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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

London To Exeter Trains

First Great Western run trains from London Paddington to Exeter St. David's Station. Journey times are approximately 2 hours, 12 minutes to 3 hours or 3 hours 20 minutes depending on the particular service.

The fastest trains stop at Reading, Bristol Templemeads, Taunton and Exeter St. David's.

Virgin Trains To Exeter

South West trains run services from London Waterloo Station to Exeter St. David's in times ranging from approximately 2 hours, 50 minutes to 3 hours, 20 minutes. Train frequency is around one train every two hours.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dorchester & Thomas Hardy

Dorchester, in Dorset, is one of England's most interesting, small county towns.

For Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) buffs, Dorchester or Casterbridge as the town is known in the writer's novels is a must-visit. References to the writer's life and works are omnipresent in the Dorchester's quaint Georgian streets.

Dorchester and Thomas Hardy - Hardy's Cottage

Hardy's statue is at the intersection of High West Street and The Grove on your right. The literary inspiration for the Mayor of Casterbridge's house is now a bank on south Street.

Thomas Hardy Statue, Dorchester

Not-to-be-missed for Hardyphiles is the Dorset County Museum (Tel: 01305 262 735) on High West Street with the largest collection of original Hardy manuscripts in the world.

Walking north out of the town towards the pleasant streets near the river is the site of a public hanging that Hardy supposedly witnessed as a child. Stroll here for an invocation of the writer's childhood remembrances.

Dorchester & Thomas Hardy

Hardy's Cottage (Tel: 01305 262366), in Higher Bockhampton, where the author was born, is a small thatched house with a pleasant English garden. The cramped interior gives some idea of Hardy's far from prosperous upbringing as the son of a stonemason, in comparison to the grandeur of Max Gate - the house he had built after his success as a novelist and poet was assured.

Dorchester & Thomas Hardy

Max Gate (Tel: 01305 262 538), 2km east of Dorchester is where the author lived from 1885 until his death in 1928. It was here Hardy wrote two of his classic Wessex novels: Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure.

Hardy's heart is buried at Stinsford Churchyard, north of Dorchester along with his first wife (Emma nee Gifford) and second wife (Florence Emily nee Dugdale). Hardy's ashes are placed at Poet's Corner in Westminter Abbey in London.

Dorchester & Thomas Hardy

Dorchester's Tourist Office (Tel: 01305 267 992) is on Antelope Walk and has some excellent information on Hardy and Hardy-themed strolls around town.

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