Highlights of Hardy's Cottage

Want to make the most of your visit? Here are our suggestions for what to see and do at Hardy's Cottage, including the cottage and its pretty garden, the new visitor centre, and the surrounding heathland and woods which so inspired his work.

A view of Hardy's Cottage from the garden

The cottage 

The simple, poignant, thatched cottage in a flower-filled garden where Thomas Hardy was born, grew up and became a writer.

The timber-clad exterior of the visitor centre at Hardy's Cottage

Hardy's Birthplace Visitor Centre 

Just a short walk from Hardy's Cottage, on the edge of Thorncombe Wood Nature Reserve you'll find our new visitor centre. Built in partnership with Dorset County Council, it is gateway for local people and visitors to discover more about the life and works of Thomas Hardy and his connection to the local landscape.

Visitors in the café at Hardy's Birthplace Visitor Centre

The café 

A taste of the visitor centre's café, an independent family business using mostly local produce to create the tempting and varied menu.

Rushy Pond, a large tree-lined pond in the heathland behind Hardy's Cottage

Thorncombe Woods 

Just beyond Hardy's Cottage lies Thorncombe Woods, a mixed woodland and heath site that is listed on the Ancient Woodland Inventory. A haven for wildlife, this atmospheric landscape greatly influenced Hardy's work.