No, it's not another feeble advertising campaign from the New Zealand Tourism Board, this is the real thing. On a recent trip to Birmingham I picked up this leaflet. Tolkien spent the early years of his life in and around Birmingham and it may be that some of it ended up in Middle Earth, as this selection of photos shows.
It's quite common for a trip to trigger an idea. A few years ago I took a trip to Glasgow and saw a painting that sparked an idea for a wood elf army. More recently a trip to the coast triggered a desire to revisit my high elves. The trip to the real Middle Earth, you might think, would surely inspire me to paint some Lord of the Rings figures. The truth is, I already have a sizeable collection awaiting paint, and don't really need to be inspired. I just need more hours in every day. More painting coming in the next few days I hope.