By Judy Ross
For the younger child entranced by the whimsical animal tales written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter, a visit to northern England's Lake District offers a chance to meet Peter Rabbit as he hops through Mr. McGregor's cabbage patch.
At the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction, the 23 tales come to life in realistic three-dimensional scenes. Here, kids can visit Jemima Puddle-duck in her blue bonnet and fringed shawl, see Jeremy Fisher sitting on a lily pad, and watch Mrs. Tiggy-winkle hard at work. It's an animated indoor attraction full of the sounds and smells of these sweet stories. Stay for afternoon tea in the award-winning Tailor of Gloucester Tea Room and check out the books and gifts in the Emporium.
After tea you can take a car ferry across Lake Windermere to the west shore. The stunning scenery might not impress the kids, but they'll enjoy Hill Top Farm where Beatrix Potter lived amid the animals and wrote her famous books. Bring the little books along so they can match the illustrations with real life scenes in this 17th-century farmhouse. You can almost see the animals dressed in their country clothes.
When Potter died in 1943, she left instructions to maintain the farm exactly as it was when she lived here. She also left an additional 4,000 acres to the National Trust, so the unspoiled beauty of the area is truly her legacy.
Travel Facts The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction (recently refurbished) is at Bowness-on-Windermere. It is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in winter). Admission for adults is about $12, children about $6. Find more info at hop-skip-jump.com. Check visitcumbria.com for other kids' attractions in the area. Hill Top Farm in nearby Hawkeshead is open 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. until early November, with shortened hours until Christmas.
Recent Reads If you like Beatrix Potter's books, try contemporary classics from author Leo Lionni, such as Frederick (Random House).
Judy Ross is a writer and story-reading grandmother based in Collingwood, Ont.