Today is the 153rd anniversary of the most special birth of Beatrix Potter. She means so much to me and to the world. I thought I would post my thoughts about my very first visit to Hilltop Farm.
Today is a day I have dreamed about. If I admit it, if I were only able to visit one place in England, it would be Hilltop. Visiting Hilltop, one of the homes of Beatrix Potter, has been dream of mine for a long time. I've loved her charming books forever. Her beautiful artwork is truly a gift from God. Sometimes when a dream is about to be realized one can be afraid that the real thing will be disappointing. Believe me--I was not disappointed!
Our apartment is only 27 miles from Hilltop! This is the main reason we chose to stay in this location.... But it took us 1 1/2 hours to get there. The M5 and A roads were just fine, but then we took a B road that was curvy, narrow and quite scary.
See the stone wall on the left--that's where I was sitting in our car, trying not to say too much to Grayden as he carefully drove us along curves and hills and more stone walls.
Along the way carpets of bluebells made the drive beautiful and more enjoyable. It was a drizzly, rainy, moody day. Anticipation of what was to come made it all very mystical and magical.
After driving at very slow speeds we finally made it to Near Sawrey--the town where Beatrix Potter bought her beloved Hilltop!
Beatrix Potter bought Hilltop in 1905 as a retreat away from London. She purchased Hilltop with money from her first book-- The Tale of Peter Rabbit. She loved the area around Hilltop and it's not hard to see why! It served as inspiration for her books that followed.
Upon arriving at the car park for Hilltop, rain was falling. We were early (on purpose) to be able to get our tickets. Hilltop is very popular and has a timed ticket schedule. We were early enough to pick up our tickets for the first opening at 10:00am. A few cars began to fill the car park. Everyone wants to come to Hilltop!
It was time to make our way up to Hilltop. We followed a hill up a narrow pathway made of large rocks that was lined with flowers.
We're almost there! I can't believe it!
There she is!!
The nice National Trust docent invited us in! Oh my, yes I'll park my brolly at the door and yes you can wipe the rain off my jacket. We don't want to harm anything in Beatrix Potter's home.
We made our way inside to a sitting room on the left. It was cozy with a roaring fire to warm us. There were low beams and the ceiling was covered in wallpaper. I'm quite emotional at this point as I can't believe I'm standing where Beatrix Potter once stood. Everywhere there is charm. To the right is another room that is filled with lovely china that Beatrix collected. She was from a wealthy family and attended many antique shows with her mother. It was pointed out that she and her mother didn't have much in common but they both loved to go to antique sales together.
Toward the back of the sitting room was the scullery where Beatrix prepared meals. To the left of the scullery were stairs we climbed to see four rooms. One was a room of her collections with a lovely dollhouse. Another sitting room with a piano and beautiful photos of her and her family. Her bedroom with her lovely tester bed and bed coverings and memorabilia all about. She added an addition so she could have proper light for her art studio. She never wanted electricity in her home. This room was filled with her brother's artwork. Bertram was an accomplished artist as well as their father. There were very large paintings that lined the walls. Sadly no photos are allowed inside, but you can go here to see her bedroom.
I can't begin to describe how I felt in her home! Her love of nature was everywhere. Beatrix Potter, I felt your spirit in your beloved Hilltop. I'll never forget it!!
As we left her home I turned around and gazed upon this special place. We wandered about the property.
Upon leaving the gate we spotted Castle Cottage, the home that Beatrix and William Heelis shared after their marriage. It's the white house on the right.
When we planned this day before leaving home, I told Grayden I wanted to stay all day in Near Sawrey. I did not want to short cut this visit. So next to Hilltop was The Sawrey House Tearoom that we had to go visit. We read on their menu that Beatrix Potter would often come and have afternoon tea here.
The vistas from this property were lovely! These photos were taken from the inside the Sawrey House Tearoom.
After having a lovely soup for lunch it was time to take another look around Near Sawrey. It's so charming and quaint in this area. What a wonderful place to live! I hope it never changes. Beatrix Potter was a big proponent of the National Trust and gave over 4.000 acres of land, 16 farms and cottages, cattle and Herdwick sheep for future generations to enjoy. Her gifts were the largest the National Trust had received and enabled them to create the Lake District National Park. Thank you, Beatrix Potter!
Beatrix Potter, you have left a imprint on my heart that will always be with me. Thank you for saving this beautiful place and more to be enjoyed by generations and generations to follow.
|from left to right--Beatrix Potter, Beatrix Potter with bunny, Beatrix and brother Bertram, Beatrix and William Heelis, Norman Warne(Beatrix Potter's editor and fiance')