A few weeks ago we visited the World of Beatrix Potter attraction in Bowness-on-Windemere. We thought it would be perfect for Toddler H as she does love watching Peter Rabbit and hearing the stories. As it was the Easter holidays and the lambs and chicks are all being born they were having a Spring Animal day which we thought ideal for her. We haven’t shown her lambs close up yet, and she was very excited. She also loves rabbits given we have two huge English Spot rabbits at home, though as they’re smaller than her she calls them her baby rabbits. So we were eager for her to see bunnies and maybe get a sense of scale!
There were various leaflets for local attractions in our cottage’s welcome pack and this was one of them. The map of the attraction looks perfect with a Peter Rabbit Tea room, gardens and attractions for the Peter Rabit tales. I couldn’t wait to get a photo of Toddler H to meet Peter Rabbit.
Cost: £7.50 for adults, children under 3 free, £3.95 children 3-15. £21 for a family ticket.
We arrived and waited in the queue, as we expected to do during Easter week. We then waited almost 5 minutes to see a short 5 minute film about Beatrix Potter, Toddler H’s first film experience! She sat so well and watched, we were very proud parents!
We then emerged to some statues of the Peter Rabbit characters…
Round a corner we then arrived at the garden which we quickly realised wasn’t so much a garden for H to run and around and us eat lunch in, but two terraces of flowers with a greenhouse/potting shed area at the top. Thinking there would be more we couldn’t see and eager to see the lambs, chicks and bunnies we waited in the queue of everyone else from our film group.
On entering the potting shed we saw a tarantula asleep in a small tank, then followed the people in front around a man blocking the path. We then saw a 3 chicks/ducklings in a cardboard box on the side in the ‘potting shed’.
Emerging from the potting shed there was a huge rabbit hiding in a cat box, not quite the bunnies we expected, a fully grown rabbit!
We then followed the others around the garden (down a few steps and then up back into the attraction).
Inside again we saw some more statues from each of the books.
We then realised we realised we must have missed some animals as we hadn’t seen the bunnies or lambs from the leaflet. So turned round to go back and see what we’d missed as the tarantula couldn’t be included as a spring animal could it? There must be a lamb somewhere?
There wasn’t much of a queue so we quickly realised the man we’d all walked around had been stood in front of a baby hedgehog in a box. He showed the people in front of us and this time we got to see the tiny hedgehog burrowed in the straw he moved away to let us see. It was at this point, H declared she needed the toilet. We had a bit more of a look, but given it was a case of peering into a tiny pet box through hay it wasn’t the easiest to see or get a photo of. It’s a shame the people originally in queue around us hadn’t been shown the hedgehog too, it was tiny.
A second “I need a toilet”, prompted us to move quickly to find the toilets. Unfortunately that involved going through the entire exhibition, through the shop and down stairs to wait in a queue to use one of three toilets. It didn’t feel very well thought out, you’d expect more than three toilets and if it’s meant to be a 2 hour attraction, toilets inside an attraction too. Toilet done, we headed back through and back to the animals to try to see the bunnies and lambs. Unfortunately another film showing has just finished so the queue was huge and we didn’t want to wait in it again, we really couldn’t think how we could miss seeing a lamb in such a small area!
So we continued from there and looked through the exhibitions each showing a scene from one of the Beatrix Potter books. Some very limited moving attractions would spin one character round to reveal another, but none of the actual characters moved. Most didn’t move. All characters were incredibly well made, but just statues portraying a scene or couple of scenes from a book.
We did hear one lady say to her family don’t break that it’s mega old it’s been here since I was little and that was a long time ago. So I’m not sure any of the exhibitions for each book have moved on in a long time. Here are some examples…
If you look at the map and compare the frog pond to the picture I took you can see everything from the exhibition is included on the map and not really anything extra.
We then arrived at a ‘new room’ with a huge screen playing Beatrix Potter, a timeline on the wall and umpteen puzzles for kids. After spending 10 minutes there we went on, seeing a few more exhibits and exiting into the shop.
I should add our visit was much longer than those in our group with many of them at the exit or in the shop when we had made our quick dash to the toilets. I dare believe they were in there for half an hour! £7.50 per adult for half an hour seems a bit steep! We were there an hour and felt short changed. The leaflet says visits are around 2 hours, but I really have no idea how.
We were disappointed leaving given we’d expected more for our money, expected much more, a modern attraction and not just a museum of statues never mind the added extra of seeing the advertised Spring animals. Really it’s a tiny ‘attraction’ and given the entry fees we really did expect the whole attraction to be far bigger. Our visit didn’t meet our expectations and wasn’t really an attraction, feeling more like a museum.
I do believe that others were also disappointed with the animals, exhibition and toilets, as we overheard numerous comments about the latter.
We’ve since seen reviews on Trip Advisor which talk of similar experiences.
Given our experience, I am very interested to hear from anyone who has been to the World of Beatrix Potter before and your experiences? Please comment with them!