Hill Top :
Beatrix Potter bought Hill Top in 1905 with the royalties from her first few books, written at her parents home in London, but inspired by her annual holiday visits to the Lake District. She visited as often as she could, but never for more than a few days at a time, sketching the house, garden, countryside and animals for her new books.
After she bought the house, she busied herself writing more books, and visiting her farm. In 1909 she bought another farm opposite Hill Top, Castle Farm, which became her main Lakeland base.
Beatrix wrote many of her famous children’s stories in this little 17th century stone house. Characters such as Tom Kitten, Samuel Whiskers and Jemima Puddleduck were all created here, and the books contain many pictures based on the house and garden.
Beatrix bought many pieces of land and property in and around Sawrey, including the Old Post Office, Castle Cottage and a number of small farms. In 1913, aged 47, she married William Heelis in London and moved to Lakeland, living at Castle Cottage which was bigger and more convenient than Hill Top.
There is a good example of traditional cottage garden, containing mainly old-fashioned flowers such as honeysuckle, foxgloves, sweet cicely, lupins, peonies, lavender and philadelphus. Roses grow ground the front door. Fruit still plays an important role in the garden – strawberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries and rhubarb
When she died in 1943, she left Hill Top to the National Trust with the proviso that it be kept exactly as she left it, complete with her furniture and china.
Bar lunches and evening meals can be obtained from the Tower Bank Arms (NT owned) next door, during licensing hours. The Tower Bank Arms may be seen in ‘The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck’.
Hill Top is still as it was then, and is now the most visited literary shrine in the Lake District. See the official page for opening times.
Hill Top house is closed on Fridays for cleaning and conservation work.
Parking is free at the National Trust car park about 100 yards north of the Tower Bank Arms. A timed ticket entry operates for the house. Please come early to avoid disappointment.
After Sunday 2 November 2014 the house will be closed for winter cleaning. The garden and shop will be open but please check the website for details. Hill Top re-opens again Saturday 14 February 2015.
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