C.S.Lewis Tour and Festival
CS Lewis Experience
CS Lewis Tour & Festival
Universities & Colleges
The C S Lewis Tour and Festival in Belfast
Join us for the C S Lewis Tour and Festival in celebration of the life of Belfast author C S Lewis.
Lewis enthusiasts from all over the world are familiar with the significance of the month of November. On 29 of November 1898 C S Lewis was born in Belfast. He died on 22 November 1963 the same day that former U S President JF Kennedy died in Dallas Texas. In Belfast, Northern Ireland, each November we celebrate the C S Lewis Festival with a week of events including tours, theatrical productions, lectures, talks, films, poetry workshops and artwork. The festival in 2016 will be special because of the launch in Belfast of a new feature of larger than life sculptures to mark the city's link with Lewis and his work. Learn more about Lewis’s work, celebrate his life, see his birthplace, school, family home and the Church where he was baptised. Explore the City that shaped his early life and the landscapes across Northern Ireland that formed his earliest memories.
It will be winter and not quite Christmas but you will enjoy the glow from crackling log fires at destinations such as the Crawfordsburn Inn, the hospitality of the Millside restaurant in the 18th century village of Grace Hill, the welcome of the Heritage Experience team and the warm friendship of other Lewis enthusiasts. The C S Lewis Festival is a perfect build-up to Thanksgiving and to the celebration of Christmas.
The tour will include:
7 Nights accommodation and breakfast in the centrally located Jurys Inn, Belfast
Tours of Lewis’s Belfast, the stunning North Antrim coast, the County Down that Lewis loved and to historic Lissan House in County Tyrone. All tours will be lead by Sandy Smith – Author of C S Lewis and the Island of his Birth.
Dinner on 4 evenings, leaving 3 for dining as a personal choice.
Lunch will be provided on two of the days as part of the programme leaving flexibility for the others.
A visit to Titanic Belfast.
Participation in the festival events.
You will arrange to arrive in Belfast, Northern Ireland by 2PM. After checking in to the centrally located Jurys Inn there will be time to freshen up before meeting the Heritage Experience team. There will be a briefing session, a meeting with the group and a short overview of Belfast. After a couple of hours of welcome down time, dinner will be provided at the historic and snug
at Crawfordsburn. The Old Inn dates back to 1614 and is the oldest established Inn in Ireland to have functioned continuously as an Inn. A short introduction to Lewis’s Belfast will be outlined after dinner.
After a hearty breakfast the group is invited for a short reception to the Ulster Scots Community Network. Here, the background to the Lewis family arriving in Ulster will be set in its historical context before we explore C S Lewis’s Belfast. Before lunch in the Eagles Nest we will commence the C S Lewis Tour of Belfast. After lunch in the Castlereagh hills we will complete the Belfast tour. Evening dinner will be selected on the basis of personal choice and will be chosen to facilitate items of interest in the Belfast C S Lewis festival.
We will leave Jurys Inn by coach to take in County Down of which C S Lewis said,
Heaven would be Oxford, set in the middle of County Down!
We will visit Bangor Abbey, Downpatrick with its Cathedral, Visitor Centre and the burial place of St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. In the afternoon we will tour the Kingdom of Mourne of which Lewis said , “ I have seen landscapes- notably in the Mourne Mountains – where I thought giants would rise above the next ridge, and only giants will do. Our arrival back at Jurys Inn will be timed to facilitate dining by personal choice and attendance at the festival events.
Saturday commences with the exploration of Belfast’s maritime heritage. It was shipbuilding that brought the Lewises to Belfast and ships play an important part in his writing. We will visit Titanic Belfast, the centre which captures uniquely the epic voyage of the ill-fated luxury liner whose story has captured the imagination of people all over the world. After some free time in the afternoon to enjoy Belfast on Saturday, we will have early evening dinner at the historic Malone House before engaging with the festival programme.
