New £1million tourist attraction on Lake District estate that inspired Beatrix Potter
A new tourist attraction centred on the grand Victorian estate where Beatrix Potter wrote some of her most famous children’s books will open to visitors for the first time on Saturday 2 July 2016.
The finishing touches are being added to a major new project to create a café, shop and a Victorian walled garden on the Lingholm Estate near Keswick, in the heart of the English Lake District. It will coincide with the unveiling of the first new jetty on Derwentwater for scheduled boat services in more than 50 years later in July.
Located on the western shore of Derwentwater, Lingholm is home to the mansion where Beatrix Potter spent ten summer holidays between 1885 and 1907. Not only did she write Squirrel Nutkin there – along with the first manuscript of Mrs TiggyWinkle – but she also credited the Lingholm Kitchen Garden as being the original inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
The opening of the new attraction has been timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the renowned author’s birth and will officially open to the public in her birthday month.
The striking new octagonal walled garden is built mainly from reclaimed materials in a Victorian style – on the exact spot of the old kitchen gardens which Beatrix Potter credited as the inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden. In a letter to her publisher in 1942, her exact words were: “If the vegetable garden and wicket gate were anywhere it was at Lingholm near Keswick”.
Overlooking the garden – and stunning views up to one of England’s highest mountains, Skiddaw – is a new café including indoor and outdoor seating for up to 180 people. It will serve a range of locally sourced foods, artisan breads, home baked cakes, real barista coffee and an extensive range of teas. There will also be a dedicated Art Wall, initially featuring the work of resident artist Rob Miller.
Meanwhile walkers can enjoy a new footpath through the Lingholm Estate linking to Catbells and the Cumbrian Way, as well as providing easy access to the first new jetty on Derwentwater for more than five decades. Keswick Launch is planning to add the extra stop at Lingholm on its circular lake cruises from mid-July, ready for the school summer holidays.
Completing the development is a shop offering a range of gifts, art, books, toys and cards.
Estate Director Jenny Seymour says, “This is a whole a new visitor experience for the Lake District, in a previously little-known corner of this world-renowned landscape. As we’re off the traditional Beatrix Potter tourist trial, we’re hoping the setting of Lingholm Kitchen and our new walled garden will offer a unique historical insight into the writer’s life and inspiration for residents and visitors alike.
She adds, “An integral part of our philosophy for the shop and café is all about showcasing the best artisan food, authentic seasonal produce and locally-made gifts wherever we can.” www.thelingholmestate.co.uk
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