Travel - Blogmas Day 5 - Christmas at Stourhead, Thomas Hardys Homes & Hinton Ampner

Blogmas Day 5 - December 5th

This weekend I have a long weekend at my parents’ house in Weymouth, this year we went to 3 National Trust properties, that each had Christmas displays

 Southside of Hinton Ampner


I have visited Stourhead many a time, the house and gardens are based in Wiltshire and is about 1,072-hectare estate. The House Christmas theme was different to each room, so for example, if it was the music room then the decorations were on a musical theme. The Rooms were really lovely decorated.

 The Gardens and grounds of Stourhead are beautiful and are good for photo's my Dad uses this sometimes to take photo's for his Camera Club challenges
A friendly Robin

There is a lot too and see, it's worth going any season - I went in the summer, it's was different to the winter. Even if you have an hour there is still lots of do. For more information about the house, events and opening times is on there property webpage

 Max Gate & Thomas Hardys Cottage

The next two places we went to see is two homes of the author Thomas Hardy. Max Gate was the home Thomas Hardy had from 1885. Max Gate, an austere but sophisticated townhouse a short walk from the town centre of Dorchester, was the home of Dorset's most famous author and poet Thomas Hardy. Hardy, who designed the house in 1885, wanted to show that he was part of the wealthy middle classes of the area, to reflect his position as a successful writer, and to enable him to enter polite society. The house was named after a nearby tollgate keeper called Mack.

The house was decorated in simple decorations, with a couple of Christmas trees. I did not take any photo's on this visit but I did in the summer
I also received an early Christmas present of a Thomas Hardy Book, so I will hopefully start reading it soon 

The next house of Thomas Hardy is his birthplace, which is only 3 miles away from Max Gate. It’s a cottage dating from the middle 1800's

Hardys Cottage

This cottage, where Hardy was born in 1840, was built of cob and thatch by his grandfather and has been little altered since the family left. Despite training as an architect, writing was Hardy's first love, and it was from here that he wrote several of his early short stories, poetry and novels including 'Under the Greenwood Tree' and 'Far from the Madding Crowd.
 This house was very simply decorated for the holiday season,  which was nice. There was also mulled Apple juice on offer, which was not as sweet as I thought. As well as the house, there are plenty of walks through the woods nearby and trails. The Visitor centre is run by the local council and does good coffee

Hinton Ampner

Hinton Ampner is an elegant country manor and tranquil garden sit so harmoniously within the landscape that one cannot exist without the other. The house was lovingly rebuilt by its last owner, Ralph Dutton, after a catastrophic fire in 1960

The theme for this year’s Christmas trail is the Grim Fairy tales, there is a children’s quiz trail. I had a go at the trail which was really good, it was in the grounds though.
The house was decorated in the same theme with each room on the downstairs depicting each fairy-tale, these rooms were beautiful decorated, and the attention to detail was really good
The small church on the estate is also good for a quick look around and is originally Saxon and is the parish church. The church does not belong to the National Trust but is free to have a look in. The shop had a good selection of gifts and house gifts as well.  

All admission prices and opening times are available on the National Trust Website, App or on social media 

*I'm a member of the National Trust, so I don't pay admission prices*

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Nic xx 

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