On Monday we finally got the opportunity to visit Hill Top, former home of Beatrix Potter and inspiration for many of her books. I had originally wanted to visit earlier in the year as it had been one of the school's topics for the spring term, but better late than never, and although we couldn't go into the house itself, we might at least be able to enjoy the garden while it was lovely and quiet.
We parked up on Windermere's west shore and enjoyed a simple picnic lunch before walking up a short track to Claife Viewing Station, which suddenly appeared through the trees and offered beautiful views across the lake. The courtyard café had recently re-opened, so it was here I was able to enjoy my first proper coffee since the beginning of lockdown, and it tasted oh-so-good.
From there we followed the signposts for Hill Top, which took us uphill along tracks, and lanes to reach Near Sawrey. At one point we thought we might have been going the wrong way, as the signpost pointed away from the main road, but the route turned back on itself and took an unexpected turn through the field and alongside a lovely little stream where we sat for a while on a bench.
I had booked our visit the previous week, so we had an allotted time slot and on reaching Hill Top we were welcomed by a friendly guide and given a brief run down of the distancing measures. The garden was one way only but we could go round several times if we liked. This little white gate, which is the entrance to the garden, can be found in The Tale of Tom Kitten book.
This pretty little pathway leads up to the front door of the farmhouse. This also features in The Tale of Tom Kitten and in The Tale of Pigling Bland.
To the other side of the fence is another pathway, then behind that is a small orchard.
It was so quiet. I imagine we would not usually have the garden to ourselves, so it felt rather special.
In the walled vegetable garden we searched behind the flower pots but still couldn't find Peter Rabbit.
I would like to go back again when we can have a look around the house but for now I am more than happy to have been able to wander around the garden.