Thomas Hardy's Study
Dorset County Museum
A visit to Dorset will soon tell you why this wonderful, contrasting landscape has been the inspiration for some of Britain's favourite writers.
Thomas Hardy, internationally renowned poet and novelist, spent most of his life here adopting Wessex (Dorset) as the fictional setting for his novels including 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' or 'The Mayor of Casterbridge'. The Dorset County Museum's Hardy Exhibition includes a reconstruction of Hardy's study and is a must-see for any Hardy fan. Max Gate, the Dochester town house where he lived his later years is also a must on any Hardy fan's list. Discover the heart of Hardy's Wessex by following the Hardy Trail or pick up more detailed location guidebooks to each novel from the Dorchester Tourist Information Centre.
Jane Austen was a frequent visitor to Lyme Regis where she wrote 'Persuasion' and John Fowles set his classic novel 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' in and around the town.
Follow the Enid Blyton trail for your own Dorset adventure! The famous children's author stayed in Purbeck regularly and some of her best known works were inspired by the area. Visit Ginger Pop in Corfe village, the shop dedicated to her work.
William Barnes, friend of Thomas Hardy and T.E. Lawrence, famously wrote in Dorset dialect putting Dorset landscape into poetry. See Barnes' commemorative statue at St Peter's Church in Dorchester. T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) lived at Clouds Hill near Bovington and is buried in the village of Moreton.
Dorset is home to many writers, including childrens writer and illustrator Babette Cole, author of 'Mummy Laid an Egg' and Rachel Billington, author of 'A Woman's Age'. The classic novel 'Moonfleet' by John Meade Faulkner was based in Chesil Beach as was Ian McEwans's 'On Chesil Beach'. Dorset based crime writer Minette Walters used Dorset sites in many of her novels including 'The Shape of Snakes'.
Most recently, local writer Chris Chibnall (United, Law and Order: UK, Doctor Who) has found inspiration from the Jurassic Coast and written and created Broadchurch. Chris says "It's a love letter to the landscape of West Dorset, where I've lived for the best part of a decade. The landscape informs the drama: the cliffs, the sea, the beach are all key elements of the story"
Dorset resident Julian Fellowes became internationally famous when his 'Gosford Park' screenplay won an Oscar. Fellowes has also written 'The Young Victoria', a 2009 film starring Emily Blunt, 'From Time to Time', a 2010 film adaptation starring Dame Judy Dench and the hugely acclaimed TV series, 'Downton Abbey'.
So if you want to find your own artistic inspiration, track down locations used by these great authors or simply relax with a book on holiday - look no further than Dorset!