Walk in Beatrix Potter's footsteps
Beatrix Potter lived and worked in the village of Near Sawrey for almost 40 years. If you'd like to explore in her footsteps and get closer to what inspired her, here are some of the local places she loved.
Probably the most iconic of all places associated with Beatrix, this traditional farmhouse was her retreat from London. She used it as inspiration for several of her books and a place to welcome visitors but she never actually lived there herself. Hill Top has been left just as Beatrix wanted it and is open every day, except Fridays.
Beatrix Potter Gallery, Hawkshead
Now home to our annually changing exhibition of original Beatrix Potter artwork, the Gallery has another connection to her: it was formally William Heelis's solicitor’s practice. William was Beatrix's husband and it's most likely that Beatrix and William met here after Beatrix had purchased Hill Top in 1905 and was looking for help to acquire more farms. This meeting eventually led to their marriage in 1913; they were happily married for 30 years.
It’s easy to see why Hawkshead features in lots of Beatrix’s story illustrations. It’s full of character and charm. You’ll recognise it in a few of her tales, including The Pie and The Patty Pan and Johnny Town-Mouse. The narrow lanes and old shops can still be seen today as you wander through the village’s backstreets.
Beatrix first visited the castle on a family holiday to the Lake District, when she was 16. While staying here she met Hardwick Rawnsley who encouraged her to follow her love of nature and writing and helped her get her first work published. The Gothic-style castle, on Windermere’s west shore, is perfect for a family day out.
Moss Eccles Tarn
A mile or so from Near Sawrey up the rough bridleway known as Stoney Lane, Beatrix had her rowing boat and boat house. She spent many happy hours at the tarn with William, sketching and drawing. It still feels like a romantic hideaway, even today.
Tarn Hows & Monk Coniston
Appreciating its landscape value, Beatrix purchased the Monk Coniston estate and Tarn Hows to conserve and protect them. She then sold half of the estate to the National Trust at cost and left the other half to us in her will. Today, Tarn Hows is a classic Lake District spot, with a gentle walk for all the family and unforgettable views.