Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy's tombstone at Stinsford Church in DorsetThomas Hardy's works are a popular choice for Book Clubs and reading them in the context of the Wessex landscape, in which they were written, enforces how inseparable his writing is from his surroundings. He trained initially as an architect but, luckily for us, his wife Emma encouraged his writing and two years after meeting her in Cornwall, (where he had been sent to restore a church), Under the Greenwood Tree was published to popular acclaim.

What could our book club do?

  • A trip to Hardy's house in Higher Bockhampton near Dorchester (where he lived until he was 34) will also show you Egdon Heath which features in Return of the Native.
  • At Stinsford Church, (Mellstock in his novels) Hardy's heart is buried with his first wife, Emma. The rest of his ashes are interred in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
  • Max Gate was designed by Hardy and was his residence for 43 years. You can enjoy a tour of this building which, today, is a private home.
  • Visit the Dorset County Museum which houses Hardy memorabillia, including a faithfull reproduction of his study. (Dorchester was Casterbridge in his novels.)
  • Cloud's Hill belonged to Hardy's great friend T E Lawrence, AKA Lawrence of Arabia. Enjoy a visit to the house and then a 3-mile circular walk which takes you past a picnic spot and vantage point on the top of the hill.

Anything else of interest in the area?

Recommended reading for your book club

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy the Time Torn Man by Claire Tomalin

Recommended viewing for your book club

Far from the Madding Crowd (1967)
Starring Julie Christie as Bathsheba Everdene, Terence Stamp as Sargeant Troy, Peter Finch as William Boldwood and Alan Bates as Gabriel Oak.

Tess (1979)
Starring Nastassja Kinski as Tess and Peter Firth as Angel Clare.

Jude (1996)
Starring Christopher Eccleston as Jude and Kate Winslett as Sue Bridehead.

The Woodlanders (1989)

Starring Rufus Sewell as Giles Winterbourne and Emily Woof as Grace Melbury.

Book Club Tours look forward to welcoming you to Dorset for your Thomas Hardy tour.


Book Club Tours LLP, 33 Broad Lane, Hampton, Middlesex TW12 3AL • Tel: 020 8979 2285