OPENING the curtains to a view across a calm lake, the sun glinting on the surface, is a wonderful start to a day.

On a short break in the Lake District, we were lucky enough to have that picture postcard vista from our bedroom.

We were staying at the 4-star boutique Waterhead hotel overlooking the head of Lake Windermere. Our gorgeous room, with its private balcony, looked out over the water towards distant fells.

Beautifully decorated throughout, with welcoming, attentive staff, it’s the kind of place where your worries drift away.

We had planned our trip around visits to two popular attractions. According to my dad, I last visited Hill Top, the home of Beatrix Potter as a toddler. I was keen to refresh my long-vanished memories.

What a pleasure it was. It was wonderful to see how rooms in the house featured in her books: there’s the dresser in the living room in front of which the rat Anna Maria raced on her way to the kitchen to find dough in the Tale of Samuel Whiskers, and the landing at the top of the stairs across which Samuel Whiskers pushed a rolling pin.

When I was a child I was horrified by this story. Also known as The Roly Poly Pudding, it describes the capture of Tom Kitten by rats Samuel Whiskers and his wife Anna Maria, who plan to bake him in a pudding.

It is perhaps understandable that Beatrix would include rats in her work - when she first took on Hill Top, 96 rats were caught in two years.

As you wander from room to room the author’s books sit open at the relevant pages. As well as setting scenes in her home, the surrounding lanes in the idyllic hamlet of Near Sawrey close to Hawkshead in the Lake District, also feature. Beatrix lived in the hamlet - which she called as ‘nearly perfect a little place as I ever lived in’ - from 1905 until her death in 1943. She bequeathed the house, land and other properties she owned in the area to the National Trust.

Each room is as she left it, and are filled with her possessions including works of art, ornaments and trinkets. Visits are timed, to avoid crowding and to allow people to fully appreciate the house.

A half-hour walk leads to the tranquility of Moss Eccles Tarn, where Beatrix and her solicitor husband William Heelis used to go boating on summer evenings. It’s worth making the effort - it’s magical. Beatrix owned the tarn and planted it with water lilies which are still there.

If you’re a Beatrix Potter fan, this is the spot to be. In nearby Hawkshead, the Beatrix Potter Gallery sits in a 17th-century building which once housed the solicitor’s practice where she met William.

Also run by the National Trust, this characterful gallery gives visitors a chance to see a selection of Potter’s original watercolours up close. The pictures are displayed for a year, before being put away for at least a decade to prevent light damage.

This year’s exhibition focuses upon friendships Beatrix made by post and includes letters to and from individuals such as publishers, farm employees and fans.

The paintings include a heartbreaking picture of a crying Pigling Bland, after he gets lost on his way home.

It is clear from her letters how much Beatrix s animals. ‘These little black cows are like pets - so quiet and kind’, she says in a letter to shepherd Joe Moscrop.

In both the gallery and Hill Top, what the staff didn’t know you could write on the back of a stamp.

After a busy day, it was lovely to return to our luxurious room. With an enormous bed, en suite, fluffy bath robes and White Company toiletries, it was pamper heaven.

Complimentary Lakes Distillery gin, tonic and a bucket of ice come with the room, as well as Nespresso coffee pods, snacks and fruit. Two tasty, locally-baked ginger biscuits were much appreciated.

We dined in the stylish restaurant choosing from a varied menu: I enjoyed roast chicken breast with mashed potato and tender-stem broccoli, all delicately cooked to perfection, while my husband chose “delicious” smoked mackerel bruchetta to start, followed by roasted hake fillet with sauteed potatoes, green beans, confit cherry tomato and a chorizo sauce.

Served by friendly, attentive staff, sticky toffee pudding and champagne and raspberry parfait to finish was just the ticket.

Popping out for an evening stroll, we returned to find chocolates and other treats on the pillow.

Breakfasting in the restaurant was lovely, with stunning lake views framed within the windows. There was a huge choice, from light Continental to a hearty breakfast providing fuel for fell walks .

Built from Lakeland slate, the town house hotel is part of the English Lakes group. A further perk for guests is the use of the excellent spa facilities at the nearby Low Wood Bay Resort, owned by the group.

If you fancy a walk from Waterhead, the hotel provides guides. We followed one from the centre of Ambleside to a 70-foot waterfall Stock Ghyll Force. And for more serious hikers, the fells are on your doorstep. We opted for Loughrigg. At 335 metres (1,099ft), it was just right for a morning’s walk. An easy climb from Ambleside, the path to the summit, across various craggy knolls, takes in wonderful views of Lake Windermere and surrounding mountains.

There are plenty of walks around the lake shore too, at starting points including historic Claife Viewing Station and the mock-Gothic Wray Castle, a grand house where Beatrix Potter once holidayed with her parents.

*Waterhead, Lake Road, Ambleside LA22 OER W:; Direct T: 015394 32566. Reservations: 0330 4045 855