Plan your visit

Plan your visit to include the main Thomas Hardy visitor attractions

Take time out to explore Hardy Country. Follow Hardy’s story from his place of birth in Higher Bockhampton to his home at Max Gate, then on to his final resting place at St Michael’s Church. Learn more about his life and work at the Dorset County Museum, get your photo taken next to the Hardy memorial, and round off your trip with a tour of some of the wider landscape.

Hardy’s Cottage, Higher Bockhampton

© Image copyright Chris Shaw

Visit the delightful thatched cottage where Thomas Hardy was born. It was here that he wrote his early novels before moving to Max Gate, the house he designed and built, in Dorchester. Hardy’s Cottage is owned and managed by the National Trust.

Open from mid-March to October. Wednesday – Sunday 11am-5pm. Last entries 4.30pm.

Hardy’s Cottage
Higher Bockhampton
Dorchester
Dorset
DT2 8QJ

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Hardy’s home – Max Gate, Dorchester

© Image copyright Pierre Terre

Max Gate is an austere, but sophisticated town house, a short walk from the town centre. Thomas Hardy designed this house to show that he was part of the wealthy middle classes of the area, to reflect his position as a famous writer, and to enable him to enter polite society. The house is named after a nearby tollgate keeper called Mack. Thomas Hardy lived here from 1885 until his death in 1928. Max gate is operated by the National Trust.

Open from mid-March to October. Wednesday – Sunday 11am-5pm. Last entries 4.30pm.

Max Gate
Alington Avenue
Dorchester
Dorset
DT1 2AB

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Hardy’s resting place – St. Michael’s, Stinsford

© Image copyright Peter Trimming

Whilst Hardy’s body was put to rest at Westminster, his heart remained in Stinsford. St Michael’s Church, Stinsford, is located approximately two miles east of Dorchester.

St Michael’s Church
Church Lane
Stinsford
Dorchester
Dorset
DT2 8XW

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Dorset County Museum, Dorchester

Thomas Hardy’s Study & the Dorset Writers’ Gallery

© Image copyright Chris Talbot

Dorset County Museum is an independent museum owned and managed by the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society.

Open to anyone with an interest in Dorset’s past to join, the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society is an educational charity with over 1800 members. The history of the Society and its Museum can be traced back to the mid 19th century, and its mission today is the advancement of education for the general benefit of the public in the areas of archaeology, the natural sciences, natural history, literature, music, the fine and decorative arts, antiquities and local history relating to the County of Dorset.

Dorset County Museum
High West Street
Dorchester
Dorset
DT1 1XA

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Thomas Hardy’s Statue – Top O’ Town, Dorchester

© Image copyright Chris Downer

A warm welcome awaits you in the historic county town of Dorchester where you can enjoy fascinating history, exciting attractions and great shopping.

Dorchester boasts elegant 18th century houses, broad walks and cultural tradition, and is still very much the ‘Casterbridge’ of Thomas Hardy’s novels. orchester is steeped in history. Discover the 4000-year-old hill-fort of Maiden Castle and visit the Roman Town House. Revisit Judge Jeffreys’ ‘Bloody Assize’ and the trial of the Tolpuddle Martyrs at the Old Crown Court & Cells.

High Street West
Dorchester
Dorset
DT1 1XA

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Clouds Hill – Rural retreat of Lawrence of Arabia, friend of Hardy. Bovington

Clouds Hill, rural retreat of T.E. Lawrence

© Image copyright National Trust

‘I’ve a hut in a wood near camp wherein I spend my spare evenings’ – the words of the legendary Lawrence of Arabia, about Clouds Hill.This tiny isolated brick and tile cottage in the heart of Dorset was the peaceful retreat of T. E. Lawrence (‘Lawrence of Arabia’). The austere rooms are much as he left them and reflect his complex personality and close links with the Middle East, as detailed in a fascinating exhibition. Hardy visited Lawrence here many times.

Clouds Hill
King George V Road
Bovington
Near Wareham
Dorset
BH20 7NQ