The World of Beatrix Potter review

Our rating 
4.1 out of 5 star rating 4.1
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In a nutshell

From Peter Rabbit to Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, an interactive exhibition with adorable models of Beatrix Potter’s characters that depict each one of her 23 books
Fun for kids
5.0 out of 5 rating 5.0
Fun for parents
4.0 out of 5 rating 4.0
Worth the money
4.5 out of 5 rating 4.5
Facilities
3.0 out of 5 rating 3.0
Family friendliness
4.0 out of 5 rating 4.0
Pros: Delightful and engaging, bonus attractions, captures children’s imaginations
Cons: Busy in summer holidays, can’t pre-book tickets so need to queue, only 1 set of toilets

When we visited:

On a weekday during the summer 2018 school holidays

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What age is The World of Beatrix Potter best for?

Best for: Children aged 2–6 years old, all Beatrix Potter fans

Still good fun for: Children aged 7 to 11

Avoid if: Teenagers would most likely be bored. 

How much does it cost in 2018?

  • Gate prices: Adults £7.95, children £3.95, under 3s free
  • Family saver tickets: Family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children) £22
  • Annual Family Freedom Pass: £35

Are there discounts or cheap tickets available for The World of Beatrix Potter?

Yes, at the time of publication Picniq had up to 16% off a steam train, lake cruise and World of Beatrix Potter package

Any extra charges once I’m there?

  • Some of the bonus attractions are included in the price of the ticket, like Johnny Town Mouse’s Garden Trail. But at various times throughout the year, other activities on top of the exhibition are available – such as ‘Storytime With Beatrix Potter’ and ‘Peter Rabbit Tea Parties’ – all at an additional cost
  • You can buy a souvenir photo for £5 or a souvenir snowglobe and print for £9.50
  • The gift shop is chock-full of lovely items and you can spend a small amount (badges are 75p) or you can splash out (a limited-edition Jemima Puddle Duck stuffed toy is £75) 

How long will we spend at The World of Beatrix Potter?

The website recommends that you allow yourself an hour to look around the exhibition, plus extra time to browse in the shop and have a treat in the tearoom. However, we spent about an hour and a half in the exhibition, and an hour watching the theatre production – plus extra time making a Peter Rabbit ‘souvenir penny’ that Josh was thrilled with. He got really into the ‘Peter Rabbit Activity Trail’, which took him all around the exhibition and through Peter Rabbit’s garden, posing questions and asking him to look out for things such as the ‘veg of the week’.

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What does The World of Beatrix Potter offer for families?

Just like Beatrix Potter’s series of books, The World of Beatrix Potter is utterly charming, captivating and engaging. As a child, The Tale of Peter Rabbit was my favourite book and my husband accused me of enjoying our day out as much as – if not more – than our children. He may have been right.

What shouldn’t be missed?

Highlights for us were:

  • We kicked off our visit by watching the ‘Where Is Peter Rabbit?’ stage show, which I thought could rival any children’s West End production. I had anticipated it to be a bit am-dram and cringey, but I was wrong… it was brilliant! And it held both Josh’s and Toby’s attention throughout – quite an achievement for two boys who usually have ants in their pants. This show ran throughout the summer and will be back again in the summer of 2019
  • The exhibition is enchanting, and takes you on a journey past models of Beatrix Potter’s loveable characters: Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Tom Kitten, Squirrel Nutkin, Jeremy Fisher, Benjamin Bunny, Mr Tod – to name a few – and, of course, Peter Rabbit
  • Each child is given a booklet to fill in, which poses questions such as ‘Who is peeping through the window on your right?’ and ‘How does Jeremy move his lily pad boat?’ Josh was captivated and took great care to answer the questions. Toby just liked rushing about from animal to animal
  • There were also interactive screens where the children could press buttons and find out more about the stories and animals, available in six languages: English, French, Chinese, Japanese, Dutch and German
  • The Peter Rabbit Garden is also incorporated into the trail and is equally lovely, with the naughty bunny’s blue coat hung up in ‘Mr McGregor’s garden’ among flowers, herbs and vegetables
  • At the end of the trail is a large room with puzzles and interactive activities. There’s also a lot of information about Beatrix Potter’s life and the places that inspired her stories. I found it interesting but the kids were getting hungry and tired so I had to skim-read

Is it a good rainy-day option?

To fully enjoy the garden, it’s ideal to visit on a sunny day but, as these are few and far between in the Lake District, you may just have to get wet. The majority of the exhibition is indoors, though.

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Was it pushchair friendly?

If you’re bringing a baby, I’d suggest wearing a sling. You could take a buggy in but it would be a pain to push around as the exhibition is fairly narrow.

