The cottage

A guide to all the rooms you can explore in Hardy's Cottage, from the cosy parlour where the family gathered to the bedroom where Hardy wrote.

The Parlour
This was the heart and hearth of the Hardy home. In this room the family would prepare their food, boil the kettle for tea, play music and socialise by the fire in the deep inglenook. Fuel for the fire was collected from the woods and heath behind the cottage.

The Office
This was the scullery of the original cottage but was later used by Hardy’s father as the office for his stonemasonry and bricklaying business. Here he managed his accounts and paid his workers through a small window at the rear.

Granny’s Kitchen
Hardy’s grandmother, Mary, was an important figure in the Hardy household and had a big influence on his life. This room was both her living room and where she prepared meals. It contains a bread oven which was heated up by burning gorse inside it. Granny was evidently a rather spry old lady, judging by the steep staircase next door that leads up to what was once her bedroom.

The Sisters’ Bedroom
This is where Thomas’ sisters Mary and Kate slept. Through the curiously angled windows you can peer under the ‘eyebrows’ of the thatched roof to enjoy views of the garden and orchard.

The Parents’ Bedroom
This simply furnished room with whitewashed walls is where Thomas Hardy was born. It is the scene of his earliest memory: being in his cradle with a snake curled up on his chest, having come in from the heath behind the cottage.

Thomas’ Bedroom
After Granny’s death in 1857 this became Thomas’ bedroom. Here, at a desk by the window from which he was inspired by the scenery outside, Thomas wrote his early novels including Under the Greenwood Tree and Far From the Madding Crowd.