Back in the February half-term when we went to stay up in Yorkshire, we hopped over the county border over to Cumbria for a day and visited The World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere. I’d always wanted to go there when I was a child on family holidays to the Lake District but never had and I knew the girls would love it – win, win!
ABOUT THE WORLD OF BEATRIX POTTER
The World of Beatrix Potter pays homage to the famous books by recreating scenes using fabulous 3D models. So much attention to detail has gone into the models and recreating scenes from the books.
SUITABILITY FOR CHILDREN
The building is on a hill and there are steps up to the main entrance but there is a side entrance which is up a slope and buggy friendly and a lift inside too. You can’t take buggies round the exhibition as there really isn’t room but there is a buggy park. The garden terrace is up and down steps. The cafe has a kids menu and there is baby change facilities too. Children are given a free activity booklet full of puzzles and questions about the exhibits. You get a sticker when you complete the booklet (though they don’t check, I thought we were getting stickers because we were giving back the pencils they gave us to fill out the booklet ha!)
WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?
The attraction is broken down into 7 areas, the first of which is a short (4 minute) introduction film. You need to wait for a timed entry to the film though there are a few things to see in the waiting area including the Peter Rabbit Centenary clock which chimes every 30 minutes and different animals pop out.
You come out of the film into Jemima Puddleduck’s woodland glade, Mr Tod’s underground home in Tommy Brock’s house and the pigs from The Tale of Pigling Bland. This was the first full “set” we saw and were all amazed with the attention to detail! As a group of us had all come out of the film at the same time, we hung back until the crowd had moved on so we could take our time filling in the activity booklet.
We then moved outside to the Peter Rabbit Garden. It was quite a welcome to be outside on the natural light after the “atmospheric” lighting inside. The garden is a terraced area on a couple of different levels up and down steps so better for toddlers who are confidently walking and older.
There were a couple of different areas on the activity booklet to complete in the garden so we did those whilst taking in the famous scenes from Mr McGregor’s garden. I loved seeing Peter’s coat hung up just like in the tale!
Back inside we saw Squirrel Nutkin, visited Mrs Tiggywinkle’s kitchen (you can step into this scene to take a photo) and saw Mr Jeremy Fisher on his lily-pad boat along with some other characters.
After the interactive area (mentioned below) there is another couple of scenes starting with Mr MacGregor’s Greenhouse. There is also an area to have a photo taken before you exit.
TRAIL & INTERACTIVE AREA
Towards the end of the tour there is a “virtual walk” room. You choose which journey to take to see the places that inspired Beatrix Potter, by way of 360-degree computer projection. There is also a short film, The Tale of Mrs Heelis, and a clip of the CBBC Peter Rabbit animation. I guess it’s more from this series than from the original books that toddlers are familiar with Beatrix Potter. It was wonderful to step into this area where the kids could watch and touch buttons etc after keeping their little hands away from the exhibits!
You exit the tour straight into the shop – as per the norm with these things – we did buy a couple of small items as a souvenir.
There’s a small cafe with super friendly staff and we stopped for lunch. The girls had pick and mix kids’ lunch boxes with freshly made sandwiches, I had afternoon tea and Andy had a toastie. The girls were given rabbit ears to colour in and lent crayons too.
The website suggests that 2 hours is long enough to see the attraction and stop for refreshments. This seems about right. I did read one review that said they had seen everything in the attraction in 20 minutes. I suppose you could if you walked straight through it without stopping to look at the scenes! We looped back on ourselves too a couple of times when the girls wanted to go back to something.
Current prices (May 2017) are £7.50 for adults, £3.95 for kids or £21 for a family ticket of 4.
THEMES / SPECIAL DAYS
Keep an eye our for family event days such as Peter Rabbit Tea, throughout the year, which would make the experience more interactive for kids.
Since we were very close to Windermere, we didn’t want to visit the Lake District without seeing a lake! We walked down to the water’s edge which is about a 10 minute walk away through the town of Bowness. You can take boat trips around the lake from here with various stopping points. We opted just for a short walk around the edge as it was getting towards the end of the afternoon.
The World of Beatrix Potter is a charming, small attraction for Beatrix Potter fans of any age. Furthermore, the attention to detail that has gone into making the models and re-creating scenes from the books is incredible. We would recommend picking up the Activity Booklet for children 5+. Only a small part of the tour is interactive. Consequently, that may frustrate very little ones who want to touch everything (and their parents!).
The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction, Lake District National Park, Crag Brow, Bowness-on-Windermere LA23 3BX