“ Address: Main Street / Hawkshead / LA22 0NS „
Beatrix potter gallery
This little gallery like Hill Top farm, Beatrix Potter's home was left to the national trust by the lady herself. Beatrix Potter was not only very fond of the Lake district but was also very enthusiastic about nature and conservation and because she felt the NT would look after the properties and benefit from them as well she left both of these properties to the NT.
This gallery was the law office of Beatrix potter's husband and this is the place where they met and fell in love. It is a small very cosy building and when visiting you can view many of Beatrix Potter's original drawings. The displays change from time to time so that the work can be preserved and all viewed in turn.
PRICES AND TIMES OF OPENING
If you pay to visit Hill top then you get a discount here and vice versa. Obviously if you are a NT member then both venues are free to enter.
Adults - £4.80, Child - £2.40 and a family ticket is £12.00
The numbers are restricted because the gallery is so small so if you really want to visit get there early especially in the summer months and get a timed ticket. In the summer this does get very busy so be aware.
The other thing you need to be aware of, which we got caught with last year is that these NT places close over the winter months and we went too late last year. The gallery is open from Feb 11 through till 30th March from 11.00am to 3.30. From 31st March to Nov 11th it is open from 11 am till 5pm but these times are a bit varied as sometimes it opens at 10.30 so check if you want to plan a visit. The shop is open longer and stays open till 30th Dec but again i would check the times and dates as they are a bit complicated.
PARKING AND GETTING THERE
There is no parking for the gallery in the village so you have to park in the Pay and Display car park in the village and then walk into the village so if you have problems walking you might want to check.
There is a bus Stagecoach 505 from Ambleside to Coniston and Cross Lakes Shuttle from Bowness to Hawkshead if you need public transport.
If coming by car then take the B5286 from Ambleside for about 4 miles or alternatively if coming from Coniston which is 5 miles on the B5285.
As I said this is a very small building and the stairs and rooms are not disable friendly at all. There are tricky to get up and down as they are narrow and uneven. No pushchairs are allowed in and in truth it is not really of that much appeal to small children unless they are big Beatrix Potter fans. They will loan you hip carrying seats for small children. They have made things child friendly with having stools for small people to stand on in order to see some exhibits and there is a room with bean bags and books so that children can sit and read in there but I would not think it would appeal to all children.
As you enter the building you are asked if you have been before and as we had not the lady explained about the narrow stairs and the one way system. She also told us that many of the rooms were in dull light in order to preserve the works which are original BP works. Then she pointed us in the direction of the stairs and handed us a Peter rabbit book so that we could see the original works and where they belong in the book. All around the gallery are explanations of the displays and a bit of the story.
This Peter Rabbit exhibition is new for 2012 and features all Beatrix Potter to her nephew and he developed until he earned a place in a book of his own. You can read the original letter where Peter rabbit began which is pretty amazing really.
There is a Braille Guide provided though I do wonder why you would want to visit a gallery of pictures if you need a Braile guide. For those who need it a large print guide can also be borrowed.
Assistance dogs are welcome but no other dogs.
The Gallery is, as I said an old property and the entrance is a narrow and there is a small step too. The ground floor is level and downstairs you will find the exhibition about Beatrix potter and many of her own personal items on display.
There are also lots of items made based on her work such as games, crockery and clothing and so much more.
Sadly the gallery of her work is upstairs and they are narrow and although there are handrails the stairs are not easy for those with mobility issues.
WORTH A VISIT?
Unless you a big fan of Beatrix Potter I would not make a special trip up to the area just to visit this gallery but if you are in the area and have already visited hill Top and like me you grew up with her stories then it is an interesting place to visit. I am glad we were there out of season as the place is tiny with low ceilings and quite pokey so I can imagine if you visit just after a bus load of Japanese tourists arrive you might be unlucky and not get in or be going around the gallery with crowds of people. They do limit numbers but when we visited there were very few in the gallery and yet it still felt a bit claustrophobic as the sun blinds are down so it is gloomy in there and small and with uneven floors and there is quite a lot to read. I almost asked for the larger print version of the guide!
I did find it interesting to see Ms Potter's collection and the things that had been developed from her stories even in her life time. There were old games, the books in the versions I have that were mine as a child, the plates my children had and some even older ones. She was one of the rare people who became well known and loved in her own life time but since the Japanese children learn English through her books her fame has spread world wide.
Her works are so very English and her illustrations really beautiful so you can see why they appeal to people from overseas as there represent old fashioned England. I do admire the fact that she was so in to conservation way back in her time before many had become aware and I bet the NT are very grateful for her legacy as she certainly draws in the visitors to these NT properties.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.