Tour the Tolkien Trail in Birmingham

Enjoy your own unexpected journey in Birmingham when you trace back to Tolkien’s influences for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit throughout the city.

Although born in South Africa, the mastermind behind the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, called Sarehole in Birmingham his home. Throughout the city and its surroundings, Middle Earth fans can walk within Tolkien’s childhood and experience the places and landscapes that shaped this author’s mind.

Tolkien always denied that his work was directly influenced by his life; however, he also once stated that a writer can never be completely unaffected by his experience. Fans see the Sarehole Mill as that which Bilbo ran past on his journey to the Lonely Mountain, the Moseley Bog as the ‘Old Forest’ and the countryside as The Shire. Come and explore these places and more when on a tour of Tolkien’s past and download the Tolkien Trail Guide to Birmingham to help you along the way.

The beginnings at Sarehole

The Sarehole Mill and the wider area played a large role in Tolkien’s childhood, providing him with an outdoor playground to capture and cultivate his imagination. Living across the road from the mill, he and his brother used to play around the structure, often being chased away from the miller they nicknamed the ‘White Ogre’. This 250 year old mill went from grinding corn, to influencing one of the greatest stories of all time and now serves as a museum. Head here to learn a little more about how the mill and area have parallels in the LOTR novels.

Tolkiens Sarehole Mill and pond in Birmingham

Middle Earth Festival

Each year the city holds a Tolkien based event known as the Middle Earth Festival or Tolkien Weekend.  There are historical re-enactments, music, arts and crafts, great food and costume awards. Many people come to the festival in their Lord of the Rings or Hobbit outfits, so don’t be surprised if you see a few Gandalfs and Uruk Hai walking around. The event takes place around the Sarehole Mill and is free to attend so be sure to check it out.

Uruk Hai close up with white painted hand lotr

Explore Tolkien’s outdoor playground

Birmingham is also home to some excellent wilderness including the Moseley Bog found within The Shire Country Park. Named to honour Tolkien and his writings, Birmingham’s ‘Shire’ encompasses different parklands and forests that wrap alongside the Cole River. Moseley Bog is tucked into The Shire full of twisted trees of green, medieval remnants and a variety of animals. The woodlands here reflect those in Tolkien’s writing and helped carve his imagination, as he played amongst the logs and shrubs.

Lake and green nature in Birmingham

For those who want to experience this gateway to The Shire and Woodland Realm with like-minded fans, join a bus tour, which will take you to all the right places. Big Brum Buz have an excellent Tolkien/Hobbit Trip and visit Birmingham have more information on each place. If the fantasy world of Middle Earth is your second home or you find yourself inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien, then a walk around his playground is worth a visit. Park Inn by Radisson Birmingham Walsall puts you a short drive away from your Lotr style ‘unexpected journey’ in Sarehole.