Inklings Abroad 2025

Oxford, Lake District, and Scotland

A literary adventure to the British Isles to study the lives and works of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and more!

Inklings Abroad 2025

Here's the scoop on this year's trip:

Phase 1: OxfordMay 24 - May 29

We’ll explore the city of dreaming spires, visit C.S. Lewis’s home, tour Lewis’s and Tolkien’s professional colleges, raise a pint in the Lamb and Flag, and discuss the lives and works of the Inklings.

Phase 2: Lake DistrictMay 29 - June 1

We’ll hike the picturesque landscapes of the Lake District, home of the Lake Poets and the birthplace of Romanticism. We’ll also visit the home of Beatrix Potter, creator of Peter Rabbit. 

Phase 3: ScotlandJune 1 - June 8

From our seafront base on the western coast, we’ll ride the train from the Harry Potter films through the mountains, visit an abbey on a distant isle, and hike the Scottish Highlands. Emphasis on J.K. Rowling. 

Our Mottos

what makes our trips different

Travelers, Not Tourists

Although we take photos and buy souvenirs, at our hearts we recognize that the friends we make and the adventures we have are more important than checking off locations on our bucket lists. We wander in remote parts of the British Isles and aren’t afraid to get a little lost.

Challenge by Choice

Whether you prefer climbing mountains or sipping tea by a cozy fire, our trips are customizable to your style of travel in both physical activity and cost.

Creativity in Community

Our trips include optional discussions of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the ideas about truth and beauty that informed their books. We encourage one another in all kinds of creative pursuits: from storytelling and music to athletics and engineering.

Traveler Reviews

Don't Just Take Our Word For It

``The Road Goes Ever On and On``

Footage of the 2016 Trip

Learn More

You've got questions? Here's the fine print.

We’ve all heard of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, whose works, The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, continue to capture the hearts and imaginations of millions around the world.  But few of us know the story of the Inklings, the literary group frequented by Lewis, Tolkien, and other great fantasy writers and apologists of the twentieth century. 

Inklings Abroad seeks to tell that story.

We’ll take you to Oxford, England, the “city of dreaming spires” and the gateway to so many fantasy worlds. You’ll see the Kilns, home of C.S. Lewis, raise a glass at the Bird and Baby, where in their time the Inklings swapped their world-changing stories with each other before sharing them with the world. 

Then we’ll leave the city for the countryside and see some of the locations that inspired the Inklings. These sections of the trip change year-to-year, but have featured Cornwall, Scotland, the Cotswolds, and Ireland in the past. 

For lovers of fantasy and myth, this is the adventure of a lifetime. For more about our trip values and expectations, see this guide

Here is the rough draft of the 2025 itinerary. At this point, it could still change, but this should give you an idea of the trip’s pace and timeline. 

Fly out on the evening of Friday May 23 (or earlier if you wish) and arrive in England on Saturday May 24.

Oxford: May 24 through May 29:

May 24 – Arrival: Arrive in Oxford. Dinner at Trout.  

May 25 – Inklings Walk: Walking tour of Oxford to see sites that were important to the Inklings, such as the Bird and the Baby pub and the colleges where they lived and worked. We’ll read Lewis’ famous sermon The Weight of Glory in the church where it was originally delivered.

May 26 – Tolkien Day: We will visit Tolkien’s grave and some other sites relevant to his life, including Merton College.

May 27 – Lewis DayWe will head out to nearby Headington to tour the home, nature preserve, and church of C.S. Lewis, learning about his life and marriage to Joy from the scholars who preserve his house and memory. We will also visit his grave, where we will read from The Last Battle. Then we’ll return to Oxford and visit Magdalen College, where Lewis worked.

May 28 – Oxford Free-Choice Day: A day to explore Oxford as you wish. Various options TBA, and may include Blenheim Palace (birthplace of Winston Churchill), an afternoon tea river cruise, or ones you come up with. 

Lake District: May 29 through June 1. The Lake District has breathtaking views and scenic walks, and locations relevant to William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. We are still planning the itinerary. 

May 29 – Travel Day: Travel to the Lake District. 

May 30 – Lake District: TBA.

