Journey to the Shire: The very best hobbit holes
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit" wrote J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit. The Lord Of The Rings that followed – and the later movie adaptations of both – helped inspire a thriving community of architects and hobbyists hoping to create their own little slice of Middle Earth. Join us as we highlight the best hobbit holes we've seen so far.
Low-impact Hobbit Home – Simon Dale
This low-impact hobbit hole was designed and constructed by have-a-go architect Simon Dale with the help of his father in-law and some buddies. Situated in rural Wales, UK, the unique home cost only £3,000 (US$4,314) in total, and makes use of local and natural materials in an attempt to minimize its environmental impact.
There's no mains electricity available, so Dale got creative with the amenities. All juice is produced via a solar panel array, while a central skylight allows natural light to permeate inside. A wood burning stove provides warmth, water is pumped from a nearby spring, and the bathroom features a composting toilet. If you fancy having a crack at building something similar yourself, Dale has the plans available for free via his website.
Hobbit House micro-community – Kristie Wolfe
Dressmaker and tiny house expert Kristie Wolfe decided to turn her considerable talent toward creating a micro-community of hobbit holes built into a hillside in Chelan, Washington (US).
Wolfe really made an effort to make the homes look the part. They are accessed by a small hatch door and include suitably hobbit-like furniture, including a woodworking bench and tools to whittle wood. They operate off-grid using a solar power system paired to a battery array, while water is received from a nearby water tower (a water recycling system is also installed).
Wolfe's hobbit house is available to rent, and will also include a communal English pub-style kitchen with vegetable gardens and miniature ponies.
Hobbit House kit – Green Magic Homes
One does not simply build a hobbit hole – it takes a lot of hard work and expert knowledge. However, if you don't have the architectural skills of Kristy Wolfe or Simon Dale, perhaps Green Magic Homes could be of interest. The firm offers prefabricated modular structures that can be made to match buyers' specifications.
Each Green Magic Home kit comes with wooden doors and windows in addition to structural elements, while conduits and ducts for things like water and ventilation can also be added. The homes cost $41.74 per sq ft, delivered.
Hobbit Holes – Wooden Wonders
Wooden Wonders is a small family-run business that designs and produces hobbit holes to suit a variety of needs. It offers hobbit hole-styled playhouses, chicken coops, sheds, cottages, and saunas which all follow the basic tenets set out by Tolkien's classic works.
The firm is pretty flexible and will build a hobbit house suitable for above or below-ground dwelling, in various styles, materials and colors. Prices vary depending on what you're after, but the smallest chicken coop fetches $995, while its largest cottage comes in at $14,995.
Earth House Estate Lättenstrasse – Vetsch Architektur
Vetsch Architektur has built over 90 hobbit-style homes that range from small low-impact dwellings to much larger examples. The firm is also responsible for the impressive Earth House Estate Lättenstrasse, in Dietikon, Switzerland.
Comprising nine hobbit holes, ranging from three bedroom to seven bedroom dwellings, this "Shire" covers a plot of 4,000 sq m (43,055 sq ft). The interiors of the homes look positively luxurious, boasting roof dome lights for additional daylight, large open rooms, and plush furnishings. They have been built with sustainable principles in mind too, and include excellent insulation, passive cooling and solar panels for electricity.
Hobbiton Movie Set
When Peter Jackson spotted the Alexander Farm during an aerial search of the North Island, New Zealand, he knew he'd found the perfect location to bring The Lord Of The Rings to life. A massive construction project involving the New Zealand army then followed.
As the set was built out of easily damaged materials like polystyrene and untreated wood, it was rebuilt to be more structurally solid for The Hobbit films and now stands as a tourist attraction, open to visitors for tours.
If you'd like to visit Hobbiton yourself, the tours start at NZD$79 (US$55) per adult – kids can get in for free and youths cost NZD$39.50 (US$27.5). For that, you'll get a tour through all the movie locations and an explainer of how a beautiful patch of New Zealand farm was transformed into the Shire.
That rounds out our journey to Middle Earth. You can check out more photos of the hobbit holes in the gallery and please let us know in the comments if you live in a hobbit hole-style home or would like to.