Sunday provides and optional early visit to St Marks Church. This Church has significant links with Lewis and his family going back to 1874. It is an opportunity not to be missed. After morning worship, a short communion service, we proceed to the spectacular north coast of County Antrim. The Lewis association with this magnificent coastline goes back to the years 1901 – 1905 and at the end of the visit you will know where it appears in his writing. The tour will take in Dunluce Castle and the Giants Causeway. We will have early evening dinner in the 18the century village of Grace Hill , an early Moravian settlement before returning to Belfast to participate in the Festival programme.
The itinerary for today is made special by a visit to the walled City of Derry in County Londonderry. These walls have been made famous by the siege of 1690 and are a feature of any visit to the Maiden City. After lunch we travel briefly to Donegal where Lewis spent a summer holiday in 1915 and which later gave rise to his famous literary term Donegality. We return to Jury’s in the early evening to allow dinner of personal choice and engagement with the Festival Programme.
The final day of the tour reaches a climax with a tour to Lissan House in County Tyrone. You may have wondered how C S Lewis came to have Staples in his name. Today the mystery will unravel with a visit to Lissan House the historic home of the Staples family C S Lewis’s maternal ancestors. We will have lunch at Lissan and explore the history of the family and the house. The evening ends with the festival dinner, a black tie event with a fascinating after dinner intrigue.
Sadly, all great tours come to and end and after breakfast at Jurys Inn it is time to begin the return Journey. However the journey is delightfully to home and in time for Thanksgiving but equipped with lasting memories and information about C S Lewis and the Island of His Birth.
Sharing Accommodation: £1300 per person
20 Spaces Available
Single Accommodation: £1575 per person
10 Spaces Available
Reserve with a deposit of £315
Your Tour Guide >
Sandy Smith is a director with Heritage Experience. Prior to the company being established, Sandy has enjoyed several other fascinating posts since graduating from Queen’s University, Belfast in 1973.
After joining Goodyear International he took a lecturing post at the University of Ulster until 1988 when he moved to the Department for Education as inspector of schools and colleges. In 2002 he became joint Director General with the International Fund for Ireland and in 2010 he joined the Board of Enterprise Northern Ireland which he chaired from 2011 until 2013.
Across his career Sandy has sustained a passionate interest in the life and work of Belfast born author C S Lewis. In 2005 in conjunction with Belfast City Council he developed and led the highly successful lecture tour “In the Footsteps of Lewis”. This has proved to be a successful tour and participants from all over the world have been enthralled as Sandy conducts the tour of locations in central and east Belfast that have a link to C S Lewis and his family. The tours have extended to meet the needs and interests of University groups mainly from the US to include the north coast and also of County Down for which Lewis had a particular affection.
In 2013 Sandy published his book, C S Lewis and the Island of his birth.
Get in touch with Sandy at
to begin your C.S Lewis Experience.
Booking Details & Conditions >
All prices are in Great British Pounds and are quoted on a per person twin share basis for our accommodated trips. A single supplement is available for our accommodated tours. Immediate booking to reserve a pIace on this tour is recommended. Deposits of £315 must then be by 31st May 2016. The balance is due no less than 90 days before the departure date. Bookings made less than 90 days before the departure date require full payment at the time of booking.
A payment of a deposit indicates an acceptance of all the conditions below by the purchaser and/or Client.
A fee totalling 50% of the total money of the reserved tour will be retained if cancellation takes place 60–30 days prior to the tour departing for tours. Less than 30 days before departure for tours, no refund of the total cost of the tour is available unless your place is resold, in which case you receive a 50% refund on the tour price. If the program fails to fill with the necessary minimum number of participants required, we shall refund all received fees.
In the event that Authentic Ulster cancels the trip for any reason, all fees including deposits will be returned in full.
The cost of any travel arrangements you have made however will not be reimbursed. No refund will be issued to those failing to join the tour, or for tour accommodation or any other services not utilised, or for a partially completed vacation. Heritage Experience reserves the right to cancel any departure in which case no liability shall fall upon Heritage Experience. In this case, participants’ payment will be refunded in full.
