Two anniversaries on the same day is cause for celebration for the iconic World of Beatrix Potter™ Attraction in Bowness on Windermere, as it marks its official 30th birthday on Wednesday 28 July – the same day as Beatrix Potter’s birth, 155 years ago.
Throughout the summer, the Attraction is holding celebration tea parties with Peter Rabbit, bringing children’s literature to life at the magical world in the heart of the Lake District. Further celebrations include the enchanting display of show puppets from the international touring theatre production ‘Where is Peter Rabbit?’ which are visible to the public for this summer only. Fans young and old can pose with their favourite characters including Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggy-winkle, Mr Tod, Jemima Puddle-duck and Tommy Brock for the perfect photo opportunity.
It is the attention to detail that has made the Attraction an integral part of the Lakes tourist experience for three decades and has drawn the attention of an international audience. Visitors from China, Taiwan, South Korea, India, Japan, Australia, the USA and Europe can walk through Beatrix Potter’s famous Lakeland scenery to meet her loveable characters. Over the last 30 years, the Attraction has expanded to include the Old Laundry Theatre, the Laundrama studio for events, two gift shops, a Cafe and an e-commerce unit. The now-famous Chelsea Flower Show gold medal-winning Peter Rabbit Garden also adds to the mix, growing unusual and traditional heritage vegetables, flowers and fruits from Beatrix Potter’s era – with many sourced by simply looking at the illustrations in her little books and doing the detective work.
Since the day it opened the Attraction has been transformed, refreshed and updated. In recent years it has had the largest refurbishment in its history. All the foliage that dominates the 3D scenes was replaced, and a newly composed soundtrack was recorded to enhance the visitor experience. The Attraction also saw the installation of digital projections of 3D shimmering leaf collages which appear to float up above the existing exhibits adding movement and atmosphere. Thousands of pieces of trees, bushes, leaves and branches were hand-painted and installed by expert craftsmen. A team of video and sound designers put together the stunning new digital displays which are beautiful works of art themselves as well as assisting visitors to navigate through the self-guided tour of the exhibition. The exhibition is constantly maintained and enhanced to create a balance between staying true to Beatrix Potter’s classic drawings and the use of modern technology that is now expected.
When Director Roger Glossop opened the doors of the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction for the first time almost 30 years ago, he couldn’t believe what happened. Worried whether anyone would turn up to see the beautiful displays he had created, he was stunned when 700 people flocked through the doors. “I thought we would close after the first day. It’s all been a big surprise, a wonderful surprise,” said Roger. “You build something never expecting that it will still be going almost 30 years later. It’s just brilliant. Beatrix Potter has dominated our lives for the last 30 years (in a good way!). From the day we opened the door, Beatrix Potter has taken us on an exhilarating journey – exhibition, garden, shop, restaurant, online, theatre and ongoing – we couldn’t have aligned our creative and business life with a more original, entrepreneurial and visionary woman.“
With so much to enjoy through the summer and another special year to look forward to in 2022 as Peter Rabbit turns 120, the Attraction goes from strength to strength. Whilst the Peter Rabbit summer theatre show was unfortunately cancelled this year due to Covid, exciting plans are afoot at the Attraction for the world premiere of a brand new theatre show “Happy Birthday Peter Rabbit”.