Tonight, Janetta and I went to Hobbiton for a 4 hour banquet feast and tour.  It was about double the cost of a regular tour, but was completely worth it.  By doing the evening tour, we were able to be the only group in Hobbiton at the time (I would have been mad if other people were in all my photos), plus we got to have a drink at the Green Dragon, enjoy a massive hobbit feast, and see Hobbiton at night.  It was so wonderful, and lived up to everything I hoped it would be.

A little history on how this location came to be chosen.  When Peter Jackson was 18 he read Lord of the Rings, and happened to be driving through this area and thought it would make the perfect Shire.  Fast forward many years and a location scout showed up on Ian Alexander’s door.  However he arrived in the middle of a rugby game, so Ian was quick to to just allow the scout to walk around his 100 acre alone so he and his family could continue to watch the game.

A few months later, Peter Jackson showed up at their door with the scout and asked if they could use part of the Alexander farm to shoot Lord of the Rings. They had forgotten all about the scout’s visit, and Ian had no idea what the Lord of the Rings was.  But his son Russell knew, and when his dad was about to say no, he kicked him under the table and got his dad to agree.

Part of the agreement was that they could use the 12 acres they requested for the farm on the condition that they return it to its original state after. Peter Jackson agreed and so the sets were temporarily built.  When they went to remove them after, a huge storm occurred so they put off the rest of the set demolition for 6 months.  During this time the Alexander family realized the tour potential and started running tours with the remaining temporary structures.

When Peter came by a few years ago asking if they could use the land for The Hobbit films and they readily agreed on the condition that it be built permanently so they could run tours after filming finished.  Peter agreed, and they started running the Hobbiton tours the day after filming was complete.  Since then they have up to 3,000 visitors a day, so it was very good for the family that Russell convinced his dad to let them use a small part of the farm for the set.