VISITORS are to be given increased access to the home of Dorset’s most famous literary son.

Max Gate, the house which was designed by its renowned former occupant Thomas Hardy, will be open to the public from April 1 until October 30.

The home will be open five days a week and visitors will be able to see the room he used as a study for the first time.

National Trust Property manager Helen Mann said: “Until this year visitors would only be able to see the hall, dining room, drawing room and garden.

“Now we are able to open up more of the house, let visitors to up to the first floor and see the room where Hardy had his study and where Tess of the d’Urbervilles was written.”

New tenant Jacqueline Dillon, an American student and National Trust volunteer who is studying for a PhD on Folklore in Hardy’s works, said she was looking forward to seeing the home opened to the public.

She said: “I am thrilled to see the opening of both studies in addition to the previously opened rooms where Hardy lived and worked for 43 years.

“His most provocative novels, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure, as well as hundreds of beautiful poems were written in these very spaces.”

She added: “I hope Max Gate will be a treat for those who already like Hardy.

“But for those people who read him at school and might have bad memories, I hope visiting the house can give another perspective to the fascinating legacy of this exceptional Dorset man.”

Mrs Mann said: “Jacqueline brings a tremendous knowledge of Hardy and his works to Max Gate and thanks to the support of a whole team of volunteers, we are able to open more of the house for longer this year than before.”

Two other Dorset homes cared for by the National Trust are also preparing to open their doors to the masses.

Hardy’s birthplace at Higher Bockhampton and the former home of T.E. Lawrence at Clouds Hill near Wareham will be open to the public from March 16.

Opening Times

Max Gate is open from April 1 to October 30 this year from 11am to 5pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays as well as Bank Holiday Mondays.

Admission is adults £4 and children £2.

Hardy’s Birthplace is open from March 16 to October 30 from 11am to 5pm Wednesdays to Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays. Adults are £4.75, children £2.20.

Lawrence of Arabia’s home, Clouds Hill, is open from March 16 to October 30 from 11am to 5pm Wednesdays to Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays. Adults £4.50, children £2.