All travellers require valid passports with at least six months validity remaining. Travellers are also responsible for necessary visas and health certificates, and must meet all costs incurred to comply with such requirements.
Prices and tariffs quoted for Tours are subject to change without notice in the event of unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, such as significant currency fluctuations.
We reserve the right to vary or cancel the itinerary, accommodation, or services nominated in the tour descriptions should circumstances warrant that such changes would be in the best interest of the client, or for any other operational reason. The commencement of each Tour is subject to sufficient numbers booking a tour, and the right is reserved to cancel any Tour, should there not be sufficient bookings, in which case deposits will be refunded. In the event that Heritage Experience cancels the trip for any reason, all fees including deposits will be returned in full. The cost of any travel arrangements you have made however will not be reimbursed.
Travel insurance is compulsory. Your insurance should provide cover against personal accident and sickness, medical expenses, emergency repatriation and personal liability. We also recommend that the policy covers cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Travellers are required to provide the following information by the date of the final payment of the balance:
1. Name and address of the company providing the insurance.
2. Policy number for a valid insurance policy.
It is a condition of booking with Heritage Experience that travellers over the age of 70 and those who suffer from a pre-existing medical condition provide a Medical Certificate signed by their doctor and complete a General Health Questionnaire before final confirmation and documentation is issued. This Certificate and Questionnaire should act as a prompt for you to consider any fitness issues well in advance of booking your trip.
All Heritage Experience travellers should therefore be of good physical health, to be able to participate in the group travel experience fully.
Statement of Responsibilities
Just a reminder that travellers on an Heritage Experience tour require a degree of flexibility, and you should understand that the trip’s route, accommodation and modes of transport are subject to change without prior notice due to local circumstances. Should Heritage Experience deem it advisable to amend an itinerary for any reason, it may do so by shortening, varying or re-routing any trip. These changes are binding and additional expenses will be charged to you if the reason for any alteration is outside Heritage Experience's control.
While travelling with Heritage Experience you agree to accept the authority of the leader at all times. You are aware that travel within a group may involve compromise to accommodate the diverse desires and physical abilities of group members. You understand that Heritage Experience reserves the right to decline, accept, or retain any person as a member of the group at any time.
You acknowledge that Heritage Experience contracts with a network of companies, government agencies and individuals to assist in the running of its tours. To the best of Heritage Experience's knowledge, these third parties are qualified to perform the duties they are contracted to perform. However Heritage Experience will not be held liable for any injury, damage, loss, delay or irregularity that may occur due to the behaviour of these third parties.
Heritage Experience will not accept responsibility or liability for any traveller who contravenes any law or regulation of any country visited.
No employee, servant or agent of Heritage Experience has authority to vary these conditions.
Do I need a Passport?
Yes, you will need a passport. If you don’t have a passport, please order it immediately. You won’t be able to travel without it. You can apply for a passport online, and at some government agencies including the US Post Office. If you are a U.S Citizen find out more passport information or apply online at:
U.S. Department of State passport webpage.
New airline regulations state that you must have your passport before you can reserve an overseas airline ticket. Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six (6) months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met.
Do I need a Visa?
A Visa is not necessary to enter the United Kingdom if you are a U.S. Citizen. Citizens of other jurisdictions however will need to check
Do I need health insurance?
Yes. You are responsible for securing full overseas medical emergency coverage through your medical insurance provider for the duration of this trip. You should carry a copy of your insurance card when traveling abroad. Your coverage needs to begin no later than the date of your initial departure to the United Kingdom and should remain in effect for the duration of the trip.
Will I need to have any vaccinations?
The United Kingdom does not require U.S. Citizens to get any vaccinations. However, travelers should check with their physicians to determine if additional vaccinations are recommended for travel to the United Kingdom. Vaccinations depend on a travelers' vaccination history. Also, travelers should check the
Disease Control Traveler's Health Webpage
for updates on the United Kingdom.
Is it safe to travel in the United Kingdom?
