If you’re a fan of Beatrix Potter you have probably heard of Hill Top Farm. This enchanting place, located near Sawry in Cumbria, served as a part-time home to Ms. Potter, and provided inspiration for her many books. Beatrix purchased Hill Top Farm in 1903, using the profits from her books to but her very first home in the Lake District. Beatrix’s love of Cumbria stemmed from the many holidays taken there when she was a child.
Source of the image: beatrixpottergiftsbyenesco.co.uk
Although she spent much of her time in the city (Beatrix lived in London and stayed with her parents until she wed), her heart belonged to the countryside, and she enjoyed immersing herself in nature. For a few months each year Beatrix would leave the big smoke and head to the serenity and relative calm of Hill Top Farm. The fresh air and greenery obviously did wonders for Beatrix, providing the creative impetus required to write the many wonderful books in her collection. Hill Top Farm features heavily in many of her stories and many of her much-loved characters (including Samuel Whiskers and Tom Kitten) have spent time at or lived on the farm.
When the pull of the Lakes became too much Beatrix decided to leave London and move there permanently. In 1909 she wisely invested in somewhere with a little more space and purchased the roomy Castle Farm. Despite liking the larger property Beatrix couldn’t bring herself to sell her first home in Cumbria, and she made the decision to keep Hill Top Farm too.
Enchanted by the beauty of the Lake District Beatrix didn’t stop there, she went on to buy more farms (she ended up with 14 in total)! The farms provided around 4000 acres of land, ample space for the Herdwick sheep Beatrix chose to keep. Beatrix was very proud of her flock, and even won awards at agricultural shows for her fine-looking sheep! Herdwick sheep were under threat at the time and Beatrix made it her personal mission to help preserve the breed – she even became the President of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders Association in 1943.
When she sadly passed away in 1943, Beatrix bequeathed Hill Top Farm to the National Trust, and the decision was made to preserve it, keeping the farm just as she left it – complete with furnishings and ornaments. The cottage, its contents and the well-manicured gardens and carefully maintained and enjoyed by an endless number of visitors (although the National Trust are keen to ensure that no damage is done to the property and grounds by limiting visitor numbers). Suffice to say if you do want to pay a visit you should think about going during the week, rather than at weekends, and don’t forget to steer clear of holiday season.
Visitors to Hill Top Farm can expect to see antique furniture and fine paintings dating back many years. However, Beatrix was an avid collector and her home is also filled with curiosities and treasures from across the globe. The National Trust regularly rotate the objects on show (there are too many to display at once)! You will find original artwork, photographs, items of furniture and personal items belonging to the much-loved author, and you can really get a sense of the person behind the colourful characters she created. Hill Top Farm gives you an insight into the mind of this creative genius, and you wonder if Beatrix herself had any notion of how popular her tales would become.
Frederick Warne & Co published the very first Beatrix Potter book back in 1901, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and the world soon became enchanted by Peter Rabbit and his beloved family and friends. Beatrix would surely be over the moon to know that the creatures she created many years ago are still going strong and loved by generation after generation. You can join in with this love affair too, invest in the Beatrix Potter tales (you are never too old for these charming stories) or start your own collection (Beatrix understood the value of collecting beautiful items she could look upon and derive pleasure from), we could learn a thing or two from her! The Beatrix Potter Collection is made up of fanciful figurines depicting the popular characters from the series. You will also find a range of fine gifts available that would be perfect for family or friends, or why not treat yourself? Take a look for yourself, we’re sure you’ll like what you see!