As a child, I was a voracious reader….I still am. One of my favorite authors was C.S. Lewis. My mother introduced me to the first book of the “Chronicles of Narnia“, The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe. As soon as I had finished the first chapter, I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to read the remaining six books in the series. So, my mother told me that if I folded laundry for two weeks, then she would buy me the rest of the books. Over the years, I have read and re-read those books countless times, sharing them with my children.
In the summer of 2003, my family embarked on a vacation to Great Britain. It was actually a family tour because our entire extended family came…aunts, uncles and cousins included. We had a large bus, a driver and my uncle (who is a college professor who teaches classes about C.S. Lewis), as a tour guide. We visited Scotland, Wales and finished up in England.
The last full day of our trip was to be my most favorite. We were to visit the home, pub, church and grave of C.S. Lewis.
Vacation to Great Britain
His home is located in the village of Risinghurst, which is just outside of Oxford. The home is generally not open for tourists and is owned by the United States based C.S. Lewis Foundation and is primarily used by scholars.
Our time there was spent viewing the gardens and the surrounding grounds.
C.S. Lewis wrote “The Chronicles of Narnia” in this home where he lived for 34 years, until his death in 1963. Both his home and surrounding landscape played important roles in his stories.
During WWII, he played host to children that were evacuated from London, just as the main characters in his stories were.
Although, I had been looking forward to seeing his home, I was quite surprised at how beautiful the surrounding garden was. I love surprises that involve beautiful flowers.
My favorite flower that I cannot grow, Hydrangea.
The house used to be surrounded by eight acres of woodland. Now, the area is smaller.
I remember how excited I was as we walked around to the back of the house, and were greeted by the sight of a beautiful woodland with a pond. This area is called the “C.S. Lewis Nature Reserve” and was visible to Lewis from his study window as he wrote his stories.
My father and oldest daughter explore this picturesque area.
It is said that much of the inspiration for the land of Narnia came from this wooded area. During periods of snowfall, you can almost picture the lamp post, that figures prominently in his stories, in the distance.
When I stopped to listen, I could almost hear the trees talk as they sometimes did in his stories….
You can read more about C.S. Lewis places to see in Oxford at the following link, “In The Footsteps of C.S. Lewis, Oxford“.