The U.S. Department of State posts travel alerts and warnings for specific countries on their
Travel Abroad Webpage.
This website also includes tips on traveling abroad that are country specific. Travellers from other jurisdictions may need to check.
How physically demanding is the program?
Belfast is a wonderful walking city. We plan to stroll along some of the paths that Lewis often traveled. You should be able to walk and stand for at least an hour or so and climb a few flights of stairs in order to participate in these activities.
Authentic Ulster may be unable to provide special accommodations for people with disabilities. If someone needs accommodation or assistance, that person must bring a companion/assistant at full price. Also, those who have a health or mental condition that may interfere with participation in program activities, need to consult with their physician to determine if they are able to participate in a physically demanding program. If a potential participant has any questions, they should email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will I have internet access?
The hotels we are staying in will provide wireless internet service, as will many café’s in the area. Check with your cellular phone provider to see about coverage in the UK on your cell phone.
What clothes should I bring for the tour?
The weather will be unpredictable during this period. In November is average temperature is 7˚C. It is essential to bring waterproof clothing to this tour. Wear casual, comfortable layered clothing and comfortable walking shoes, as you will be walking outside frequently. Be prepared for rainy, inclement weather.
How can I exchange U.S. Dollars for British Pounds?
Most British establishments will accept your credit or debit card and that may be easier than using cash. You may also use your ATM card to withdraw money when in the United Kingdom. Just check with your bank and/or credit card company as regards their fees and exchange rates.
If you’d like to have British pounds in hand before your trip, you may check with your local AAA office. You can also exchange U.S. Dollars at post offices and exchanges in the United Kingdom. You can check out this website,
for the current exchange rate.
Should I call my credit card company to let them know that I’ll be traveling overseas?
Yes, some banks and/or credit card companies will put a hold on your account when they see unusual activity on your credit card if they do not know of your travel plans.
How do I get to the Jury's Inn Hotel in Belfast from the airport?
Belfast City Airport, 3 miles (Recommended Airport):
Direct bus link to Europa Bus Centre, every 40 minutes. £2.50. Also bus 21 leaves every 20 minutes from Sydenham to City Hall. Taxi rank outside terminal, approx cost is £8.50. By car: Follow signs from the airport for Belfast leaving from the arrivals end/long stay car park end of the airport, exit via roundabout and under the tunnel to join the A2. Continue forward on the A2 for approximately 3 miles and, when you reach the traffic lights, turn left into Oxford Street (A20 - signposted City Centre). Continue straight onto the A1 (Donegall Square South) and straight onto Howard Street. Turn right at the lights (Spires Mall will be on your right hand side) onto Fisherwick Place. Our Belfast hotel is on your right hand side.
Belfast International Airport, 19 miles:
Shuttle bus every 30 minutes 0545-2320, cost is £6, taxi rank outside airport, approx cost is £25. By car: Leave the airport and, at the first roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto the Airport Road (A57). Continue straight onto Ballyrobin Road (A57). After 450 yards, take the 2nd exit off the roundabout onto Antrim Road (A6). After 1 mile, take the 2nd exit off the Templepatrick Roundabout onto Templepatrick Road (A57). Leave Templepatrick Road and join the M2 motorway sign posted Belfast. Leave the M2 at junction 1a and head straight onto Duncrue Street (A2). Turn left onto Oxford Street (A20). Continue straight onto Donegall Square South and into Howard Street. Stay in the second lane and turn right at the lights (Spires Mall will be on your right hand side). You are now on Fisherwick Place, and you will find us on your right hand side.
From Dublin Airport:
The Europa Rail and Bus Terminal is served by hourly train and bus services from Dublin Airport to Belfast. Within Belfast, Jurys inn is immediately adjacent to this Rail and Bus Terminal.
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Born in Belfast
Island of his Birth
Heritage Experience Ltd.
c/o LEDCOM, Willowbank Business Park,
Millbrook, Larne, Northern Ireland BT40 2SF
T: +44(0)28 2826 9973
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