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See the twinkle in Mrs Tiggy-winkle's eyes
The World of Beatrix Potter (Cumbria)
Member Name: jillycat
The World of Beatrix Potter (Cumbria)
Advantages: Wonderful models lots to see child friendly
Disadvantages: Can get busy at times
Where is it
Situated in the town centre of Bowness this was just a five minute walk from the boat pier up to the museum. You can drive to Bowness but the museum doesn't have it own parking so you will need to walk there from which ever car park you choose. Bowness is also served by various bus and train services so is easily accessible by public transport
What is there and our experience
I am sure most people will have heard of Beatrix Potter and remember at least one of her books from childhood such as Peter Rabbit or Squirrel Nutkin. This museum takes you on a journey of Beatrix Potters Life and her stories.
The museum is divided into 6 different sections. After paying or showing your ticket you take a seat outside the entrance as it is a staggered museum meaning they only let so many people through at one time. We seemed to time it beautifully as we arrived a few minutes before going in and had the first section of the short film about Beatrix Potter and some of the stories to ourselves. The section will hold around 25 people seated as a maximum. The film was interesting both to me as a Beatrix Potter fan and to my young son as someone who has just heard the stories as the commentary was overlaid with various pictures from the books which captured his imagination as they do at story time at home. We had been given an activity guide to fill in for young children but there was no questions related to the film. The door then opened into the magical museum we all including my rather jaded husband gasped with amazement as we saw the first few scenes.
The next section focused on two stories really Mr Tod's and Jemima Puddles Duck there are reference to other stories to but these are the main ones represented. The models are absolutely stunning really they are wonderful representations of the drawings in the books and they seem to capture amazingly well the drawings of Beatrix Potter in 3 D. We were all utterly charmed by them and my son at 3 was fascinated looking at them and finding different small details in the scenes to point out to us. There are various touch screen information points in each of the sections telling you some information about the books being represented. These are in several different languages with a different character for each language. These are very sensitive and often my son would press which ever character he liked the look of best. As these can't be then turned off or returned to the original screens till the information has scrolled through it would often mean a wait for us to find out the information. We gradually got quicker at telling him which character to press for the information so by the end we had it down to a fine art.
The next section is the Peter Rabbit garden this is laid out over various stone walk ways with a lean too greenhouse this is all set out very much like Mr Macgregor's garden. This section is where the activity booklet comes in with you having to find out various things such as things including engraved stones and some animal house. Our favourite was the small mouse living in the wall which as just so cute an adorable. The garden is planted with various rare vegetables including a red radish that looks long and thin like a carrot that is supposed to be the type of radish Peter Rabbit loved so much in Mr Macgregor's garden. The garden even in September looked stunning with a riot of colour and different textures and smells. There was even a little scarecrow made of Peter Rabbits little Blue coat and shoes which my son though was great. Whilst this was interesting my son much preferred the animal representations inside so we quickly returned inside.
The next section contains scenes from Jeremy Fisher and Mrs Tiggy-winkle both of which again were superb the modelling of Jeremy Fisher on his lily pads turned around so you can see him at various stages of fishing. His pond was clear so you could see reeds and fish below which again we all thought was a lovely touch.
The next section is interactive with a short film that can show you some walks Beatrix Potter would have done over the hills. As this bit is unappealing for children really I think they have rather cleverly included several picture puzzle type of things for children to do whilst adults watch some of the film or read some of the wall displays about Beatrix Potter's life. My son loved turning some of the wooden blocks to make various pictures of the characters in the stories and sliding blocks around to complete the picture.
By the time we got to the last section we were caught up by a large party of Japanese tourists and it was rather a squash to see some of the displays of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny but we just went back a few paces till they had passed though so we were able to enjoy it in relative quite again. You can then if you choose have an interactive picture taken of you sat on a bench with Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny for company before heading to the shop.
The shop as you would expect is laid out with various Beatrix Potter treats to tempt you from soft toys to children's clothing and cutlery. It is rather small and was rather crowded when we were in which probably worked well for my bank balance as it allowed me not to be too tempted by some of the more expensive items such a china art or snow globes.
There is a small café down stairs in the attraction that you can visit as part of your trip or on its own. As my son was starting to feel a bit peckish we decide to avail ourselves of the delights. We had various bowls of piping hot soup which was a hearty sweet potato and red pepper with was served with lovely crunchy bread or sandwiches. The food was delicious and we certainly felt we got good value at around £4 for the Soup and £5 for the soup and a sandwich which some child items such as a jam sandwich drink small cake and drinks for the adult the bill came to just over £16 which given this is such a tourist spot I thought was reasonable value. The vegetables used in the tea room are all grown from the Peter Rabbit garden at attraction which I personally think is a lovely touch. The service was efficient and the café was very clean and tidy. They had also provided microwaves to heat baby food and children's cutlery for you. There were also a couple of highchairs available for use.
I think the attraction is very child friendly with the inclusion of activity booklets, the touch screen displays at child height to see and very child friendly staff. The tea room is also well geared up for its younger visitors. The baby changing area is nice and clean and easy to access. As the majority of the attraction is on one well level is very easy to push a pushchair around and none of the visitors we saw with pushchairs had any problems negotiating doors and the like.
The attraction as mentioned previously has no parking as standard but according to their website disabled visitors can phone to book a parking space in the courtyard of the attraction. I would definitely recommend this as it is on quite a steep hill with no parking near by meaning it would be hard to get too other wise. Inside everything is on one level bar some areas of the Peter Rabbit garden. The walkways within the attraction are nice and wide and bar some congestion from other visitors should be easy to navigate. The is a disabled lift I noticed so get access to the disabled toilet and the tea rooms down stairs
This is a great attraction for Beatrix Potter fans and young children who delight still in her books over 100 years after they were first published. The attractions representations of the stories are amazing as they are so true to the pictures that you can positively see the twinkle in Mrs Tiggy-winkle's eyes. The attraction certainly delighted my young son who was enthralled with the models. He was able to see lots of tiny details in each one that he loved to point out to us. The café attached to the attraction is also excellent and well worth enjoying a warming bowl of soup of a scrummy cake in. A definite 5 starts from us.
Summer - 10.00 - 17.30
Winter- 10.00 - 16.30
(Closed Christmas Day &
between 24th Jan & 4th Feb 2011)
Senior Citizens £5.75
Family Ticket £18.00
It is worth noting if you buy the tickets from the tourist information centre by the boat pier that you can save 50 pence per ticket.
Call +44 (0)844 504 1233
The World of Beatrix Potter
Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria LA23 3BX
Summary: A great place to see more about Beatrix Potter and her books
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