What you need to know before you go:

  • We went in the summer holidays and it was RAMMED! The staff at the attraction tried their best to deal with this by staggering how many people they let through the exhibition at one time, but it was still crowded
  • Going to the loo once you were immersed in the experience was somewhat of a palaver, fighting the masses to get out of the exhibition again, past the queue of people buying tickets and down the stairs
  • You can’t pre-book tickets for the exhibition so, if it’s busy, you’ll just have to stand in line and wait to buy them. However, we were able to pre-book the theatre production and then were taken straight through to the exhibition, thus avoiding any queues, so it might be worth visiting when there’s a ‘bonus’ attraction on.
  • The website is excellent and it’s well worth taking a look with your little ones to get them excited before their visit
  • The website has a cute section on Peter Rabbit’s Garden that outlines the various plants and vegetables that are grown there from the various books (pear trees from The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, for example). At the attraction itself, this information is outlined on a blackboard
  • Although Josh loved filling in the activity booklet, there were 18 questions and his four-year-old attention span only lasted to number 13. It was fun but perhaps a little too long for younger children

What are the food and drink facilities like at The World of Beatrix Potter?

The food in the cafe looked very inviting, with cakes and scones laid out on the counter, plus savoury fare such as jacket potatoes and sandwiches on offer. Apparently, they grow their own vegetables and salad in the garden.

Unfortunately, I can’t comment on the taste as it was so busy that we couldn’t get a table. With 2 hungry boys in tow, my husband and I made the decision to eat elsewhere rather than join the scrum.

What are the toilets like?

The toilets were clean but inconveniently placed. As I mentioned before, once you are in the exhibition, getting to the toilet is somewhat of a performance. It would be helpful if they had a set of toilets on both floors. I’m just glad we decided to potty-train Toby after our trip! 

How well does it cater for disabled visitors?

  • There are 2 entrances to the attraction – the main entrance, which has a slope and handrail, and an alternative entrance, which has steps and isn’t suitable for wheelchairs
  •  The website states that “once inside, all areas of the building are fully accessible for visitors”. While this may be true in theory – there’s a lift to give access to the toilets and tea room – as it was so busy when we visited, a wheelchair would have been tricky to manoeuvre
  • For blind and partially sighted people, there’s a ‘touch tour’ that can be booked in advance (with at least 2 weeks’ notice), where a member of staff will guide them around the 3D exhibits
  • For people hard of hearing, there are sound induction loops in the reception area and shop
  • For more information see The World of Beatrix Potter’s accessibility page

Opening dates and times:

The World of Beatrix Potter is open every day from 10am to 6.30pm. Last entry is at 5.30pm

Tips for getting to The World of Beatrix Potter

The World of Beatrix Potter is located in the centre of Bowness-on-Windermere, Lake District

  • We drove (the SatNav postcode is LA23 3BX), which was easy as we followed the brown tourist information signs
  • You could get the bus (either the number 541 or 599)
  • By train, head for Windermere station, which is a 30-minute walk to the attraction
  • You could also take a 5-minute taxi ride from the station, get the 599 bus, or even a boat (Windermere Lake Cruises dock in Bowness Bay

Do you have to pay for parking?

Yes. If you decide to drive, bear in mind that the attraction doesn’t provide parking. However, there are a few pay-and-display car parks nearby (one just over the road). The website gives details of other ones in case this one is full.

Worth a long car journey?

We were staying in Ambleside, which is about a 15-minute drive from The World of Beatrix Potter. I’d be prepared to travel about an hour for the attraction. You won’t be there all day but it’s a lovely area so you can find something else to do to entertain yourself – Lake Windermere is only a few minutes away. 

Which hotels or holiday accommodation are near The World of Beatrix Potter?

The Lake District location means there are plenty of accommodation options nearby, including:

Nearby attractions for a longer day out:

There are plenty of lovely walks and outdoor activities around the Lake Windermere area –the Bowness on Windermere self-guided Treasure Trail is a lovely way to explore the local surroundings together. Dove Cottage and Wordsworth Museum is a 20-minute drive away, with lots of family events to introduce little ones to the famous poet. Alternatively, Go Ape! is a 35-minute drive away, perfect for releasing some energy before the drive home.

MFM verdict:

A delightful, enchanting attraction that will transport you to an almost magical place. My kids forgot all about wanting to watch Peppa Pig/Lego Ninjago or playing on my iPhone – they were swept up in the adventures of all the different animals and loved discovering the answers on the activity trail. Yes, it was busy, but isn’t everywhere worth visiting during the summer holidays? If you can visit during term-time, do; if not, steel yourself for crowds but know that the memories your children make at The World of Beatrix Potter will be worth a few jostles.

Visit The World of Beatrix Potter website

See more reviews of The World of Beatrix Potter on TripAdvisor

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Intro to me:

I visited with my husband and 2 sons, Josh, 4 and Toby, 2, during the summer holidays