Towards the end of last year, Jess surprised me with a little trip away for my birthday. He didn’t tell me where we were going, just that I needed to get a couple of days off work. He then handed me an envelope, and inside was a picture of a little hobbit house – a hobbit house that was all mine for two whole nights.
Staying at North Shire was one of the most surreal experiences I’ve ever had – the ultimate geeky tourist destination. Nothing will prepare you for a stay at your own Bag End, but hopefully this review will give you an idea of what to expect.
NORTH SHIRE HOBBIT HOLE REVIEW
North Shire is located in the North York Moors, about 30 minutes from Middlesbrough, or an hour and a half from York if you’re heading up from the south. It’s basically in the middle of nowhere, so it’s perfect for a quiet weekend away, but it’s not too difficult to find so don’t let that put you off.
After a long drive, we pulled into the farm and were quickly greeted by a friendly member of staff who showed us where to park. It was very icy when we visited, so the walk from our car to the cottage was a little treacherous – make sure to wear decent shoes if you’re visiting in the winter. It’s the kind of place where the snow actually sets, which is both beautiful and dangerous for the clumsy among us.
North Shire itself is quite big. We obviously stayed in their replica Hobbit House from Lord of the Rings, but it’s not the only fictional accommodation on site. They also had Hagrid’s Hut with its very own powder blue Ford Anglia, and a cottage called Storybook which was inspired by The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I also saw a building called The Green Dragon which I was incredibly intrigued about, but it wasn’t open for visitors.
As a working farm, there were lots of animals roaming around though, so expect to see chickens galore, and roosters too – most of which seem to hang out just outside your front door, and if you’re not careful, you might have a few a few visitors. I didn’t see them on our trip, but apparently there are also goats and pony’s too.
The Hobbit hole was nice and private, right at the top of the site. You don’t actually see it in all of it’s glory until you round the path and come face to face with its circular door. The resemblance is truly uncanny. I actually visited Hobbiton in New Zealand a few years ago – the movie set used in the Lord of the Ring’s films – and this little home wouldn’t have looked out of place there. Even the front garden, with its miniature bench and lanterns would be a perfect fit.
When we arrived, the key was already in the door so we let ourselves in, stepping straight into the lounge. Since it was around Christmas time, we entered to fairy lights glittering and a warm, glowing fire. It was incredibly cosy, and I instantly noticed the insane attention to detail and all the little extras dotted about to make our stay that bit more comfortable – milk in the fridge, blankets, hot water bottles, and a homemade chocolate cake to dig into.
The lounge was exactly how I pictured Bilbo’s living room to look, filled with comfy sofa’s and a big table for first AND second breakfast. There was a little television in the corner, with all the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit DVD’s, along with plenty of board games. The mantlepiece was covered with all sorts of trinkets, candlesticks, oversized acorns, and a crocheted Gandalf . There was also a little guest book where other visitors wrote about their magical stays.
The two bedrooms were the only places where decoration was minimal apart from some books, but they were surprisingly spacious, with big comfy beds and plenty of linen. There’s meant to be enough space for 6 people in total, but I personally think that would be a bit of a squeeze. There were four adults on our stay, and that was just enough room, especially since there’s only one bathroom.
That bathroom though – it was an absolute dream. The entire room was taken up with a massive free standing, roll top bath which you just sank into. It was the ultimate luxury. I could have whiled away hours in that thing – though admittedly it was a little inconvenient not having a shower head. It’s also worth noting that towels and toiletries’ are not supplied, so make sure to bring your own.
Finally the kitchen, which stood in the corner of the living room, was incredibly well equipped for such a small space. There was everything you could possibly need to cook a meal – pots and pans, plates and cutlery, a hob, a mini fridge, a microwave/oven hybrid. We lived on Pasta and Mulled Wine for the few days we were there, though I’m sure you could get a lot more adventurous if you’re staying longer.
I also loved that the kitchen was another area in the cottage filled with Lord of the Rings references, from goblets to massive tankards, there were also these beautiful Prancing Pony glasses which are now on my wish list for home.
We spent the evenings working our way through the movies, playing board games and drinking wine – which is just how a crisp Yorkshire evening should be spent in my opinion. There were a few Hobbit board games, but unfortunately a lot of the pieces were missing so we couldn’t play them, however we had brought plenty of our own anyway. They also provided some Lord of the Rings costumes, so we had a chance to dress up.
Rather gratefully, the cottage stayed nice and toasty. I was a little concerned that, with the snow falling outside, it would be freezing, but the powerful heater managed to keep us warm all the way through the night – though we did have a few issues with hot water. One of our mornings was spent trying to get hold of someone to come and have a look so that we could wash, which proved very difficult in a signal free zone.
I’d definitely go back in a heartbeat though, even without hot water. As someone who spends a lot of her life watching movies and reading books, or visiting filming locations, it was something else entirely actually being able to stay somewhere you’ve only ever dreamed about. I’d love to be able to show you inside Hagrid’s Hut next, especially with Hogsmeade being so close to North Shire.
Address | North Shire, Liverton, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Cleveland, TS13 4TJ | Book Here
What to read next:
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- 10 Lord of the Rings Quotes that will Inspire you to Travel
- 15 Movie Locations You Can Visit With Your National Trust Card
- Five Things Harry Potter Fans can do in York
- Goathland Railway Station | The Real Life Hogsmeade