Newest Review: ... you can enjoy a recreation of the cottage and kitchen gardens of the Peter Rabbit Tales. This is my absolute favourite part of the attracti... more
A hop, a skip and a jump into The World of Beatrix Potter
The World of Beatrix Potter (Cumbria)
Member Name: carlz2001uk
The World of Beatrix Potter (Cumbria)
Advantages: Good location, excellent for children, nice tea room
Disadvantages: Price slightly high, souvenir prices
On a recent trip to Lake Windermere, with two young children, it was a given that we would visit the World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness. We had taken the children a few summers ago, but they didn't really remember it as they were quite young at the time. It is in a central location and handy for families with children who want to have a break from walking or to get out of the heat in summer. Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit were probably around in most of our childhoods in some various forms and so it was nice to reminisce about my mum reading me Peter Rabbit as a child or playing with a huge Jemima Puddleduck teddy I had!
From the moment you walk into the World of Beatrix Potter, the magic starts for the children and they loved the soft pastel coloured drawings and recreations of the famous characters. The attraction features all 23 tales by Beatrix Potter, which are brought to life in a fairly modern way with recreations of the characters in Lakeland countryside with sounds and even smells added to the mix. Visit Peter Rabbit in Mr. McGregor's garden Jemima Puddle-duck in the woodland glade and Mrs. Tiggy-winkle in her kitchen.
The attraction is broken up in six parts, beginning with a short film explaining the inspiration for Beatrix Potter and a little background about her life, as well as an introduction to all 23 Beatrix Potter Tales. It is interesting to learn a little bit more about one of the best known writers of children's books, and how she fell in love with the Lake District after holidaying there. All of her stories are set in and around the Lake District and it is wonderful that the attraction is set in the heart of the Lakes, allowing her legacy to live on for many years to come.
The second part of the attraction takes you through indoor recreations of Beatrix Potter's tales, visiting Mr Tod's underground home and Jemima Puddle-duck's woodland glade. Part 3 is the brand new, outdoor, Peter Rabbit Garden where you can enjoy a recreation of the cottage and kitchen gardens of the Peter Rabbit Tales. This is my absolute favourite part of the attraction and you can sit on a bench in the vegetable patch, smell the lovely garden smells and fresh herbs and watch the world go by. Part 4 takes you back into the indoor recreations, where you will visit Mrs.Tiggy-winkle's kitchen, wander past Jeremy Fisher's pond and much more. Part 5 allows you to follow in Beatrix Potter's footsteps with the Virtual Walks, and find out about Beatrix Potter with the Tale of Mrs. Heelis film and timeline. Part 6 takes you through Mr McGregor's greenhouse and into the tales of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny.
It doesn't take too long to go around the whole of the attraction, probably around an hour, so it is fairly expensive for the short time that you spend inside, however I would say it is definitely worth it and you can see that the money is being well spent. Gone are the dusty and terrible displays of attractions and museums from when I was a child, and in its place we see beautiful and intricate recreations. You can take photos of the displays and with the larger displays can even have your photo taken with them, which my children were delighted by. In one part there is a display where you can choose a background scene and have your photo taken with Jemima or any of the famous characters. We had ours taken in Mr. McGregors garden with Peter Rabbit and it is a lovely picture. These are obviously extra but only cost a few pounds to buy.
Once you have made your way around the different parts of the attraction, you will find yourself slap bang in the middle of the souvenir shop. This is something we have come to expect with attractions and museums and is an obvious way for them to boost income. Prices are steep; however keep a look out for sale items as we managed to pick up a few collectable ornaments for the children for around £12 each. Still expensive but I would rather pay this than the £24 original RRP. The choice of souvenirs here is vast and there are things to buy everywhere you look with glass cabinets and shelving stacked high. Expect to see books, clothes, ornaments, christening gifts, toiletries, toys and many more things. There are some beautiful personalised children's cards here too but they only had one of my daughters names in stock and you can't buy for one without the other (as any parent will know!).
After the shop you can choose to visit the Tailor of Gloucester Tea Room or the outdoor garden terrace for afternoon tea or a light bite. Prices again are fairly high, but not any more expensive than 99% of the cafes and restaurants in Bowness, and the food is delicious. This is where you will see the Enchanting World of Beatrix Potter sculpture, which was unveiled by Renée Zellweger following the 2006 hit film 'Miss Potter'.
For fans of the Lake District but not necessarily Beatrix Potter, it is worth bearing in mind that the Lakes may be a very different place today if it hadn't been for the love of one lady. She proceeded to buy land and property in the Lakes to save the countryside from developers and after her death she left this large amount of land to the National Trust, meaning that people for generations to come can enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the Lake District. I find this pretty inspirational and shows there was much more to Beatrix Potter than a make believe Rabbit.
While we were there, we noticed that many upcoming events may be worth a visit. Although we won't be going as we have obviously only just been, these upcoming events may be of interest to readers with children:
Great Peter Rabbit Easter Egg Hunt: Thursday 5th April 2012. Starts at 10am
Join in the annual Easter fun with Peter Rabbit and hunt for his special eggs throughout Cumbria. There are 110 eggs to be found to celebrate Peter Rabbit's110th birthday. Each egg is a prize, but there are 10 BIG prizes to be won.
Tea with Peter Rabbit: Sunday 15th April 2012 at 1pm and Sunday 20th May 2012 at 1pm.
Adults £10.00 Children £7.50 (12mths-15yrs) includes a present for each child. Booking Required.
Enjoy lunch with Peter Rabbit. There will be sandwiches, crisps and cakes galore. A guest of honour to read The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Summer: 1st April until 30th September
10.00 - 17.30
Winter: 1st October until 31st March
10.00 - 16.30
(Closed Christmas day & 23rd Jan until 3rd Feb 2012 )
*11.00am - 15.00 - 24th Dec & 31st Dec
*11.00am - 16.00 - 26th Dec & 1st Jan
Senior Citizens £5.75
Family Ticket £18.00
A Freedom Pass allows up to two adults and two children to visit the Attraction as many times as they like within a year, and includes newsletters, special offers, discounts in the shop and tearoom and special membership activities. Price £30.00.
An attraction for all: The attraction is wheelchair accessible although please do bear in mind that to get to the attraction warrants walking down a steep hill. For wheelchair users, there are disabled parking spaces at the bottom of the hill and near the front doors but it would be worth a phone call beforehand to check there are spaces or maybe if they could reserve one for you. It also provides (through headsets) translations in French, Japanese, Dutch and Chinese. Although it wasn't peak season when we visited this time (it was relatively quiet), the last time we visited was in the height of summer and we noticed a lot of overseas tourists were listening through headsets, which I imagine they found most useful.
All in all this is an excellent attraction and one which we will definitely visit again sometime in the future. Children are fascinated by the characters and reconstructions while adults will enjoy some of the history behind an inspirational lady (and the lovely cup of coffee and slice of cake afterwards!).
Summary: 5 stars
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