Touring Hill Top (Beatrix Potter's House) and Levens Hall

I am excessively fond of touring houses. Mostly old houses. I have nearly a boundless appetite for them. It's so intriguing to see how people used to live, decorate, style, etc. Aside from the palaces and castles on this vacation, we toured four houses/properties of distinction. The first two, Hill Top (Beatrix Potter's home and farm) and Levens Hall, were an easy drive from our farmhouse vacation rental in the Yorkshire Dales.

Nestled down a winding lane in the beautifully green Lake District of northern England is Hill Top (click here for more information). 

Beatrix Potter purchased this property after she was an established author. The 17th century house sits on 34 acres, and was the inspiration for the locations of many of the costumed creatures in Beatrix Potter's tales.

Having spent countless hours reading Beatrix Potter's books to our children, it was a joy to tour her home with at least one of mine!

The home is entirely filled with Beatrix Potter's own possessions, books, letters, sketches, and more. I was startled at the quality and/or uniqueness of some of her belongings, and surmised that she was very well off indeed for a woman of her day. Devotees, like myself, will recognize this Welsh cupboard as the one that Anna Maria dashes in front of in the Tale of Samuel Whiskers.

Peering into Beatrix Potter's dollhouse.

The next day, we toured the Elizabethan manor, Levens Hall (click here for more).

The interior was the setting for the filming of A&E's "Wives & Daughters". Unfortunately, no indoor photography is allowed, but it was fun to spot various places throughout the home that we recognized from scenes in the film. It is filled with incredible treasures! It really struck me while there that the treasures of England are almost unimaginable. In just this one, single country house estate are priceless artifacts...a saddle that belonged to Napoleon, jewelry, china, crystal, silver, paintings on par with those found in any major museum, painted leather panels on the walls, and on and on. 

Amazingly, the property was once lost and won in a game of cards. The winner won the estate by playing the ace of hearts card. He immortalized his victory by having hearts adorn the downspouts on the house. You can see them just to the right of me in this photo.

Levens Hall is noted for its famed topiary garden. It was so magical to wander through its tidy walkways surrounded by the stately manor house and the Suess-ical topiaries...quite the contrast!

There are hedges, and then there are HEDGES.

I enjoyed watching this couple play croquet on the lawn. In the house, there is a set of lawn bowling balls that sat on the court from the late 1600's until the early 1900's. Incredible!

And if you visit Levens Hall, don't miss a visit to the Bellingham Buttery on the premises. The lemon sponge was delicious! And the scones were the absolute best we had of the entire trip!

Click here to read about our farmhouse rental in the vicinity.

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