Sunday, 17 May 2015

Hardys Cottage

If an acquaintance of mine were to say to me "We went to a National Trust place on Sunday. It was the birthplace of an author who has a blockbuster Hollywood film showing in zillions of cinemas around the world at the moment. It was horrendously busy - we didn't enjoy it much at all", do know what I would do? I would laugh my head off and say in my best Mr T voice: "I pity you, FOOL. Number one rule of visiting the National Trust; never, ever go anywhere on a Sunday afternoon just after it has been on the telly."

And for that reason I was very worried about my trip to Hardy's Cottage in Dorset. Thomas Hardy was not only born in this cottage, he actually wrote Far From The Madding Crowd there. I haven't seen the new film version of FFTMC but it has had rave reviews and so I figured we would be queuing for miles and having a big row until the Scone Sidekick lost his temper and drove off in a squeal of tyres without us having seen so much as a chimney pot.

But, not for the first time, I was completely wrong. It was lovely and quiet - we were the only ones on the little path to the cottage, which leads through a wood until suddenly there it is:

Hardys Cottage

Thomas Hardy was born here in 1840. The cottage had been built in 1800 by his great-grandfather, who had set up a family business as a mason. Thomas suffered poor health as a child and so his mother encouraged his education, allowing him to become apprenticed to an architect. He went on to publish 14 novels and a thousand poems.

They are very much embracing their cinematic fame by proudly displaying some of the costumes worn by Carey Mulligan in the film:

And it really is an idyllic little place. It's easy to overlook how cold and dark it would have been back then when Thomas was growing up here.

Anyway. I should not have had a scone at Hardy's Cottage, for the following reasons:
1. The cafeteria isn't run by the National Trust
2. I had just had a scone at Kingston Lacy an hour before
3. There was only one scone left and it looked extremely sorry for itself:

Hardys Cottage scone

But I did have it and the staff were very kind and insisted on heating it up for me, as it had been frozen, plus I think she charged me a reduced price. 

However, you don't go to Hardy's Cottage for the scones - even I will admit that. It's a lovely little place that makes a fascinating stop on the Hardy Country tour (Max Gate and Clouds Hill being the two other places of note). Highly recommended.

Hardy's Cottage: 5 out of 5
Scone: 3 out of 5


  1. You are very generous with your scone score. I would rate it a 2, tops. No cream alone drops it to a 3, for me anyway.

  2. the restaurant at The Courts is not NT (well it wasn't when i went) but you HAVE to go in there!! The cake was lovely last time I went.

  3. You are right, Xenia, but the staff were so lovely about it I awarded them half a mark for that.