We had planned to explore the Lake District on our way back from Minimoon (more about that to come soon I promise) but a week of rainy skies and gale force winds meant we were less than enthusiastic to face the elements. Instead we decided to treat ourselves to a trip down memory lane with a visit to the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction in Bowness-on-Windermere.
I have very fond memories of reading the Beatrix Potter Books as a child and I love that the cute little books full of beautiful illustrations that I remember from my childhood are still exactly the same today. I know that if we have kids of our own that I'll be sharing the stories of Jemima Puddle Duck and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle with them and I really hope that they will be as obsessed as I was with the tales.
This year marks 150 years since the birth of Beatrix Potter and the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction are hosting various events to celebrate including productions in the Old Laundry Theatre and Peter Rabbit Tea Parties. So our visit couldn't have been better timed.
Our adventure began with a short film giving us an insight into Beatrix Potter and how she first created her beautiful world. I had no idea that her stories had begun in letters that she'd written to the son of her former governess and that Peter Rabbit was based on her much loved pet rabbit. Hearing about her passion for plants, animals, drawing and writing made me fall in love with her world that little bit more.
As the doors opened into the main attraction I was thrilled to step foot into Jemima Puddle Duck's Woodland Glade. With beautiful life like models of all the characters surrounding us it was like diving in to the pages of my favourite books.
It was at this point that I realised that my husband had never picked up a Beatrix Potter book! After getting over my initial shock I spent most of our trip trying to tell him all of the stories but soon realised I could only remember a few parts from my favourites. I think I might need to pick the books up and give them another read!
My favourite part of the attraction was when we suddenly found ourselves outdoors in a very real Peter Rabbit Garden. Beautifully landscaped with vibrant flowers and plenty of vegetables I spent ages reading about all of the different plants featured in Beatrix Potter's tales.
I let out a bit of a squeal when I spotted Peter Rabbit's coat and shoes hanging up in Mr McGregors Garden and immediately remembered the part of the story when Peter's cousin Benjamin Bunny goes on a great adventure to recover Peter's coat.
The garden was designed by Chelsea RHS gold medal winner Richard Lucas who created a number of different scenes from the books and spent a lot of time researching Beatrix Potter's stories, writings and illustrations to source the different fruit, vegetables and flowers to include in his designs.
Back inside and we were off to Mrs Tiggy-Winkle's laundry where the smell of freshly laundered clothes hit our noses. The family in front of us took loads of selfies with her and it was great seeing how delighted their kids were at meeting the furry stars.
Simon is a huge fan of red squirrels so was very eager to snatch my camera off me as soon as we found ourselves in the middle of Squirrel Nutkin's adventures. With so many cheeky red squirrels to spot he was in his element.
I'm sure most Beatrix Potter fans will agree that it's Peter Rabbit that holds a truly special place in our hearts so I loved creeping through Mr McGregor's greenhouse and then into the world of Peter Rabbit. So many scenes from drawings in the book came to life and it made me want to head back home to Norfolk to see if my Mum still has all of my old books.
The experience ended with a virtual walk through the Cumbrian countryside where we discovered more about Beatrix Potter's love affair with the Lake District and the inspiration behind her stories. It left me wanting more and I'm now very eager to explore more of her world next time we're in the Lakes. The National Trust now own many of her properties and I'd love to adventure to her home of Hill Top (the perfect excuse to finally invest in National Trust membership I think!)
The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction costs £7.20 for adults and £3.70 for children or if you're watching your pennies like us you can also use Tesco Day Out Tokens.