The Lord of the Rings is narrated as experienced by the hobbits of the Fellowship. That is why we get a rather detailed description of the Shire. And its inns, of course. There would be the Green Dragon, the Golden Perch, the Ivy Bush, the Bridge Inn, the Floating Log, and All-welcome Inn within the Shire.

Walking out of the Shire, things look less hospitable. There's the Prancing Pony in Bree. The Forsaken Inn is reported east of Bree. Much further south, an Old Guesthouse is mentioned briefly in Minas Tirith, and presumably there are more there.


Are there many more inns? Mentioned, implied, or reasonably to be expected?

After all, folks did travel. Not just the Rangers, but less sturdy individuals, messengers, traders, etc. That alone might keep a travelers' inn or two going even in some of the otherwise uninhabited areas along major roads.

Moreover, I'd assume, in densely populated areas people would tend to gather for an evening occasionally (as hobbits did with some enthusiasm).

On the other hands, hospitality seems to be largely household-based in LOTR: well-to-do houses will frequently receive guests, based on various connections or recommendations. Nevertheless, there are many inns right within the Shire.

I wonder whether one might argue that inns, somewhat like smoking, are rendered primarily as a hobbits' pastime in the books.

  • There are guesthouses. Do those count?
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 20:10
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    @Richard That's the one mentioned in the question Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 20:26
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    The Rohirrim seem to have more of a norse-like tradition of mead halls where feasts and beer are consumed over song and story telling. But for the life of me, I can't recall them having any bed and breakfasts. Maybe this is a product of the distrust created by Wormtongue's deception.
    – John Bell
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 11:03
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    Most of the action takes place in uninhabited wilderness; we simply don't see areas with a population density great enough to require dedicated facilities for travelers.
    – chepner
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 15:33
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    One distinction is Pub versus Inn (which may often have a Pub). Addressing Inns in particular, chepner's point about the narrative taking place mostly in the wilderness is one factor, plus the fact that few non-hardy folks travel far in these troubling times. Your average "Let's make sure we can stay in an Inn tonight" traveller doesn't exist anymore outside of small enclaves like the Shire. Folks traveling reasonable distances are tough warrior/ranger/elf types who are headed for specific destinations and expect to camp out "on the road". (Maybe avoiding roads to avoid bandits or worse.)
    – Wayne
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 20:19

1 Answer 1



Those listed in the question are the only inns, taverns, pubs, or guesthouses explicitly mentioned in the Lord of the Rings. Pippin also mentions having looked for inns in Minas Tirith, but found none (emphasis mine):

'Er well,' said Pippin, 'if I may venture to say so, rather a burning question in my mind at present is, well, what about breakfast and all that? I mean, what are the meal-times, if you understand me, and where is the dining-room, if there is one? And the inns? I looked, but never a one could I see as we rode up, though I had been borne up by the hope of a draught of ale as soon as we came to the homes of wise and courtly men.'

Return of the King Book V Chapter 1: "Minas tirith"

If there are any others, they're neither mentioned nor implied. However, it's unlikely that there are any, at least not ones that aren't behind city walls. In The Hobbit, Rivendell is frequently referred to as "the Last Homely House"; for example (emphasis mine):

They asked [Gandalf] where he was making for, and he answered: "You are come to the very edge of the Wild, as some of you may know. Hidden somewhere ahead of us is the fair valley of Rivendell where Elrond lives in the Last Homely House. I sent a message by my friends, and we are expected."

The Hobbit Chapter 3: "A Short Rest"

It's also described thus in Fellowship (emphasis mine):

Frodo was now safe in the Last Homely House east of the Sea. That house was, as Bilbo had long ago reported, `a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep, or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all'. Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear, and sadness.

Fellowship of the Ring Book II Chapter 1: "Many Meetings"

The implication of the phrase is that Rivendell is the last place (if you're travelling east from the Shire, anyway) where a traveller can expect a warm bed.

As anemone points out in comments, this doesn't tell us a whole lot about what's to the north or south, but there's not really a lot we can say about those directions:

  • The north of Middle-earth is what used to be the Kingdom of Arnor, which is barren and uninhabited. Unless the Orcs are setting up taverns, there's probably nothing there
  • South of Middle-earth is Harad, which Tolkien wrote basically nothing about. It does seem likely that there are inns of some sort in that area, but we can't confirm

It does seem likely that some manner of inns or taverns exist in other population centers, if only because people always want ale, but we can't say anything conclusive on the matter.

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    I always took the last to mean last when travelling eastwards. If so, then that is not quite informative w.r.t. the question, since it says nothing about the south, west, or north.
    – anemone
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 20:22
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    If the north is uninhabited, where do all the Rangers live, for example? (A side issue, but still relevant.) And in the chapter that mentions the Old Guesthouse, troups from various (presumably rather inhabited) places of Gondor gather in Minas Tirith for the oncoming battle. So we're not exactly talking about vast uninhabited regions.
    – anemone
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 21:10
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    @anemone I think my last edit addresses your concerns as well as is possible; it may be that other inns, pubs, or taverns exist in other populated areas, but there's no evidence to either support or deny the conclusion Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 21:14
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    I think it is a mistake to place Rivendell in this category. It is capital H Homely, as in gracious, full of grace and magic. It is in a class of one in Middle Earth. Especially considering that this is, essentially the Cottage of Lost Play from the Lost Tales.
    – Yorik
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 21:54
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    I always had the impression that Pippin didn't see any inns because the city was preparing for war, and had closed down a lot of "civilian" business... and also because Gandalf was probably pushing them through fairly quickly. Surely a city the size of Minas Tirith has a great number of inns.
    – DGM
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 14:36

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