Study Day Trips 2022

Day Trip: Hardy's Wessex - the Landscape that Inspired a Writer

Monday 25 July

Thomas Hardy by William Strang

The day includes: 


Executive Minibus travel from pick-up points: SouthamptonWimborneBlandford and Poundbury

to Summer Lodge Country House Hotel in Evershot.


  • 10.00 Talk on Hardy and the Artists
  • 11.00 Refreshments and pastries 
  • 11.30 Dorset County Museum in Dorchester where we will have a unique opportunity to take a special guided tour of the museum and exhibition with Harriet Still who is one of the UK’s leading experts on Thomas Hardy and the curator for the 2022 Hardy Celebration. 
  • Return by minibus to Summer Lodge for a sandwich lunch
  • Tour of the hotel’s beautiful garden led by the Head GardenerRobin Andrews, who worked at The National Trust for 30 years (former head gardener at Dunster Castle, Somerset). 
  • Visit to the village of Evershot, known as Evershead in Hardy’s fictional literary landscape of Wessex
  • Delicious cream tea at the Acorn Inn, a 16th century coaching inn known as The Sow and Acorn in several of Hardy’s works, including A Group of Noble Dames (collection of short stories), An Indiscretion in the Life of an Heiress and Tess of the d'Urbervilles
  • Return journey by minibus


Hardy’s Wessex Celebration 2022 is being held across Dorset MuseumPoole MuseumSalisbury Museum and Wiltshire Museum, with each presenting a different aspect of Hardy’s life, inspirations and work:


Take a fresh look at the Victorian novelist and poet, Thomas Hardy, in the stunning Wessex landscapes that shaped his view of the world. His story will be retold in exciting new ways by our museum collections, from period costumes to personal letters, art to archaeology.


  • Four exhibitions, each exploring a different Hardy theme
  • A treasure trove of objects that give personal insights into Thomas Hardy’s life
  • Many of the objects have never been on public display before
  • Each exhibition has a star object on loan from a national museum


This will be the largest collection of Thomas Hardy objects ever displayed at one time, with the Dorset Museum exploring: 


Hardy’s views on social tensions and animal welfare. Famous as a novelist, poet and social commentator, Hardy never lost touch with his experience of the working-class lives and poverty of rural Dorset.  Paintings, writing, costume and drawings will bring his writing and personality to life. The painting ‘The Village Choir’ by Thomas Webster (loaned by the Victoria and Albert Museum), for example, provides a snapshot of the rural musicians Hardy grew up with and wrote about in his novels.


Hardy had family pets and designed and carved his dog, Wessex’s, tombstone himself. He was also deeply concerned about the welfare of animals and became friends with early animal rights activists. He wrote to the newspapers to protest against performing animals, wrote poems criticising blood sports, and published novels about the link between people and animals



The cost of the day, which is £145.00, includes:


1.       Executive Minibus Travel to and from pick-up points

2.       Morning talk at Summer Lodge, refreshments, lunch, tour of hotel garden and cream tea at the Acorn Inn

3.       Dorset Museum Entrance Fee

4.       Special Guided Tour with the Exhibition Curator