In 1885, Thomas Hardy and his wife Emma moved into Max Gate, the Victorian home which he designed and his brother built.
Max Gate was Hardy's home for forty years, until he died in 1928 but whilst there he wrote some of his most famous works, The Mayor of Casterbridge, The Woodlanders, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure, The Dynasts as well as numerous poems and short stories.
His two-volume "autobiography," The Early Life of Thomas Hardy, 1840-1891 and The Later Years of Thomas Hardy, 1892-1928 were published under his second wife's name, Florence Hardy, in accordance with Hardy's instructions prior to his death.
Today, Max Gate is under care of the National Trust, as is the Hardy Cottage in Bockhampton. Both of these historic locations are open to the public and are well worth a visit if you are following the Hardy Trail.
Max Gate offers a revealing look into Hardy's personal life by offering a catalogue of the books that were in Hardy's library.
Getting there:1 mile east of Dorchester. From Dorchester follow A352 Wareham road to roundabout named Max Gate (at junction of A35 Dorchester bypass). Turn left and left again into cul-de-sac outside the house. Please note: parking near the house is very limited.