for her. Wray Castle, the mock Gothic castle where she spent her 16th birthday on holiday with her parents.

You can admire the stunning scenery and Windermere lake views that kindled her love of the area.

Now owned by the National Trust, it has been many things in its time, including a private house, a youth hostel, the offices of the Freshwater Biological Association, and a training college for merchant navy radio officers.

Peter Rabbit pays for a house 

Now head to Near Sawrey, the charming village that features in many of her illustrations, and the place Beatrix called home for a number of years before her marriage.

That home was Hill Top, a 17th-century farmhouse she bought on the back of the success of Peter Rabbit – and where she went on to write many more books.

Tom Kitten and Jemima Puddle-Duck were brought to life there, and the house still contains many of her possessions.

When you’ve looked around the house, you can refuel at the Tower Bank Arms, which appears in The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck

Beatrix Potter Falls In love again…

Beatrix’s favourite spot

Next up is one of Beatrix’s (and Wordsworth’s) favourite spots in the Lakes – Esthwaite Water, near Hawkshead.

She made many drawings of the lake and its surrounding landscape, and the idea for the character of Jeremy Fisher first came to her on its shores.

Her companion on many of those walks at Esthwaite was her future husband, William Heelis – a local solicitor, whom she often visited on business in the picturesque village of Hawkshead

While you’re there, make time to visit the Beatrix Potter Gallery and look at some of her original illustrations and manuscripts. 

After their marriage, Beatrix and William lived at Castle Cottage in Near Sawrey, where they enjoyed thirty happy years.

A lasting legacy

William Heelis acted for Beatrix on much of her land and property buying in the Lakes, including Tarn Hows, which she bequeathed, along with over 4000 acres of land and 15 farms, to the National Trust – a bequest that has helped preserve the Lake District landscape she loved for future generations.

This popular beauty spot is well worth a visit and you can admire the impressive views of the Coniston Hills and Langdale Pikes as you take on the easy circular walk around it.

To see another side of Beatrix

Get yourself to Ambleside and visit the Armitt Museum.

Beatrix left all her mycological, natural history and, archaeology drawings to the Armitt and many of them are on permanent display.

Now it’s time to visit an old man – The Old Man of Coniston. Drive to the shores of beautiful Coniston Water (the third largest lake in the Lake District) and take in the view of this arresting fell.

If you’re feeling energetic, there are several well-marked paths to the summit, and you might well see a flock of beloved Herdwick sheep roaming around.

Beatrix saves the Herdwick 

Finish your Beatrix Potter Lake District pilgrimage with a drive through the breathtaking Yewdale Valley, an area surrounded by steep, craggy fells.

Beatrix owned many farms locally, including Yew Tree Farm, which stood in for Hill Top in the film Miss Potter. It was on some of these farms that she became a devoted and respected breeder of Herdwick sheep (a hardy breed indigenous to Cumbria), and she was the first woman to be considered as the president of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders Association. 

Sadly, Beatrix died in 1943, before she had a chance to take up the position, but her Lake District legacy lives on.

Finally, and especially if you’re travelling with children, before you head home from the Lakes, don’t forget to visit The World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere to see her stories brought to life and pick up some souvenirs.

Where to stay

Whether you want to base yourself in Hawkshead, Ambleside, Windermere, Langdale or Coniston for your visit, we have a holiday cottage that’s just the ticket. You may even bump into Peter Rabbit himself if you’re lucky.

Discover more of the Lake District’s Quiet Places

Venture off the beaten path and relish the many advantages of exploring its quieter, more secluded areas. Your journey will be filled with tranquillity and the chance to create unforgettable memories.

Discover the authentic charm of less-visited villages and trails, providing a true sense of the region’s culture and history.

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