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Things to do in Hill Top house

The bedroom at Hill Top house, Cumbria
The bedroom at Hill Top house, Cumbria | © National Trust Images/Peter Tasker

PLEASE NOTE: HILL TOP IS CURRENTLY CLOSED. THE HOUSE WILL RE-OPEN ON 10 FEBRUARY 2024. Discover the house at Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s holiday home, sanctuary and studio. This cosy converted farmhouse is filled with Beatrix’s belongings and inspired many of her famous stories.

Get close to Beatrix

For Beatrix Potter, Hill Top provided a refuge away from London and became a place of independence and inspiration. She purchased Hill Top Farm in 1905 with the profits from her first illustrated books, including The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Beatrix extended the old farmhouse and furnished it with well-chosen antiques.

Beatrix Potter's chair next to the fire in the house at Hill Top, Cumbria
Beatrix Potter's chair at Hill Top | © National Trust Images/Colin Beacon

See Beatrix's belongings

Step inside Hill Top and you'll be surrounded by Beatrix Potter's own belongings. The items and furniture she carefully chose to leave here bring her personality to life in each room and cupboard.

Discover little luxuries

Over the years Beatrix added touches of luxury to Hill Top – look out for the marble fireplaces and fine china. She also displayed personal items, including gifts from friends and family. The plates on the kitchen wall were painted by Beatrix’s father Rupert Potter, and her brother Bertram created the large paintings in the New Room.

Explore the Treasure Room

The Treasure Room at the top of the stairs includes a display of Beatrix’s most precious things, including miniature doll’s house food, which was a gift from her late fiancé Norman Warne. Her illustrations of these miniscule meals appear in The Tale of Two Bad Mice.

The doll's house in the Treasure Room at Hill Top, Cumbria, home of Beatrix Potter
The doll's house in the Treasure Room at Hill Top | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Understand Hill Top as an inspiration

The interiors of Hill Top feature in many of Beatrix’s little books after 1905. In The Tale of Tom Kitten (1907) it is home to Tabitha Twitchit and her three mischievous kittens, Moppet, Mittens and Tom. In The Tale of Samuel Whiskers (1908), Tom Kitten is captured by rats who scamper up Hill Top’s staircase.

Uncover a home in the Lakes

In 1913, Beatrix married William Heelis and moved to nearby Castle Cottage. However, she kept Hill Top as a place to work, entertain guests and display her collections.

Hill Top remained a working farm during Beatrix’s lifetime, as it is today. As you make your way around the house, take time to notice the small things, Beatrix would have considered those just as much as the largest piece of furniture of biggest design choice.

On display for the first time, visitors can see a newly acquired letter, written by Beatrix, here in 1913.

Written shortly after her marriage to William Heelis, it has never before been seen by the public and is on display in the year of their 110th wedding anniversary.

The letter showcases Beatrix's distinctive handwriting and an early example of her signing off as 'Beatrix Heelis'.

Beatrix and Herdwick sheep

Beatrix Potter did much to promote the Herdwick breed and was the first woman to be elected president of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders Association, although she died before she took up the chair. You can see some of the awards and trophies she won at local agricultural shows for her sheep breeding on display.

A view of Hill Top house, Cumbria, a cottage with pretty foliage climbing up its walls and which is surrounded by a cottage garden densely planted with shrubs and flowers.

Discover more at Hill Top

Find out when Hill Top is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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