Hill Top Farm is top of the list for a Beatrix Potter tour of the Lake District. Although the lady herself never lived here, she filled the home with personal effects and mementoes. The National Trust now lovingly manages the house and gardens for visitors. It is one of the smaller National Trust sites, you can easily see everything in under 2 hours. It is definitely well worth checking out if you are a fan of the 23 stories.
The National Trust usually aim to make their properties family-friendly, and Hill Top Farm is no exception. Activities in both the garden and the house keep the kids entertained.
Did Beatrix Potter live at Hill Top Farm?
No. According to the National Trust, who now owns the property, she bought Hill Top as her own and filled it with personal possessions. She actually lived in nearby Castle Cottage with her husband.
Hill Top Farm is in the small village of Sawrey in the Lake District. The village is located between Windermere and Esthwaite Water.
Yes, Hill Top Farm is free to National Trust members. There is a cost for non-members.
You can visit Hill Top Farm which belonged to Beatrix Potter. It is now owned by the National Trust.
Parking and Entrance to Hill Top
Hill Top Farm is in the small village of Sawrey and, similar to many hamlets tucked away in the Lake District, there is almost no parking. There is no parking outside the farm itself. Instead, the National Trust maintains a small car park at the other end of the village. We visited on a rainy day in September, and we were lucky to get a space. I recommend checking opening times and arriving as early as possible. Alternatively, several tours include Hill Top Farm.
The entrance hut to the house is located in the car park. When you check-in, you are given a specific entry time for the house. This is because the house is small and can quickly become overcrowded with visitors. It shouldn’t be a problem for you, even in the rain, it was still fun to explore the gardens first.
Hill Top’s Gardens
There is no doubt that Beatrix Potter enjoyed her gardens at Hill Top Farm. They are not the extensive grounds usually found at famous National Trust houses. Instead, they retain the cosy feel of a well-loved garden. It is easy to imagine rabbits hopping through the vegetable patch or hedgehogs snuffling in the orchard. This place feels like somewhere that was once a great source of inspiration.
Children will take pleasure in running around, discovering secret doors and looking out for Mrs Tiggywinkle tucked away in the undergrowth. The hedgehogs are hidden throughout the garden with little facts to learn.
A pop-up cafe and gift shop can also be found in the gardens.
Hill Top Farmhouse
The farmhouse itself is homey, as it would have been during Beatrix Potter’s life. Cupboards contain her collections and items reflect her way of life. A fire burns in the parlour, which was very welcome.
For children, there is a Sammy Whiskers trail in the house. If they manage to find all the mice hiding in the displays, then they receive a sticker from a volunteer. Some of Beatrix Potter’s stories are around the house for visitors to read. Ted was particularly keen on looking through some of these.
Real Life Family Travel Moment
The National Trust are very trusting of their young visitors. For my day job, I work at a visitor attraction and at the end of every day, we have to spend time fixing up games and toys that have been mistreated. The National Trust doesn’t seem to suffer from this, hedgehogs, mice and books are left around for kids to discover. Until my children come along. Then antique chairs are crawled under so mice are poked and prodded and all stories must be read from cover to cover.
Sawrey village is typical of the Lake District. Quaint old houses are as Beatrix Potter would have seen them. The Buckle Yeat Guest House in the above picture was one source of inspiration and illustrations of it can be spotted in ‘Tale of Tom Kitten’ and ‘The Pie and the Patty Pan’. You can stay in this inspirational cottage, check it out on booking.com.
Hill Top is well worth taking the time to look around on a visit to the Lake District, with or without children. Beatrix Potter’s stories remain timeless, and a walk around her farm brings them to life more than ever.
Thinking of Becoming a National Trust Member
If you are planning a visit to the Lake District you should definitely consider becoming a member of the National Trust. The trust owns 23 properties and 30 car parks in the Lake District which means you can easily get your money’s worth on a short trip!