Celebrating Beatrix Potter: 150th Anniversary of a Lake District Icon

Beatrix Potter outside her Hill Top Farm home, Near Sawrey (photo National Trust)

The Lake District has inspired generations to protect and cherish its natural beauty, including one of its most famous residents, Beatrix Potter. Throughout 2016 the National Trust has been celebrating the 150th anniversary year of Beatrix Potter’s life, her contribution to the Lake District and the ongoing commitment to care for, manage and conserve the landscapes of the Lakes.

KEY BEATRIX POTTER EXHIBITIONS IN 2016

// Realism and Romance: Beatrix Potter, a life inspired by nature, 25 March – 30 October

Beatrix Potter Gallery, Hawkshead, 11am – 4.30pm

Beatrix Potter Gallery, Hawkshead (photo National Trust)
Beatrix Potter Gallery, Hawkshead (photo National Trust)

Discover an exhibition of Beatrix’s original watercolours and illustrations which explore the inspiration she found in the natural world. From an early age, Beatrix made intricate studies of wild animals, the cycle of the seasons and the woodland environments of her beloved mushrooms.

// Beatrix Potter and a Love of the Northern Lakes, 16 July – 30 October

Wordsworth House and Garden, Cockermouth, daily except Friday, 11am – 4pm

Wordsworth House, Cockermouth, National Trust
Wordsworth House and Gardens, Cockermouth, National Trust

Beatrix Potter had a lifelong love affair with the Lake District and the wild beauty of the northern lakes, in particular, had a profound influence on her work. Discover how Squirrel Nutkin, Benjamin Bunny and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle all owe their existence to this inspiring landscape – and how her legacy ensured it remains a place of creativity and respite today. Free with entry to house and garden.

WOMEN’S WORK

Women’s Work by Freya Pocklington exhibition is at Acorn Bank and Hill Top in Cumbria from September
Women’s Work by Freya Pocklington exhibition is at Acorn Bank and Hill Top in Cumbria from September

Women’s Work is an exhibition this autumn by Freya Pocklington, showcasing artworks of several modern day Beatrix Potters, to celebrate 150 years since her birth.

Women’s Work showcases Cumbria’s modern day Beatrix Potters

South Lakes born, London based artist Freya Pocklington has been commissioned by the National Trust, as part of its Trust New Art programme, to produce Women’s Work. The artworks will be exhibited at two of the National Trust’s properties in Cumbria – Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s farmhouse, until 20 October and Acorn Bank, until 27 November.

// Women’s Work at Acorn Bank, Temple Sowerby, Cumbria, 2 September – 27 November 2016

The drawings were developed by Freya earlier this year as part of the Dorothy Una Ratcliffe Fellowship, an ongoing programme of work by contemporary artists taking place at Acorn Bank, encouraging them to develop new work inspired by the Cumbrian landscape. Visitors will now be able to see eight large drawings in situ at Acorn Bank.

Find out more here

YEAR-ROUND BEATRIX POTTER EVENTS

// Beyond Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter’s Inspiration

Allan Bank, Grasmere – February half-term until Christmas

Allan Bank, Ambleside (photo by John Malley)
Allan Bank, Ambleside (photo by John Malley)

Throughout the year Allan Bank will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter’s birth by looking beyond her work as a children’s author and exploring the inspiration she took from her enduring friendship with Canon Rawnsley. Potter was impressed and inspired by Rawnsley when she was a young woman. He inspired and encouraged her not only in her creative pursuits but also in her endeavours to conserve the countryside and farming heritage in the Lake District.

Did you know that if it wasn’t for Canon Rawnsley, you may never have heard of Peter Rabbit!

// Hill Top Celebrates 70 years of Visitors

Hill Top, Near Sawrey

On the 7 July the National Trust team at Hill Top celebrated seventy years of being open to the public. The day had a vintage theme, going back to the 1940’s, with staff in period costume and activities planned throughout the day.

Hill Top farmhouse near Hawkshead, home of Beatrix Potter, National Trust
Hill Top farmhouse near Hawkshead, home of Beatrix Potter, National Trust

Beatrix Potter had always planned that the house would be open and her belongings kept in situ. She wrote in her will:

That the rooms and the furnishings used by me at Hill Top farmhouse may be kept in their present condition and not let to a tenant and it is my wish that any other objects of interest belonging to me in any other of my cottages and farmhouses may be preserved therein.

When the house opened in 1946 the entrance fee was one shilling. Mrs Susan Ludbrook was the first custodian and only member of staff. It immediately became a popular destination and had over 1,000 visitors in the first seven weeks. Hill Top is still one of Cumbria’s most popular visitor attractions today, welcoming around 100,000 visitors each year, from all over the world.

Hill Top – Beatrix Potter’s 17th Century farmhouse – is open daily from 10am

The garden at Hill Top, home of Beatrix Potter
The garden at Hill Top, home of Beatrix Potter

SPECIAL EVENTS

// Bug Hunters and Explorers

Wordsworth House and Garden, Cockermouth, Sundays until 30 October, drop in 11am – 4pm

Go wild like Beatrix and William, hunting for bugs in the garden, or delve into the nooks and crannies of this intriguing house with the help of a family explorer bag.

BEATRIX POTTER & THE LAKE DISTRICT

// 150 Fab Facts Celebrating the Life & Legacy of Beatrix Potter

To mark the 150th anniversary year of this Lake District icon, who was born on 28 July 1866, here are 150 fabulous facts celebrating the life, literature and legacy of author, artist and agriculturalist Beatrix Potter.

Hill Top - home of Beatrix Potter
Hill Top – home of Beatrix Potter

// The Lakeland Legacy of Beatrix Potter

To enjoy these Lakes cultural events and much more, book your break in the Lake District here