YOU can’t get away from Beatrix Potter in the Lake District and, indeed, why would you want to?
There are houses with Potter connections scattered everywhere.
Not just Hill Top, her kept-in-a-time-capsule home in NearSawrey, but also others such as Lindeth Howe on the other side of Windermere.
And we’ve found yet another, Lingholm, right on the banks of Derwent Water just outside Keswick.
Potter spent 10 summer holidays at Lingholm in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries and it was during her time here that she wrote both The Tale Of Squirrel Nutkin and The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.
The Kitchen Garden was her original inspiration for Mr McGregor’s Garden in The Tale Of Peter Rabbit.
The grounds had become overgrown, but there’s a lovely new walled garden on the site of the old one and I’m looking down on it through one of the floor-to-ceiling windows in the super-smart Lingholm Kitchen.
It sits next to the grand, old house where Potter used to sit on the East Terrace.
Light is streaming in, not just through those windows, but others in the ceiling, giving a bright and airy feel.
There’s still a bit of a bite to the air so we’ve picked a table inside, but on a warmer day the outside terrace looks like the place to be.
Or, if you fancy a bit more of a Potter connection, an old greenhouse which has been around since her day has been restored and provides quirkily-different additional inside seating.
There’s plenty memorabilia to snap up in the gift shop, but your Spy’s eyes had alighted on the scones in two trays behind the counter.
When I say in the trays, they were so big they were virtually tumbling out.
Fruit or cheese were the choices and the fruity selection nearly filled a plate on its own.
It was pretty much perfect with a crispy outside and a crumbly inner that was soon wolfed down.
The Kitchen does what looked like a mean selection of lunches and what we’d heard they serve a highly popular Afternoon Tea.
But as it was still breakfast time a couple of those options cried out. While my dining companion tucked into a sausage sarnie on ciabatta, I picked the eggy bread – rye sourdough – with bacon, maple syrup and a sprinkling of pecans. Delicious.
Quiet initially, the tables soon filled up and we could well understand why. The food was fabulous, the views down to the garden were wonderful and the atmosphere had a real buzz to it.
There were just so many nice touches including a basket of towels to dry off your soggy hound before taking a table.
Definitely somewhere to write home about.