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Hill Top

Top choice in The Lake District

Two miles south of Hawkshead, in the tiny village of Near Sawrey, this idyllic farmhouse was purchased in 1905 by Beatrix Potter and was used as inspiration for many of her tales: the house features directly in Samuel Whiskers, Tom Kitten, Pigling Bland and Jemima Puddle-Duck, among others, and you might recognise the kitchen garden from Peter Rabbit. Entry is by timed ticket in order to manage demand, but you can't prebook, and it's very popular, so prepare to queue.

Clad in climbing ivy and stocked with memorabilia, the house looks like something out of a storybook, but Beatrix only actually lived here until her marriage to William Heelis. In 1913 the newlywed couple moved to a larger farm at nearby Castle Cottage, where the author wrote many more tales until her death in 1943.

She bequeathed Hill Top (along with Castle Cottage and more than 1600 hectares of land) to the National Trust with the proviso that the house should be left with her belongings and decor in situ. Perhaps the most fascinating insight into the author's private life is provided by the many antiques, collectibles and objets d'art – from antique fans, delicate chinaware and butterfly collections to her own well-used paint tin. For Beatrix scholars, it's an absolute treasure trove. The house formed the centrepiece for celebrations to mark the author's 150th birthday in 2016.

The only drawback is the house's huge – and seemingly boundless – popularity. It's simply one of the must-see places for every visitor to the Lakes. Try visiting in the late afternoon or on weekdays to avoid the worst crowds.

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