Noddy Library at Knoll House Hotel
Literary Dorset an inspirational place for writers
Have you always wanted to follow in the footsteps of Jane Austen and her characters around Lyme Regis or visit Whispering Island from the Famous Five?
A visit to Dorset will soon tell you why this wonderful, contrasting landscape has been the inspiration for some of Britain's favourite writers.
Dorset’s best known author
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'.
Set amongst scenic woodland a short drive from Dorchester is Hardy's Cottage, a small cob and thatch cottage built by his great-grandfather where he was born and raised. Max Gate, the Dorchester town house where he lived his later years is also a must on any Hardy fan's list. Both properties are owned and managed by the National Trust and are free for members to visit.
Discover the heart of Hardy's Wessex by following the Hardy Trail.
Lashings of Ginger Beer!
Enid Blyton was a huge fan of Dorset and it’s where she spent many a happy holiday. The Isle of Purbeck in particular provided the inspiration for many of the characters and locations in Enid’s books.
Follow the Enid Blyton Trail for your own Dorset adventure!
Dorset has inspired many a novelist.
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.
William Barnes, friend of Thomas Hardy and T.E. Lawrence, famously wrote in Dorset dialect putting Dorset landscape into poetry. You can see Barnes' commemorative statue at St Peter's Church in Dorchester.
T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) lived at Clouds Hill near Bovington and is laid to rest in the village of Moreton. To find out more about T.E. Lawrence, why not go on an adventure along the Lawrence of Arabia Trail.
The classic novel 'Moonfleet' by John Meade Faulkner was based in Chesil Beach as was Ian McEwans's 'On Chesil Beach', set to be a Blockbuster film in 2017!
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'.
Visit and be inspired!
With all this literary heritage, it's not surprising that there are many literary festivals across the country which celebrate the power of the pen. If you're a keen reader, the best time to visit is in the Autumn when the majority of the events take place.
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!
Discover the Dorset backdrops that have starred in many a film and TV drama
Dorset is home to some of the most spectacular homes and gardens in the country
Check out our blog for all the latest ideas and inspiration to help you plan your visit
Discover Dorset’s rich and intriguing history and heritage on your trip.