VISITORS can follow in the footsteps of Dorchester’s most famous son and some of his greatest literary characters.

Thomas Hardy featured much of the local landscape – albeit with changed names – in his works.

Enthusiasts can see a blue plaque on the building now used by Barclays in South Street which was the inspiration for the home of the Mayor of Casterbridge.

The Kings Arms hotel and the former White Hart pub are other buildings to feature in his works, while some scenes from Far from the Madding Crowd were set at Maiden Castle.

Visitors can also stop off at his birthplace at Higher Bockhampton and the home he designed on the edge of Dorchester.

The great writer was born at Higher Bockhampton in a house now known as Hardy’s Cottage in 1840.

His early novels Under the Greenwood Tree and Far from the Madding Crowd were written there.

Hardy designed and lived at his Max Gate home in Alington Avenue, Dorchester, from 1885 until his death in 1928.

He wrote much of Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure and The Mayor of Casterbridge at the house as well as much of his poetry.

Max Gate and Hardy’s Cottage are open on Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 5pm and will also be open on Bank Holiday Monday August 25.