Late last year we visited the Lake District for a short break. It’s an incredibly beautiful place to visit and a few days in the lakes really is good for the soul. While we were there we visited a few attractions, went on a steam train and spent an afternoon at The World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere.
The World of Beatrix Potter is tucked away just off one of the main roads through Bowness. There’s no parking on site, but plenty of parking around Bowness. The attraction is often very busy, so if you’re able to go early in the day, that might be better. There is a queuing system and people are admitted in batches.
In groups you’re ushered through to a room where you’re shown a 5 minute film introducing you to Beatrix Potter and her stories and illustrations. The doors from the film room open to the main exhibition where the sights and sounds of Beatrix Potter’s much loved characters are brought to life.
The main exhibition takes you on a journey through scenes from her books, some of the scenes are slightly interactive with the smells and sounds you’d expect if they were real. The scenes are really well done and the character are exactly as they were drawn.
The main exhibition includes; Jemima Puddle-duck’s woodland glade; Mr Tod’s underground home; The Tale of Pigling Bland; Mrs Tittlemouse; Squirrel Nutkin; The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit; Mrs Tiggy-Winkle’s Kitchen; The Tale of Two bad Mice; Miss Moppet; Johnny Town-Mouse and Samuel Whiskers; The Pie and the Patty-Pan; Tom Kitten; The Flopsy Bunnies; The Tailor of Gloucester; Benjamin Bunny; The Tale of Ginger and Pickles; The Tale of Peter Rabbit; Mr McGregor’s Greenhouse and Mr. Jeremy Fisher on his lily-pad boat.
About half way around the main exhibition, there’s the chance to step outside and explore The Peter Rabbit Garden. For me this was a real highlight, despite the fact it was out of season and not especially lush. I think in the spring and summer the garden would look fantastic.
The Peter Rabbit Garden is a small show garden filled with all kinds of things from Beatrix Potter’s world; from the lettuces that Benjamin Bunny, Lily Bob-Tail and Peter Rabbit would eat; to the gooseberry bush where Peter got caught in a net as he tried to escape Mr. McGregor. There’s a beautiful bronze sculpture in the centre which shows the three children releasing the figure of Jemima Puddle-duck. It’s a tiny space which is absolutely crammed with little hidden gems and beautiful plants. It’s a treat for any garden enthusiast.
The World of Beatrix Potter also includes a Virtual Walk which enables you to explore the Lake District without leaving the spot. There’s also a Beatrix Potter timeline and more information about her life. There’s a really good shop for gifts and a tearoom which we didn’t get the chance to visit.
When we visited it was really, really busy and felt busier because there wasn’t much space inside the exhibition. There were an awful lot of pushchairs in the narrow space and you felt a little pushed along by the flow. I’m not sure the exhibition which opening in 1991 was designed to accommodate pushchairs and prams in any numbers, which is a shame. There is a buggy park in the foyer, but sometimes it’s not practical to park up and go without your pushchair.
Despite the crush, we really loved The World of Beatrix Potter. I’ve been reading her books since I was a child and reading them with my son has been a real joy. It’s somewhere everyone should visit at least once on their lives.
If you’re visiting the Lake District, The World of Beatrix Potter is an iconic place to visit. For more information about opening times, admission prices and what’s on, visit the website.