During our stay at Feather Down Farms’ Howbeck Lodge Farm, we were invited to visit the World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness on Windermere. It was about an hour’s drive away, along twisty roads that were a little tricky to negotiate due to the heavy rain. We’d decided that the extent of the rain was a little too much for us city dwelling folk (in our defence, on our return to the farm we were told that the rainfall was indeed severe, so much so that the local fire brigade had been required to pump out some of the local houses!) so a day at this popular attraction seemed like the best option!
When we arrived at the World of Beatrix Potter, I was surprised at how small it was. The building itself is located high up, meaning the pushchair and I had a slope to climb! Once inside though, it was warm and dry and the children were immediately captivated. It was also a lot bigger inside too!
The Big One has always loved Peter Rabbit stories and she in particular had a look of enchantment as we entered. She was eager for the tour to begin as quickly as possible! She did manage to pose for a picture on one of the oversized cotton reels first though.
These cotton reels are just one example of the close attention to detail that you find throughout the attraction. There are so many little reminders of the books that I, having not read much Beatrix Potter for a good few years, was instantly transported back to my childhood.
Before the tour begins, you are invited to watch a short (aprox 5 minutes) film about Beatrix Potter. I loved this. I never knew that the Peter Rabbit and consequent stories started off as letters to a young friend, and I found it fascinating to learn how a shy young woman from London managed to become a world wide household name.
Once the film had finished it was on to the tour, the main attraction. We were able to walk around this at our own pace, and were taken through beautiful scenes from each of Beatrix Potter’s books. The model animals and tiny rooms were lovely! Everything was at child level so even the baby could toddle around and see all the displays with ease, although she did find some a little too tempting and kept trying to climb in with the animals! She especially liked Mrs Tigglewinkle’s laundry room!
The tour is very interactive. Dotted around are little screens with stories and activities for children to read as they go around. We were also given an activity sheet to complete. I was pleased to note that the screens were low enough for even the baby to look at, which is lovely as many places do no cater for the really short!
I was also pleased to see a range of different technologies being used, including a 3D ‘walkaround’ showing you some of Potter’s favourite places in the Lake District and a giant table top touch screen device that lots of children could access at once. These were all very popular features of the attraction.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t get outside to see Mr Mcgregor’s garden as the rain was just too heavy. This was a real shame as this was one part that I was really looking forward to seeing- regular readers will know that the preschooler and I have been doing lots of gardening and I had been telling him about naughty Peter Rabbit stealing the carrots. Luckily there was enough to keep the kids occupied inside, but if we do go back one day I will choose better weather so that we don’t miss the garden again!
The tour ended with a photo opportunity in Mr McGregor’s potting shed. This is a lovely way to remember the day- children (and adults!) get to sit amongst the potting shed paraphanelia and have their picture taken, which can then be printed onto keyrings etc. You are taken from there, of course, into the shop.
The shop had absolutely everything you can imagine, with a Beatrix Potter twist and a price to match. We really struggled to find something that we were happy to pay for and in the end we paid over the odds for small gifts. This was the only real drawback to the day, but it is not unusual as we have found most gift shops to be expensive.
All in all, we really enjoyed our visit to the World of Beatrix Potter and it is certainly somewhere we would visit again. As previously mentioned, I would like to see Mr. McGregor’s garden and Ghostwriterdaddy wants to try the tea room!
We were given free entry into the World of Beatrix Potter in exchange for a fair review. All opinions are my own!