Born into a privileged household, Beatrix Potter was educated by governesses and grew up isolated from other children. She had numerous pets and spent holidays in Scotland and the Lake District, developing a love of landscape, flora and fauna, all of which she closely observed and painted. Her parents discouraged her intellectual development as a young woman, but her study and watercolors of fungi led to her being widely respected in the field of mycology. In her thirties, Potter published the highly successful children's book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Potter began writing and illustrating children's books full-time. With the proceeds from the books and a legacy from an aunt, Potter bought Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey, a village of Lancashire in the Lake District in 1905. Over the following decades, she purchased additional farms to preserve the unique hill country landscape. In 1913, at the age of 47, she married William Heelis, a respected local solicitor from Hawkshead. Potter was also a prize-winning breeder of Herdwick sheep and a prosperous farmer keenly interested in land preservation. She continued to write and illustrate, and to design spin-off merchandise based on her children's books for Warne, until the duties of land management and her diminishing eyesight made it difficult to continue. Potter wrote about 30 books; the best known being her 24 children's tales. She died at her home in Near Sawrey (Lancashire) at age 77, leaving almost all her property to the National Trust. She is credited with preserving much of the land that now comprises the Lake District National Park.
Step inside this charming old building to enjoy an exhibition of Beatrix Potter's original drawings and watercolours. This year the new exhibition celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter and displays original artwork inspired by her love of nature. A visit here is an ideal addition to a Hill Top visit as it doesn't just offer the chance to admire her delightful artwork but also the opportunity to learn more about Beatrix Potter's life outside the writing career which made her famous. Learn more about Beatrix as a farmer and conservationist and how her legacy helped to keep the Lake District the place we know today. This gallery building has an interesting history too, as previously it was the office of Beatrix Potter's husband William Heelis, and it is a rare opportunity to see inside one of Hawkshead's old buildings. Accessible car park in Hawkshead village (not National Trust). Approx 300 yards from Gallery. Braille Guide and Large print guide. Exhibition housed in old property entered from street, step to narrow entrance. Level access to three rooms on ground floor. Illustrations are upstairs, objects relating to Beatrix Potter downstairs. Many stairs with handrail to other floors. Assistance dogs only are welcomed. While you are in Hawkshead why not visit the Hawkshead Grammar School Museum (dating back to the 17th Century) and Hilltop, Beatrix Potters home.
Location : Main Street, Hawkshead, Cumbria, LA22 0NS.
Transport: Windemere (National Rail) then Stagecoach in Cumbria bus 550. Cross Lakes Shuttle bus from Bowness.
Opening Times: Weekdays 10:00 to 17:00. 30th March to 26th August.
Tickets : Adults £6.00 Children (5-15) £3.00.
Tel: 015394 36355