Visiting the former home of C.S. Lewis was an absolute dream. This was high on our list of priorities when visiting England as we’re rather big fans of Lewis in general, and his Narnia series, specifically. In fact, four of our children bear Narnian names and so it was with great enthusiasm that we hoped to take them to his home so that they could better identify with the man himself.
Obtaining permission for a visit and a tour takes a little bit of time and visitors are encouraged to inquire several months before their trip to arrange a tour. Anyone out there who is equally interested in making this a stop on your trip should visit The Kilns website to make appropriate arrangements.
We visited the home with our children who ranged in age from three to eight. There was one other father and son on the tour and the boy looked to be about six years old. Children are welcome and treated very kindly but you should understand that respectful, quiet behavior is expected as the home is presently a residence and a study house. The tour involves about a 20 minute “lecture” with the tour guide on the life of C.S. Lewis. This is a fairly informal affair but good to be aware of if bringing the kids.
Our tour guide was quite knowledgeable about C.S. Lewis’ life and was able to tell us several witty anecdotes about the house, Lewis, his brother Warren, and their life in Oxford. After the “fireside lecture” we were led around to most of the rooms in the house (exceptions being those that were in use by students & residents) which has been lovingly restored to look as much like what it would have when Lewis himself lived there. This house truly is a labor of love from many dedicated Lewis fans and scholars and so worth every effort you can put forth to go and see.
- Although there is a restroom onsite, public use is greatly discouraged. Go before you come.
- When Lewis bought the Kilnes it was set on some acreage. Now the house is located at the end of a residential street and parking can be a little tricky. Arrive well in advance in case the neighborhood has reached its capacity of cars and you discover the need to walk a little distance.
- The house is buttressed up against the C.S. Lewis Nature Reserve which is a nice little natural area which you are welcome to walk through. It contains a pond with a well-kept trail for you to walk around. At one corner of the pond you’ll note a little stone bench. Sit on it. It’s where C.S. Lewis and his pal J.R. Tolkien used to rest and talk.
- The parish church where C.S. Lewis is buried is within walking distance from the house. (You can also drive to it.) We concluded our visit by walking over to find his grave. There is a sign in the cemetery pointing to his gravesite but the sign is not very visible so you may have to hunt a bit. It’s a beautiful resting place though and well worth the journey of trying to find it.
If you go and visit, we expect you’ll have a wonderful time! We sure did and we thank the folks at The Kilns for showing such fine hospitality. It was a real treat to be able to visit.