Dorset's little gems

Some of the places we look after aren't your standard National Trust mansion. They offer a charm and intimacy all their own, and give you the opportunity to connect with their previous inhabitants.

Clouds Hill in the snow

Clouds Hill

'I've a hut in a wood near camp wherein I spend my spare evenings' - the words of the legendary Lawrence of Arabia, about Clouds Hill. This tiny isolated brick and tile cottage in the heart of Dorset was the peaceful retreat of T. E. Lawrence ('Lawrence of Arabia'). The austere rooms are much as he left them, this year we're looking back on his involvement in the First World War.

The parlour room at Hardy's Cottage

Hardys Cottage

Thomas Hardy was born and grew up at Hardy's Cottage. Throughout the autumn as the apples ripen in the orchard you can discover stories of smuggling and cider-making from Hardy's time, and enjoy the warmth of a fire in the parlour fireplace. The adjoining Thorncombe Woods are perfect for an autumn stroll.

Hardy Monument standing tall against a blue sky

Hardy Monument

The Hardy Monument was build in 1844 in memory of Vice-Admiral sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, Captain of HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. From the top, accessed from the inside, you can enjoy wonderful views, and the surrounding countryside is great for walks.

The front of Max Gate with a conservatory on the right side and trees to the left

Max Gate

Thomas Hardy loved to wander around his garden at Max Gate and play croquet with his guests. Now you too can wander in the dappled sunlight and admire the squashes ripening in the vegetable plots or the chrysanthemums in the cut-flower bed, and have a game of croquet on the same spot that Hardy played against the poet A E Houseman.