Things to do in Hill Top house
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Hill Top shop has a variety of gifts inspired by Beatrix Potter and her life in the Lake District.
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.
Historic buildings are a treasure trove of stories, art and collections. Learn more about what makes these places so special and plan your visit.
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.