One of the main attractions that inspired me to book a holiday in the Lake District was The World of Beatrix Potter. My children love Beatrix Potter’s work, both through the more recent BBC show “Peter Rabbit” and the original books. It also has a lot of nostalgia value for myself and Mr Mess, so I thought it would make the perfect family day out.We didn’t need to be at The World of Beatrix Potter until around 2pm, so we set off on the drive to Bowness-on-Windermere just after lunch. The journey only took about 30 mins, but I had not anticipated how busy Bowness would be when we got there. It took us almost as long again to find a parking space. I was starting to get a little worried that we wouldn’t be able to park and I’d have wasted all the money I’d already spent on the tickets.
Luckily for us, Mr M kept a cool head and we eventually found a space that was only a 10 minute walk from:
The World of Beatrix Potter
Once we’d finally made it to the attraction, we collected our tickets which I had already pre-booked online. I had decided to book the Afternoon Tea package, which included an afternoon tea (obviously), entrance to the attraction and tickets to watch the original musical “Where is Peter Rabbit?” The whole lot came to £80 for a family of four, but considering what was included I didn’t think it was that bad.Although our afternoon tea and show weren’t booked in until later in the day, I had deliberately planned to arrive early to allow us about an hour to have a good look around the attraction and the gift shop. We had a leisurely walk through the displays (well, as leisurely as the kids would allow)
The displays were beautifully presented, all perfectly showcasing the stories that we all know and love. You saw Jemima Puddleduck, Mr Tod, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle (my personal favourite) and of course, Peter Rabbit and his family, not to mention many, many more.As well as the indoor section, you could also head outside and have a look around the stunning Peter Rabbit Garden, which won a Gold medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014. I think this might actually have been one of my favourite parts of the attraction. There was so much to see and it really did feel like walking into the world of Beatrix Potter.
Afternoon Tea with Peter Rabbit
After our tour of the exhibition and after quickly dragging the children from the pricey gift shop, it was time to go for our afternoon tea. We crossed the street to The Old laundry Tea Room where we were booked in at 3.30pm. The doors opened a little early, about 3.15-pm, so we weren’t left standing around and we were led into one of the most beautiful rooms I’ve ever seen.The room was decorated in a deep blue and the ceiling was covered in gold stars with impressive, glistening chandeliers. The tables were laid out for the tea, with pots of jam and cream, sausage rolls nd the most beautiful, delicate Peter Rabbit crockery.A waitress came to our table and took orders for tea, coffee and drinks for the girls. Then our tea was brought out. On the bottom layer were a selection of sandwiches with a variety of fillings including tuna, cheese and ham. The middle layer held one of the most generous offerings of cake I have ever seen. there was lemon cake, carrot cake, chocolate cake and a cherry almond concoction. There was A LOT of cake and there was no way we could have eaten it all. Luckily, we were given a box to take home the leftovers.Finally, on the top layer were beautifully baked scones – utterly perfect. Everything on the tea platter was absolutely delicious and I would definitely rank this as one of the best afternoon teas I’ve ever been to (and I’ve tried a few in my time)
After we’d eaten as much as our tummies could take, we were joined by a very special visitor – Peter Rabbit himself! I thought the meet and greet was incredibly well organised, with each table being taken up to meet Peter individually. The children had the opportunity to have a hug and a high five with Peter (and of course a photo)
“Where is Peter Rabbit?” – The Musical
Our final stop of the day was back over the road at The Old Laundry theatre, where we had booked tickets to watch “Where is Peter Rabbit” The Musical! If I’m being honest I really didn’t have the highest expectations for the show. I had thought it would probably be something like a show at a theme park. People in costumes dancing and miming along to a backing track. A bit of fun for the kids but nothing to really write home about.
We were all in for a very, very nice surprise. “Where is Peter Rabbit” was by far one of the most charming, beautifully constructed shows I’ve seen in along time. With music by Steve Edis and lyrics by Alan Ayckbourn, the show seamlessly combines a number of Beatrix Potters’ best-loved stories.
The show is performed by a group of highly talented artists who each take on a selection of role and who dance and sing LIVE!! No miming here! Although I loved the whole cast, I think my MVPs of the production would have to be Becky Black and Victoria Sye as Beatrix Potter and Jemima Puddleduck respectively. Both ladies really helped gel the production together and were infinitely watchable while on stage.
The design of the puppets for the storybook characters was outstanding. Each one moved in its own unique way and really helped to bring the story to life. The Lucie puppet was almost eerily realistic, but I think my favourite might have been Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.
As a family we loved the original music so much that we decided to buy the soundtrack so that we could take it away with us. (P.S we’d have happily ordered a DVD too, so if the production company wanted to make one of those too that would be marvellous!) The music somehow manages to perfectly capture the tone of the Lake District and Beatrix Potter’s stories. We listened to the CD constantly during the remainder of our holiday and I know whenever I hear the music from now on I will be instantly transported back here again.
I actually found the entire show incredibly charming and quite moving. I found myself with a little lump in my throat by the end. It really was the perfect tribute to Beatrix Potter and a testimony to her love of her work and her home.
It wasn’t just the adults who loved “Where is Peter Rabbit?” Both Miss Mess and Mini Mess were completely mesmerised throughout. After the show Mini Mess looked very gloomy. “Did you like the show?” I asked. “No,” she replied, “It ended.”
I think that’s just about the best review you can get.
All in all, we had an absolutely wonderful day at The World of Beatrix Potter and I absolutely felt we got great value for money. If you are planning on visiting I would advise you checking out what other events are on offer. The exhibition itself is sweet, but it was the afternoon tea and theatre show that really turned our experience into something special.
I’m sure it will be one we’ll remember for a long time to come.