Monday, July 27, 2015

Let's talk about: The Lake District and Beatrix Potter

 The Lake District. 
Today I want to look at a few of the places in the Lake District that have ties to Beatrix Potter. 
While Beatrix was growing up, her family spent many holidays in the Lake District and she grew to love it. Her favorite places was a village called Sawrey near Lake Windermere. 
When she grew up and was making an income from her books, she decided to buy a farm in Sawrey called Hill Top. 

She arranged for an extension to be built onto the farmhouse so that the farm manager, John Cannon, could continue to live there and manage the farm. 
At this time Beatrix was mostly still living in London with her parents and she spent as much time as she could visiting her new home. She renovated, created a beautiful garden, and decorated every inch of the house in a way that was delightful and special to her. 
She used Hill Top as a background for many of the illustrations in her books. 
In her will, Hill Top was left to the National Trust as well as the furnishings so that it would still look the same today. 
It is open to the public to explore and I can't wait to go there!

Next door and behind Hill Top Farm is the Tower Bank Arms. 

It is also a National Trust property and was featured in Beatrix' book The tale of Jemima Puddle Duck.
It is now a pub where you can go in to enjoy a meal, a drink, and it's rich history. 

Another spot that was special to Beatrix would, of course, be her home with her husband William Heelis. They lived in Castle Cottage for thirty happy years. 

From what I understand, you cannot go into Castle Cottage. But you can admire it from across the way. 

Another home that Beatrix owned but did not live in was Yew Tree Farm. 

This is the home that was used to represent Hill Top in the film Miss Potter and I will talk more about this home on Friday!

The Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead nearby is a 17th century building that was the former office of William, a solicitor. 

Here you can step inside and see an exhibition of Beatrix Potter's original drawings and water color pictures.

In Bowness on Windermere there is an attraction called The World of Beatrix Potter.

As far as I know, it doesn't have any particular historical value as a building and is just something that they have built to be a fun attraction. 
It looks like it would be fun if you took kids to it as you can explore the stories and characters. 

But I'm not sure I would take the time to see it as an adult without kids. It might be kind of fun but I'm not sure if it is a tourist trap kind of place or not. 

Near Lake Windermere there is Wray Castle. 

Wray Castle sits on the western side of Windermere. It was built in the 1840's for just two people to live in and was the first Lake District holiday home for Beatrix Potter and her family.
You can explore the castle and its grounds in all weather. 

Beatrix' favorite lake in the area was Esthwaite Water. 

It's very beautiful!

One of the things I look forward to the most when visiting the Lake District is just going on walks in these areas. I have a book, Walking with Beatrix Potter by Norman and June Buckley,  that outlines a bunch of different walks that you can go on to see different things. It details the difficulty of the hike and the length and time it would take to do it. 

And just for fun I am going to add one more location that is not in the Lake District. 
Beatrix based her illustrations in The Tailor of Gloucester on the tailor's house situated close to Gloucester Cathedral in Gloucester. She used a local story about a tailor who tried to finish a waistcoat for the Mayor's wedding one Christmas Day as the basis for the story. 
She later acknowledged this story as her personal favorite so it is kind of cool that you can visit the house of the tailor of Gloucester. 

*If you were visiting the Lake District would you visit these sites? 
*What is your favorite Beatrix Potter book?
*Have you ever been to the Lake District? (or Gloucester since I added that!)


Seth and Julie said...

Funny you should write about this since I have been up to my eyeballs in it. I just finished a Brit Lit class and we studied Wordsworth and Coleridge, "the lake poets". There work really made this quite the tourist destination and the the lake district is then heavily featured in other works of romanticism. I am not a fan of poetry, but I do feel a fondness for this place after being forcibly immersed in its influence for 14 weeks.

cheryl said...

The class sounds like something that would be really interesting.
One of these days I plan on talking about the other literary connections to the Lake District as well.

The Kings said...

So looking forward to visiting!The Lake District looks so beautiful!!

cheryl said...

Me too! It is so beautiful. So much to see!