- Visit Thomas Hardy's birthplace and the town house he designed and lived in until his death
- Enjoy a private tour of the lovely home of the Earl and Countess of Sandwich, a location in the 2015 Far From the Madding Crowd movie
- Visit the world's only managed colony of nesting mute swans
- Hike a spectacular stretch of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site
- Visit a privately owned former watermill with a special garden in a tiny hamlet and have a cup of tea with the owner
It really is still possible to be Far from the Madding Crowd in rural Dorset. Thomas Hardy used the towns and villages he knew and loved for the backdrop to his novels and poetry and we follow in his footsteps to find a landscape where little has changed in a century or more. We hike quiet lanes, past thatched cottages and through delightful villages, market towns and tiny harbors. We visit a traditional family brewery and taste the ale! We get a magnificent view from the sea of the 185 million years of the earths history in the stunning Jurassic Coast cliffs and coast.
Sunday Overnight: BridgeHouse Hotel
Monday Overnight: BridgeHouse Hotel
Tuesday Overnight: BridgeHouse Hotel
We transfer just a few miles towards the coast to Bridport (Hardy's Port Bredy). A thriving, busy market town, we take a tour of the UKs only thatched brewery, still brewing cask ales after more than two centuries. We then walk in pleasant fields by the River Brit to West Bay “ Bridport's harbor. The top rating TV series Broadchurch is filmed here and the iconic golden cliffs are a wonderful sight. We take a boat ride (weather permitting) westwards to Lyme Regis, for amazing views of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site from the sea. After lunch in pretty, old-worlde Lyme we take a Literary Trail around the town and see the famous harbor wall, the Cobb, immortalized in the movie The French Lieutenants Woman, starring Meryl Streep. This evening we have dinner in a local restaurant in Beaminster.
Wednesday Overnight: BridgeHouse Hotel
Thursday Overnight: Summer Lodge Country House
Friday Overnight: Summer Lodge Country House
"It's fabulous; you meet interesting people, so well-planned, such fun"
Terrain: Pastoral countryside, coastal walking, village lanes and some hills. 7-12 miles walking per day.
(Single Supplement $565.00)
Arrival: Crewkerne Rail Station
Departure: Dorchester South Rail Station
Hotels - Where we stay
In the heart of Beaminster (Emminster in Hardys Wessex), 700-year-old BridgeHouse is a Dorset country house hotel thats full of character. One of the oldest buildings in this small, unspoiled town, originally a home for a dozen priests, it is now a luxury boutique-style hotel. The public rooms reflect the building's history, from its medieval origins to the paneled Georgian dining room and there is a private, walled garden. Each of the 13 guest rooms has been individually styled, all are ensuite, with modern bathrooms, bathrobes, toiletries, flat screen TV, free Wi-Fi, digital telephone, tea and coffee making facilities. With some of Britain's finest farmers, growers and fishermen on the doorstep, the hotel's restaurant - the Beaminster Brasserie - has a reputation for home-grown fresh and modern British food served in a choice of dining areas including al fresco.
Summer Lodge Country House
A fine listed Georgian house in the picturesque village of Evershot, the hotel, part of which was designed by Thomas Hardy, is set in four acres of beautiful gardens and grounds with a croquet lawn, heated pool and spa. It adjoins a 600-acre deerpark. Built in 1798 as a dower house by the 2nd Earl of Ilchester, the property was enlarged in 1893 with a second floor added by the 6th Earl who commissioned his friend and local author, Thomas Hardy, (an architect by profession) to draw up the plans. Each of the 20 individually decorated bedrooms has a plasma-screen TV, DVD player, radio, air conditioning, and complimentary high-speed WiFi. Luxury toiletries, fresh fruit, scented candles and homemade shortbread are also provided. Dine in the hotel's renowned restaurant and enjoy traditional English dishes tempered with a twist of modern European, offering fine ingredients, many sourced locally and from the hotel gardens.
Start planning your trip
What Is Included in the Price of My Vacation
- Full-time services of two staff - a Walk Leader and Walk Manager
- A backup vehicle for resting walkers and moving luggage
- Comprehensive Travel Information Package and Reading List
- Diverse itineraries with an emphasis on history, geography, culture, peoples, flora and fauna
- Demonstrations, wine tasting, admissions to museums and historic sites
- All ground transfers (ferries, cable cars, trains, etc.)
- Maps and unique souvenirs to commemorate your trip
- First-class accommodations with cultural and historical interest
- All meals - with choices - (Special dietary requirements? No problem!)
- Wine with dinner
- On-trail snacks and refreshments
- All gratuities at hotels and restaurants