History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
For the first few years of her ownership, Potter spent most of her time in London, where she lived with her parents. But her heart was in the Lake District, and she spent a deal of time expanding the house and caring for the farm and garden. In 1909 she purchased the adjacent Castle Farm. In this and other purchases she was adised by a local solicitor, Mr William Heelis. In 1913 she and Heelis were married in London, and immediately moved into a new house together - but not at Hill Top. Rather, the newly married couple chose Castle Cottage as their home. Beatrix used Hill Top as a writing studio and a place to entertain visitors.
The house is located behind the Tower Bank Arms inn on the road from Hawkshead to the Windermere Ferry. There are volunteer stewards in most of the rooms, who can answer questions about the author, and the house. There are quite a few pieces of art hung about the house, but only a very few original drawings made by Potter for her books. If you want to see original illustrations, the best place to view them is at the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead, also owned by the National Trust.
There are three rooms available to view on the ground floor. Of these, the largest by far is the Entrance Hall. Among the many personal objects in the hall are Potter's hat and clogs.
Readers will recognize the staircase and ballusters, which appeared frequently in a number of Potter's books. Upstairs is a comfortable sitting room, Beatrix Potter's bedroom, the 'New Room' where she did much of her writing, and the Treasure Room, used to display Potter's collection of china, jewellry, prints, and doll house.
The house is quite small, and should take no more than 15-20 minutes to visit, even for the most dedicated Potter fan. Hilltop is surrounded by a lovely little garden, laid out by the authoress herself. The garden is planted with species mentioned by Potter in her letters, interspersed with vegetables to create a cottage garden in the traditional style that Potter loved.
There is a small parking lot and ticket office 200 yards from the house. To get from the ticket offfice to the house you have to walk along the road to the garden entrance, then back along the garden to the front of the house. Hilltop is an immensely popular attraction, and there are often long lineups for tickets. To make absolutely certain you avoid delay gaining entry, it is advisable to arrive for tickets before the official house opening time, or late in the afternoon, closer to closing.
Spare sometime to take a wander around the village of Near Sawrey, as well, or pause for refreshment in the inn, which featured in several of Potter's books.
The house is very small and is often crowded, particularly in the busy summer months. A timed entry system is in effect, and to guarantee entry you will have to pre-book. Visitors are especially advised to avoid visiting on school holidays!
About Hill Top
Address: Sawrey, Hawkshead, Cumbria, England, LA22 0LF
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: 2 m south of Hawkshead. NOTE: Hill Top is very small. A timed entry system is in effect. Maximize your chances of getting in by avoiding peak times, especially mornings during school holidays. Your best bet is arrive at least 15 minutes or more prior to opening time.
Website: Hill Top
Phone: 01539 436269
National Trust - see also: National Trust memberships (official website link)
OS: SD371 957
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.
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17th century (Time Period) -
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
Hawkshead Grammar School - 1.9 miles (Historic Building)
Beatrix Potter Gallery - 1.9 miles (Museum)
Blackwell, the Arts and Crafts House - 2 miles (Historic Building)
Grizedale Forest Park - 2.3 miles (Countryside)
Hawkshead Old Courthouse - 2.4 miles (Historic Building)
Graythwaite Hall Garden - 2.7 miles (Garden)
Wray Castle - 3.3 miles (Historic House)
Brockhole Gardens - 3.4 miles (Garden)
Nearest Accommodation to Hill Top: