After a short bus ride (one does not simply walk into Hobbiton), your tour guide mentions a few rules. Basically, don't wander off, as the fence is electric.
Check out A Photo Tour of Hobbiton for the full story.
In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit...
There's lots to see (and I saw a lot). It's actually quite big, for a film set.
It's quite the destination, with a few thousand people visiting per day during peak season.
I wasn't sure what to expect with this tour, but I was pleasantly surprised how much detail there was. They really went all out. It didn't feel at all like the remnants of a film set; more like an active film set or a real place.
I didn't take pictures of them all, but there are a lot of hobbit holes here.
They did a great job making many of the holes seemed lived in (including smoke curling from a few chimneys).
They made them different sizes, so they could use them for different types of shots and different characters.
Hobbits love their food, though probably not this exact "food."
Everything is beautifully maintained.
So realistic, the flowers have bees! Man, Peter Jackson thought of everything.
The lovely Bag End, and the tree as seen in "The Hobbit."
Doesn't seem like enough wood for a whole town. Do hobbits have smaller fires?
They built these spare hobbit holes over the hill from Hobbiton, just in case they needed them. They didn't.
It helps that the surrounding area, beyond the confines of Hobbiton, is beautiful, too.
Turns out, I'm a bit large to be a hobbit.
Warm bread, just sitting out.
Granted, it's warm plastic bread...
In order to make a tree look 60 years younger than the one in the first movie, this one was built. Apparently after they finished attaching all the leaves, they had to take a break from filming. When they came back, the leaves had faded. So they painted each leaf. Thousands and thousands of them.
Headed up the hill towards Bag End.
The party tree on the left (more on this later), and the Green Dragon Inn in the distance (ditto).
The approach to the most famous hobbit hole of them all.
The legendary Bag End.
You can get that sign as a poster. Had I thought it would have survived my trip, I totally would have bought one. Guess I'll need to order it when I get home.
Sadly, the inside of Bag End was a set. Just a bit of space inside here so actors can walk in and out.
Bag End has quite a view. Definitely the best-situated hobbit hole.
From Bag End toward the Green Dragon. I could live here.
As you continue over the slope, turns out Bilbo has a close neighbor. The Gaffer?
There are a bunch of these all over, which is a great way to find your way around. They help add to the overall feeling that it's all a real place.
Check out all the little details.
The field where they had Bilbo's party at the beginning of "The Lord of the Rings."
It was much smaller than I expected. Though I guess Hobbits are rather small...
The party field is to the left in the photo, and the hobbit hole with the yellow door is to the right of the camera. Bag End is directly behind.
Another recognizable hobbit hole. Sam's, I believe?
On to the Green Dragon.
So long, Bag End.
Ah, an old fashioned, original, security camera.
Hobbits do love their ale.
The Green Dragon Inn is a short walk from Bag End (another bonus for living there).
As gorgeous and "lifelike" as it looks, the mill doesn't actually work.
It's an actual pub -- you can get food and everything. Here's an article about the special beers you can get. One beer is included in the price of admission.
The beer I chose, a stout, was quite good, actually.
Despite being quite warm outside under some brutal summer sun, a real fire was going in the hearth.
I didn't have a chance to try the food, but it looked good.
It's the little touches, I thought, that make the whole thing special, like the decorations here.
It's all as lovely as it looks in the movies, which is impressive since in real life most movie sets definitely do not.
One last hobbit hole. They put them everywhere.