Setting out from Summer Lodge, follow the Thomas Hardy trail on a walking tour of the village of Evershot. Named ‘Evershead’ in the writer’s novels, this was one of the fictional names for the villages and towns he wrote about in the region he called Wessex. In this idyllic village, stop by The Acorn Inn, referred to as ‘The Sow and Acorn’ in Hardy’s works. Tess Cottage, meanwhile, is named after this character’s eponymous novel.
Explore further by travelling to Higher Bockhampton. This small Dorset village attracts visitors throughout the year, who come to see Hardy’s Cottage. Lying alongside the ancient Thorncombe Woods, the cottage offers a fascinating insight into the writer’s life, having barely changed since he was there; roses around the door and a classic English country garden complete the quaint aesthetic.
To find out more about the author and his ties to these surroundings, spend an afternoon in the regional hub of Dorchester. Here, the town house Max Gate, having been designed by Hardy, is where he lived for a period of time. Like Hardy’s Cottage, the rooms have been preserved to reflect the author’s life, making it possible to see the very spot the author created some of his most famous works. The house is currently closed for the winter but will reopen in March.
Close by is the town’s collection of regional artefacts, Dorset County Museum. Among its offering of exhibitions, the museum tells the story of the Hardy’s life and work in relation to the surrounding region, with a reconstruction of his study at Max Gate.
Back at Summer Lodge, let the rest of the day slip away by indulging in the quintessentially English tradition of afternoon tea, served in the Conservatory, Whiskey Lounge, Drawing Room or outdoors on the terrace. Dorset cream and jam are smothered over freshly made scones, alongside a variety of finger sandwiches and artisanal cakes, with a selection of specialty teas to choose from.
Experience Thomas Hardy Country from Summer Lodge with our Thomas Hardy Offer. During your two-night stay in the Thomas Hardy Suite, you’ll be led on a Thomas Hardy walking tour of Evershot and take afternoon tea and a drink at The Acorn Inn. Then, you’ll get to take home a copy of Thomas Hardy Stories and Poems, along with a selection of other souvenirs. What better way could there be to discover Hardy Country for yourself?
Header image: Summer Lodge © Red Carnation Hotels. Summer Lodge Drawing Room Stay © Red Carnation Hotels. Hardy’s Cottage © Visit England / Visit Dorset. Afternoon tea at Summer Lodge © Red Carnation Hotels.