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Things to do in Hill Top house

Visitor in the Treasure room at Hill Top, Near Sawrey, Lake District, Cumbria
Visitor in the Treasure room at Hill Top, Near Sawrey, Lake District, Cumbria | © Cumbria Lakes Culture Jill Jennings

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.

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.

New for 2024

The special connection between Beatrix Potter’s beloved farmhouse and her little books is the inspiration for a brand-new display in the New Room. Hill Top was home to Tom Kitten, his mother Tabitha Twitchit and his sisters Moppet and Mittens, and you can glimpse the house and garden in many of the pages of this little book. Tom Kitten: What a pickle will delight adults and children with scenes from the book, original Beatrix Potter artwork, and interactive programming.

An exclusive addition to the collection this year is an excerpt from the original handwritten manuscript of Beatrix’s less well-known but much-loved The Fairy Caravan. It will be displayed in what is thought to be the exact spot in the hall, where she would have written the story. The Fairy Caravan contains some beautiful descriptions of Hill Top but was never published in the UK. Beatrix felt it too “personal [and] autobiographical" for her to feel comfortable allowing publication in England. It was published by David McKay publishing house in Philadelphia in 1929. Beatrix Potter wrote this chapter book for older children towards the end of her writing career.

Fun for families at Hill Top

Children will delight in spotting areas in the garden and house that relate to the little books – Tom Kitten’s gate for example, Jemima Puddle-ducks rhubarb patch, the window and grandfather clock on the half landing from the Tale of Samuel Whiskas and the famous porch and front door from the Tale of Tom Kitten.

Beatrix liked to dress her characters in human clothes. In the Tom Kitten display in the New Room, children can spot the many different hats in the illustrations. And they can try them on, just like the Puddle-ducks do in The Tale of Tom Kitten. Which one suits you best?

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.

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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Things to do in Hill Top garden 

Discover Beatrix Potter's garden, restored to how it was in her time, with the carefully tended vegetable plot and views of the pretty cottage garden from the famous path.

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Shopping at Hill Top 

The Hill Top shop has a variety of gifts inspired by Beatrix Potter and her life in the Lake District.

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Booking your visit to Hill Top 

The house and garden at Hill Top are open, and you will need to book in advance to guarantee entry. If you're planning a visit to Hill Top, read this article to find out everything you need to know.

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Houses and buildings 

Historic buildings are a treasure trove of stories, art and collections. Learn more about their histories and plan your next visit.

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Houses and buildings in the Lake District 

Alongside its natural outdoor wonders the Lake District also has many inspiring houses and buildings to visit, from the impressive Allan Bank where Wordsworth once lived, to the former farmhouse of Beatrix Potter.