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Hill Top

©NTPL/Stephen Robson

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Those who have enjoyed the film "Miss Potter" will already know that the lovely Lake District farmhouse of Hill Top was the home of the prolific author and illustrator, Beatrix Potter.

As a child Beatrix spent many happy summers in this scenic area around Hawkshead creating her animal characters including Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck, and she later wrote many of her 23 books at Hill Top, which she made her permanent home.

Hill Top itself is a typical 17th century Lake District farmhouse. It is delightfully furnished and full of Beatrix's personal items and treasures, just as if she has stepped out to check on her beloved flock of Herdwick sheep. It has retained its homely, lived-in atmosphere
©NTPL/Geoffrey Frosh
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with its rustic antique furnishings and is a showcase of English country life.

The National Trust has done a wonderful job, giving each room in the house a reference to one of the characters from her books. Fans will recognize Hill Top as the setting for her immortal stories about Tom Kitten and Samuel Whiskers. See Beatrix's desk and her watercolours as well as some of her work.

Surrounding the farm is a typical cottage garden with an informal creation of flowers, herbs, fruit trees and vegetables. The authentic upturned flower pots and old watering cans are exactly as they are portrayed in her books. The garden is at its very best in summer and autumn.

Hill Top has a beautiful outlook over rolling green hills divided by the ubiquitous drystone walls and dotted with sheep. The house is just two miles from Hawkshead and a few miles from Bowness-on-Windermere by ferry across Lake Windermere.

As car parking is limited, consider arriving by ferry across Lake Windermere and walking the two miles to Hill Top, enjoying the surrounding scenery, much as it was in the early 1900s when Beatrix Potter lived here.

As Hill Top is a very popular attraction and is quite a small and compact house, visitor numbers are limited each day and a timed-ticket system is in operation. As tickets cannot be booked, it is advisable to
©NTPL/Geoffrey Frosh
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visit on a weekday if possible and arrive early.

Waiting time can be spent enjoying the gardens and following the children's garden trail, imagining, as Beatrix did, Peter Rabbit scurrying between the cabbages. Alternatively, stroll down to the Tower Bank Arms pub, recognizable from the sketches in her Jemima Puddleduck story.

Hill Top has a small gift shop full of Beatrix Potter related items including her small hard-backed books. Drinks and snacks are available but visitors should visit nearby hotels, tea rooms and pubs for meals.

As a resident local for many years, Beatrix Potter became concerned that the practice of fell farming should be preserved. Determined that the Lake District should not fall into the hands of developers, over the years she bought a total of 4,000 acres of farmland, including 14 farms, many cottages and some areas of scenic natural beauty such as Tarn Hows. Upon her death in 1943, she bequeathed them to the National Trust for the enjoyment of everyone for posterity.

Other Beatrix Potter themed attractions to visit in the area include the World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere and the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead, situated in the National Trust-owned cottage where Beatrix's husband, William Heelis, had his solicitor's practice. Yew Tree Farm in Coniston was another of Miss Potter's properties and is now a National Trust tea room and Bed and Breakfast.

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Bus Services:
Cross Lakes Experience from Bowness Pier 3 across Lake Windermere on to Stagecoach in Cumbria 525; also 505 from Windermere changing at Hawkshead (April-September only, plus weekends in October). Telephone 01539 445161 for complete ferry and bus timetable.

View local cycle routes on the National Cycle Network website.

By Road:
B5286 and B5285 from Ambleside (6 miles), B5285 from Coniston (7 miles).

By Train:
Windermere 4½ miles via vehicle ferry.

On Foot:
Off-road path from ferry (2 miles), marked.

Ordnance Survey Reference:

Hill Top Postcode for SatNav: LA22 0LF


+44 (0)1539 436 269
+44 (0)1539 436 811

Near Sawrey
LA22 0LF

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