days out Dorset National Trust

{Exploring} Max Gate, Dorchester

{Exploring} Max Gate, Dorchester

As I told you about our family visit to the pretty cottage where Thomas Hardy was born yesterday, today I’m going to share our visit to Max Gate. This was the house designed by Thomas Hardy (who trained as an architect) and built by his father and brother. Thomas Hardy lived in the house until his death in 1928.

{Exploring} Max Gate, Dorchester

Max Gate couldn’t be more different from Hardy’s Cottage which we visited. Built in the Queen Anne style we found it rather soulless and unwelcoming. We had booked our ticket online and were guided round the house by a volunteer, I think we would have preferred to walk round ourselves as our guide wasn’t very loud or clear!

The house was extended by Thomas Hardy as he became more successful and made more money. During the time he lived here he actually had three different studies, moving from the front of the house to the back, away from nosey visitors.

As well as his Study we were able to visit the Dining and Drawing Rooms, bedrooms and some of the kitchen rooms, again these were extended over time.

Thomas Hardy's study

The house has been re-created as it was during Hardy’s time but it felt very strange. The house has had various tenants and it feels very dis-jointed as some of the rooms are brought back to life as Hardy would have known them.

There were very few bathrooms and toilets and the one we found was very pink!

Thomas Hardy's toilet

My daughter loved exploring the tiny attic rooms but they just felt so sad. They were built for Hardy’s first wife, Emma, and rooms where she lived from 1899 until her death in 1912.

I found the gardens more interesting than the house. There is an extensive walled garden at the back of the house, as well as the pet cemetery where the family dogs were buried. We loved the gardener’s shed, although were sad to see how hard he had to work all year round! There was also a small second hand bookshop in one of the out buildings.

The house is not dog-friendly but we were able to bring our dog with us and he enjoyed the garden. There is no cafe at Max Gate, but there is a tiny toilet at the back of the house.



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    {Exploring} Hardy's Cottage, Higher Bockhampton -
    September 7, 2023 at 8:24 pm

    […] use our National Trust membership to explore some new properties, such as Hardy’s Cottage and Max Gate, the home he built in later life. Thomas Hardy was a British author, of poems and novels including […]

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    Five Happy Things {Week 465} -
    September 14, 2023 at 8:20 pm

    […] card to visit some beautiful historic buildings. I shared our trip to Hardy’s Cottage and Max Gate, as well as the historic Seaton tramway. We are always on the look out for family-friendly things […]

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