Armitt Museum and Library, Ambleside

Founded by artists and writers, the Armitt is a unique combination of museum, library and gallery, which focuses on the cultural heritage of the Lake District.   The founder, Mary Louisa Armitt opend the library in 1912, to develop a community focus for artists and writers and is still very much alive, vibrant and relevant today.

Beatrix Potter was one of the Armitt’s early supporters, the museum holds a number of her family’s books as well as her personal first editions of the ‘little’ white books.  Her major gift however came in the form of a large number of exquisite botanical watercolours and are incredibly beautiful and detailed. The central permanent exhibition:  ‘Beatrix Potter, Image and Reality’, is definitely worth a visit as these works reveal fascinating and lesser-known aspects of her life story.

The museum also houses one of the country’s most important collections of artwork by Kurt Schwitters, who influenced the development of twentieth-century art and lived in Ambleside during his final years.

Hints & Tips: The musuem has accessible toilets, a car park and shop. There’s no cafe but the Apple Pie Bakery is just over the road.

Why we like it:  It gives a real insight into the culture of the Lake District and in particular gives a different side to Beatrix Potter when you look at her beautiful botanical illustrations.