The news comes as Hobbiton Movie Set celebrates 20 years of running tours on the Alexander Farm. Hobbiton Movie Set CEO and Co-founder Russell Alexander said the project will take the experience to the next level.
“Since we welcomed our first visitors in December 2002, we have always put the visitor first and focused on continual improvements to offer the best and most authentic experience we can. We are very excited to begin this project which feels like the last piece of the puzzle for the ultimate Middle-earth tour experience.”
The project, known as Bagshot Row, will see the hillside of the current Bagshot Row which currently shares three Hobbit Hole facades excavated and transformed into a series of themed rooms, cosy enough for a family of Hobbits.
The concept designs feature two identical Hobbit Hole interior experiences built side by side so visitors will be led through one of two entry and exit doors to allow for an up close and personal experience inside the Hobbit Hole. Each interior will feature an entry hall, two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and dining area, an equipped pantry and a parlour complete with a crackling fireplace to provide guests with a fully immersive experience.
Canadian illustrator and concept designer John Howe, well known for his work on Middle-earth, has been involved in the concept design for the project, alongside Art Director for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and Project Manager for Hobbiton Movie Set, Brian Massey.
Massey has used all of his experience to land on a concept that allows for an intimate and detailed fit out, but works for groups of visitors to walk through.
“We will be bringing the same care and attention to detail to these new interior experiences that visitors and fans of the movie have enjoyed ever since Hobbiton was first created,” says Massey.
Hobbiton Movie Set co-owner and The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogy director Sir Peter Jackson said “I am thrilled that we will finally be able to share with fans the experience of visiting a Hobbit’s home. Guests will see that, true to Professor Tolkien’s word, a hobbit-hole means comfort”.
A project of this scale will have some effect on tours through the movie set while the construction is underway. Construction is set to begin in April 2023 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2023. Tours will continue as normal throughout this period but will take an alternate route around the construction zone, while being able to get a special glimpse of the project as it unfolds.
To date, the primary tour experience at Hobbiton Movie Set has been a two hour fully guided tour where visitors explore the meandering pathways and see the 41 Hobbit Hole exteriors, followed by a visit to The Green Dragon Inn for a complimentary Hobbit Southfarthing beverage to conclude the experience. The completion of the Bagshot Row project will see this core tour experience increase to two and a half hours in duration, allowing ample time to explore the intricate and detailed interiors of a Hobbit Hole, and some additional time to relax at The Green Dragon Inn.
Russell Alexander says the Hobbit Hole development in Bagshot Row will fulfil a long-held dream to allow guests to go beyond the beautiful doors and see inside a Hobbit’s home.
“We have been working on this concept for several years now and we can’t wait to share it not only with Tolkien and Middle-earth fans but with all of the many visitors to New Zealand who count a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set among their bucket list experiences.”
Bookings for the new experience will be available via the Hobbiton Movie Set website from December 2022.