Beatrix Potter's real world

January 28, 2007|By New York Times News Service

Even though it might not be a box-office hit in the United States, Renee Zellweger's recent film, Miss Potter, is giving the Lake District of England, the region where the majority of the movie about the children's book author Beatrix Potter was filmed, a much-needed boost in tourism.

"The movie is helping our overseas visitors finally get over those horrible images of foot-and-mouth disease in the English countryside," said Andrew Poole, deputy manager of the World of Beatrix Potter, an attraction based in Bowness-on-Windermere, which centers on the author and illustrator's life and storybook characters.

Anticipating a surge of visitors, the National Trust (nationaltrust. org) is hard at work finishing its winter conservation work on Hill Top in Hawkshead, Potter's first home in the Lake District, which served as the inspiration for many of her books. Hill Top, which had 65,000 visitors last year, is reopening March 3 for weekends only, but starting March 31 will be open Saturday to Wednesday.

Seven miles away from Hill Top in the village of Coniston sits Yew Tree Farm (yewtree-farm.com), which Potter bought to save from developers in 1930 and which was used in Miss Potter as the location for Hill Top. Now a bed-and-breakfast (the bedrooms are being renovated until April), the farm also has a tea room decorated with Potter's original furnishings, paintings and ornaments.

Potter fans can also stay in Windermere at Lindeth Howe Country House and Hotel, www.lin deth-howe.co.uk, which Potter rented as a vacation home and later bought for her mother; eat in a nearby pub that was depicted in The Tale of Jemima Puddle Duck; or check into the "Miss Potter" suite at Holbeck Ghyll, the hotel where Zellweger stayed while shooting the film (holbeck ghyll.com).

A map showing all the Lake District movie locations can be found at visitmisspotter.com.

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