FROM places filled with history to relaxing beauty spots, several National Trust properties in Dorset are throwing their doors open again for free this September as part of the national Heritage Open Days festival.

Take part in a day of immersive artwork along the coast of Studland Bay, discover the birthplace of Thomas Hardy, or stretch your legs exploring the Italian inspired mansion and early autumn colour in the garden at Kingston Lacy.

* Studland Bay Sunday, September 15, 10.30am – 4pm, Enjoy a day of immersive artwork along the coast of Studland Bay. Create sand mountains across Shell Bay inspired by a new artwork by Katie Paterson and lie back in the sand dunes and watch the clouds whilst listening to a new audio artwork by artist Lorna Rees. From 5pm there will be the opportunity to meet the artists involved at the Discovery centre at Knoll beach.

* Max Gate Tuesday, September 17 , 10am – 6pm,

Visit the atmospheric Victorian house which famous writer Thomas Hardy designed for himself and where he lived and wrote for over 40 years. Try your hand at poetry, relax in the gardens, play croquet on the lawn or try the piano in the drawing room.

Visit the study where Hardy wrote Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure, and his poetry study, where he composed all his later poems. Visitors will also be able to meet the National Trust archaeologists who will be revealing what lies beneath Max Gate.

* Kingston Lacy Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22 from 10am – 6pm, Enjoy free entry to the house and gardens at Kingston Lacy and find out more about how to get involved through the many volunteering opportunities available at Kingston Lacy and other local charities.

For the first time visitors will be able to see two rooms that have not previously been on view to the public: a third tented bedroom, one of the last surviving ‘tent rooms’ in Europe, painted to resemble Napoleon’s military campaign tents, and the former linen room.

* White Mill is an 18th century corn mill that sits in a picturesque spot on the River Stour. Visit between 12pm and 5pm on September 21–22 to enjoy free entry to this hidden gem on the Kingston Lacy estate.