C.S. Lewis's Oxford

Seminar at the King's Arms, one of the Inklings' old haunts
Seminar at the King's Arms, one of the Inklings' old haunts

In March of 2023, the C.S. Lewis Fellowship took its inaugural “C.S. Lewis’s Oxford” spring break trip. Part of a 1-credit Humanities course at Providence College open to students of all years, the purpose of the trip is to introduce students to the life and writings of C.S. Lewis in the city where he spent most of his adult life. Activities include a scavenger hunt to give students an opportunity to get their bearings in the “City of Dreaming Spires,” seminars in some of the pubs where Lewis and the Inklings would regularly gather, visits to Magdalen College (where Lewis was a fellow for most of his adult life) and to the Kilns (his home in Headington, just to the east of Oxford), and a daytrip to London, including a stop at Westminster Abbey where Lewis has a spot in Poets’ Corner among some of the great poets of England’s history.

Below are a few highlights from the most recent trip.

Highlights from C.S. Lewis's Oxford 2024

Scavenger Hunt

Ella Bloom (l., PC ’27) and Adam Aguiar (r., PC ’26) posing at a lamp post near the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin, where Lewis preached “The Weight of Glory” in 1941. The lamp post (along with the nearby “Narnia Door”) is one of the stops on the trip scavenger hunt.

“Going to Oxford over spring break for a week was honestly the best experience of my life. I learned so much academically, and also culturally…. It truly is something I will never forget, and I can say with full confidence that this is the best trip I have been on and the best experience in my life. We were able to get a mix of everything: city life, old Oxford architecture, academics, religion (both Anglican and Catholic), London, Oxford night life, and most importantly C.S. Lewis.” Adam Aguiar, PC ’26

“This spring break trip to Oxford was truly the best taste of study abroad. The people I met and the places I saw will remain in my heart and call me to return someday.” Ella Bloom, PC ’27

Halle Beranek (PC '24) and Casey Burgess (PC '25) at the Covered Market
Halle Beranek (PC '24) and Casey Burgess (PC '25) at the Covered Market
Adam Ella Lamp Post
Kilns 2024 Vertical

The Kilns

The group visited the Kilns, Lewis’s home for most of his adult life in the town of Headington, where we learned about Lewis’s life from two expert tour guides. From there we headed to Lewis’s parish church, Holy Trinity, and his grave on the same site.

“I really loved C.S. Lewis’s Oxford trip because it gave a rare insight into a world-famous author by bringing us to the places that inspired and gave home to the creation of renowned books such as The Chronicles of Narnia.” Halle Beranek, PC ’24

“The C.S. Lewis trip to Oxford offers a unique glimpse into the life of one of the world’s greatest writers. It’s an immersive experience where you not only learn about his literary contributions but also gain so many insights into his personal life, relationships, and spiritual journey.” John Paul Brissette, PC ’26

Students praying and reflecting at Holy Trinity, Lewis's parish church
Students praying and reflecting at Holy Trinity, Lewis's parish church

Afternoon Tea

Sipping on afternoon tea at the Vaults and Garden Cafe while discussing Lewis’s classic fantasy story, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Most days the routine was to give students a free morning in which they could explore the city (and do some last-minute reading), followed by an afternoon seminar in either one of the many pubs Lewis and the Inklings frequented or (as in this picture) over afternoon tea. The goal of the trip is not simply to read Lewis’s writings, but to experience a bit of the world he inhabited and that shaped his character and his writings. Many students have commented on how much reading and discussing Lewis’s works in this setting gave them a deeper appreciation for the man and a more profound understanding of his thought.

“The week we spent in Oxford was one of the most unique and special experiences I’ve ever had.  I’m so grateful that I was able to go, and I feel like I learned so much.” Liz Varous, PC ’25

V&G
The Lewis Memorial at Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey
The Lewis Memorial at Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey
In front of the "New Building" at Magdalen College
In front of the "New Building" at Magdalen College
Lewis's grave, Holy Trinity Church, Headington
Lewis's grave, Holy Trinity Church, Headington

Duc in Altum

Blackfriars

C.S. Lewis’s Oxford is a Duc in Altum immersion trip, sponsored by the Providence College Humanities Program, and is made possible in part by the support of generous benefactors.

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