AN ORIGINAL Peter Rabbit toy and more than 200 objects from storyteller Beatrix Potter's personal collection have returned home from Japan.

The precious items formed a 15-month travelling exhibition and included original watercolours, ink drawings and letters by the well-loved author and illustrator.

The loan was part of a year-long celebration marking the 150th anniversary of Beatrix’s birth and showcased a significant number of original items from the National Trust's Beatrix Potter collection. Many had never left the UK before, including 44 black ink drawings created for the first privately printed edition of The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

The collection of drawings, letters, toys and other Peter Rabbit memorabilia travelled to seven different venues in Japan, attracting 378,000 visitors before being safely returned to the care of the National Trust.

John Moffat, general manager for the National Trust’s Beatrix Potter places, said: “Beatrix Potter left the National Trust a large legacy and caring for her home, Hill Top, her personal possessions, original artwork and letters plays a role in preserving the cultural heritage of the Lake District.

"She was an amazing woman and we’re proud to be able to share her work, ideas and tales with people from all over the world.”

This year visitors are able to see Beatrix’s letter detailing the Peter Rabbit story at the Beatrix Potter Gallery, Hawkshead, along with other original artwork relating to this year’s themed exhibition, The Right Sort of Woman.

Opening on February 10, 2018, it will gives visitors the opportunity to learn more about Beatrix’s life and legacy. For the first time, the Beatrix Potter Gallery will be open every day of the week until October 28, 2018.

Also, every Friday from 1-3pm, visitors will be able to see items not normally on display at the gallery, gaining an insight into how the National Trust cares for its collection.