Travel review: The Lake District and The World of Beatrix Potter

The rear of the The Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa at night
The rear of the The Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa at night
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As we stood watching the bunny clock hop, skip and jump its way round to strike the hour – we travelled back over a 100 years to when Beatrix Potter’s first gem was revealed to the world.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit was one of my all time favourite bedtime stories and now my animal mad daughter Flora (6) just loves it too (and so secretly does her big brother Ruaridh, 9!)

Meet Peter Rabbit at The World of Beatrix Potter

Meet Peter Rabbit at The World of Beatrix Potter

So where better to head during a trip to The Lake District, than The World of Beatrix Potter which is currently celebrating the 150th anniversary of Potter’s birth.

The museum is in the lovely town of Windermere., where we had based ourselves for the weekend at the lovely Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa.

Bang, slap in the heart of the town, its an ideal base as you can leave the hotel staff to park your car and then potter around or take a boat from the private jetty and explore the lake.

The hotel has that traditional country house charm about it, but with all the mod cons thrown in too. With 106 luxurious and good sized bedrooms, tastefully decorated and with tea/coffee making facilities and a television and Wi-Fi to keep the children happy, you are hard pushed to leave your room.

But if you don’t, you will miss the hotel’s lovely Terrace Lounge, which is perfect for afternoon tea, with a terrace looking over the lake, snug library where you can catch up on some reading or the award-winning restaurant which serves up such delights as asparagus with truffle butter for starters, finest rump steak with all the trimmings for the main course and if you have room, some divine cheese and biscuits to round off a fabulous meal.

Breakfast is also served in the main Garden Room restaurant and is all cooked to order, which means its good and tasty and gives you time to enjoy your cereal and fruit juice from the cold buffet beforehand.

There is an excellent spa and fitness area too, with a pool for the children to enjoy, while you either enjoy the views from the terrace or pop into the ice room, steam room or sauna. The hotel also offers wonderful treatments including a very relaxing neck, shoulder and back one, which will get you chilled and ready for the sightseeing.

Once you have torn yourself away from the hotel, there is plenty to do and see. The World of Beatrix Potter was our first stop and we just loved it!

Full of beautifully created sculptures of the characters, the museum tells Potter’s tales through the models. The children are encouraged to enjoy an activity pack which gives them an insight into the different stories and there is a lovely Royal Horticultural Society Gold Medal winning garden to look round too.There is a great café as well, where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or high tea or a scrumptious ice cream.

Potter was a woman before her time, who batted away personal tragedies and professional rejection to publish her wonderful animal tales and its testament to how good they are, that they are still enjoyed today.

Across the road from the museum is The Old Laundry Theatre which is featuring a brand new family musical called “Where is Peter Rabbit’’ until September 4th.

The innovative show combines live performances, projection and recording in an interactive and magical musical. With up to three shows a day, it is just the ticket for Potter fans and includes lots of her famous tales from Jemima Puddleduck to Jeremy Fisher.

Lake Windermere is England’s largest at just over 10 miles long and 219 feet deep and a trip aboard one of the many boats on offer is a great way of seeing the lake at its best. We were lucky that the sun was out too as we pottered along, admiring the islands in the lake and the beautiful big private houses on the shores.

The Lake District tourism’s upbeat message to visitors is to “discover, inspire and explore’’ and Windermere is a great place to kick off that magical journey!

Factfile:

The Lake District is such a beautiful part of Great Britain and one which is literally on our doorstep. Windermere is one of the best known places in The Lake District with its lovely lake and winding streets. And with so much to do and see, it’s a great place for a break.

Accommodation: The Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa is literally in the heart of the town and overlooks the lake. It’s a fabulous setting and means you can drop off the car and explore at your leisure. It’s a grand old hotel with modern facilities and an excellent restaurant and leisure area to boot. For more information about breaks and offers available, log onto: www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/our-hotels/macdonald-old-england-hotel-spa
Attractions: Children still love the stories told by Beatrix Potter and this year marks the 150th anniversary of her birth. Potter loved The Lake District and in Windermere there is a lovely museum, The World of Beatrix Potter, dedicated to her and her books. A new family musical “Where is Peter Rabbit’ runs through the summer at The Old Laundry Theatre (across the road from the museum) until September 4th, with performances at 11 a.m., 4-30 p.m. (and 7 p.m. in the summer holidays). For ticket prices and information on the museum, log onto: www.hop-skip-jump.com