Max Gate, an austere but sophisticated town house a short walk from the town centre of Dorchester, was the home of Dorset's most famous author and poet Thomas Hardy. Hardy, who designed the house in 1885, wanted to show that he was part of the wealthy middle classes of the area, to reflect his position as a successful writer, and to enable him to enter polite society. The house was named after a nearby tollgate keeper called Mack. Many of Hardy's possessions were dispersed before the National Trust acquired the house, but they have furnished the rooms for you to enjoy the spaces he created to write and live in. He wrote some of his most famous novels here, including Tess of the d'Urbervilles, the Mayor of Casterbridge and Jude the Obscure, as well as much of his poetry. You will find the garden much as it was originally planned, with high walls and large trees encircling the property to preserve Hardy's privacy. The sundial, designed by Hardy, was erected in his memory.
The house contains several pieces of Hardy's furniture, although his study has been relocated to the Dorset County Museum. Half of the 100m diameter Neolithic interrupted ditch enclosure known as Flagstones is under the grounds of Max Gate; the other half was archaeologically excavated in 1987 prior to the construction of the Dorchester bypass. The downstairs is fully wheelchair accessible as are the charming gardens.
Location : Came View Rd, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 2AB
Transport: Dorchester West OR Dorchester South (National Rail) 1 mile. Bus Routes : 2, 101 and 103 stop nearby.
Opening Times : Wednesday to Sunday + Bank Holidays 11:00 - 17:00.
Tickets : Adults £6.00; Children £3.00
Tel: 01297 489481