Days Out: Visiting The World of Beatrix Potter

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.

The World of Beatrix Potter

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 World of Beatrix Potter

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

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.

We paid for our visit in full.

The World of Beatrix Potter

Days Out: The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway

Getting out of the city and out into the countryside for the weekend is an all too rare thing. But this year we’ve managed two jaunts to the Lake District; the first to Keswick for a spot of glamping and the second to Coniston. During our visit to Coniston, we took some time to explore the southern lakes a little more. My son is a steam train enthusiast, so we visited the The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway and we loved it so much, we went back again the next day!

As a child I spent an awful lot of time in the southern Lake District. My Nan had a caravan there and my Uncle liked to fish; so we would spend lots of our school holidays going on day trips and long walks. I remember my time there very fondly, especially our annual visits to The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, so it was great to share that with my son.

Days Out: The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway

On arrival at Haverthwaite Station, it felt like nothing at all had changed in 30 years. Of course it had, whilst original features abound, there are the kind of modern conveniences that people expect; like clean modern toilets, a nice cafe and a gift shop.

Most visitors arrive and park at Haverthwaite Station which is near Ulverston and really easy to find. The steam trains run regularly, but if you find you’ve just missed one and you’ve got to wait for the next one, the cafe is very decent and you can always have a mooch around the gift shop. The station itself is really pretty to explore and there’s a play area for little ones too.

Days Out: The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway

On the day we visited, Haverthwaite Station was playing host to The Owl Sanctuary. There were a selection of owls and a few handlers talking to the visitors about them. My son was lucky enough to hold a tiny one. He adores owls, so he was in his element.

Days Out: The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway

Soon our steam train rolled into the station and it was all aboard for our journey to Lakeside at Windermere. We clambered aboard ‘Repulse’ and got comfortable in the original carriages. The journey itself isn’t an especially long one and takes around 20 minutes; but it takes you through beautiful countryside, pauses in Newby Bridge, then through some woodland and eventually to the edge of Lake Windermere.

Most people get off here and either go on to explore the aquarium, or go on to get the steam boat across Windermere. We stayed on the train and returned to Haverthwaite Station.

Days Out: The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway

Periodically, The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway have special events and special days. The day after our first visit was one of these special days. As it was sort of on our way home, we returned to do the whole thing all over again, but with a few child friendly activities, dressing up and sing songs. This was the icing on the cake for my son and our two visits to the railway have really cemented his love for it. I know that come spring, we’ll be back.

I have very fond memories of going on The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway when I was a child, and now my son does too. It really is a brilliant attraction, made better by having things to see and do at either end. It really was the highlight of a very brilliant weekend in the lakes.

For more information about The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, visit their website.

Note: we paid for our tickets in full, I’ve just written about it because we loved it!