May 31 – Lake District: TBA

Oban: June 1 through June 7. We have a variety of planned excursions from Oban but have not decided the order. These will likely include riding the Harry Potter / Jacobite Train, visiting Iona Abbey, climbing Ben Nevis (or a less strenuous nearby waterfall hike). This portion

June 1 – Travel Day: Travel to Oban.

June 2 – Oban: TBA. 

June 3 – Oban: TBA. 

June 4 – Oban: TBA. 

June 5 – Oban: TBA. 

June 6 – Oban: TBA. 

Edinburgh: June 7 through June 8. 

June 7 – Travel Day: Travel / Edinburgh. Opportunities to explore the city on your own and visit locations relevant to Harry Potter. 

June 8 – Fly Home: Edinburgh has more to see than you can see in 1 day, so we recommend extending your trip another few days if feasible. 

Our trip are open for anyone to participate. We have had youth, college students, young adults, married couples, parents with children, senior adults, and every other age join us for Inklings Abroad. 

We do not allow children younger than 13 to come on our trips without a parent or guardian except under special circumstances. Students 13-17 are welcome to travel with us even without a guardian, but will be more closely chaperoned by our leaders. 

Estimated Trip Costs (plus spending money)

Base: Inklings Abroad (lodging, in country transport, most activities, most breakfasts) 3550US $
Estimated Cost of Airline Tickets 1000US $

As far as international trips go, Inklings Abroad is one of the most cost-efficient options available. 

The base cost for the trip is $3550. This includes all your lodgings, most in-country transportation, breakfasts (but not “second breakfast”), three dinners, the majority of your admissions, and the guidance and assistance of our experienced team of leaders. See the fine print on what is and is not included here.

We offer an “Early Bird” discount of $200 for travelers who pay a deposit by November 1st.

Travelers are responsible for purchasing their own international airline tickets, although we may post flight tips and advice throughout the year. These usually run between $800 and $1100.

How much you spend on meals, souvenirs, and extra activities is up to you. Travelers usually spend between $500 and $700. 

A $750 deposit is required to claim your spot on this year’s trip. We establish an informal payment plan and require the full balance by the first day of the trip.

See this guide for the complete run-down on finances and currency.  

The Early Bird: Each year, a $200.00 discount is offered to travelers who make a deposit by November 1. This may sometimes be extended to a little later. 

 

The Rivendell Scholarship: We may have scholarship moneys available. Scholarships may be awarded to current or potential travelers who demonstrate at least two of the following:

• Interest in the lives and works of the Inklings;
• Alignment with the Trip Values, especially Creativity in Community;
• That they have a financial hardship or limitation. This can include student status, unemployment, unexpected medical bills, etc. This criteria is by the honor system.

If the scholarship is awarded to a potential traveler (someone who has not yet made a deposit), the recipient must make a full deposit within 48 hours in order to accept the scholarship. Otherwise the scholarship will be treated as declined. Scholarship decisions will usually be made by the end of October. Click here to apply

 

The Bilbo Discount: Inklings Abroad reserves the right to offer special discounts to travelers who join the trip in the final weeks (or, like Bilbo, days) leading up to the trip if we still have open spots to fill. This discount will be offered only in exceptional circumstances where the trip would otherwise lose money on empty rooms and bus seats. The Bilbo Discount also helps to mitigate the additional costs for travelers that are inherent in last minute travel, such as expensive flights, expedited passport renewal fees, and limited savings/PTO. 

  • Most of the lodgings we frequent are old favorites, ones that we’ve enjoyed our stay at over and over again. We stay in a variety of locations, including hotels, clean & safe hostels, bed and breakfasts, castles, and monasteries;

  • You will only ever share a room with people from our group and of the same gender;

  • All lodgings should have breakfast included each day. 

Read more about lodgings here.

Good question. On one hand, there will be a lot of walking. Some of the coolest things you’ll see on this trip are things that only your legs can carry you to. This is how we steer clear of the crowds and stay off the beaten path. There are also long periods of remaining on one’s feet, such as waiting in airports or in customs, navigating through various train stations, and exploring museums and castles. 

On the other hand, most running and serious hiking is, as we like to call it, “challenge by choice.” Expect once or twice to have to sprint with your luggage to catch up with whatever train is trying to leave our group behind, but other than that, you should be fine. In 2014, a woman completed the entire trip on her cane and walker. Granted, she was probably the most epic traveler we have ever had, but still, she gives the rest of us hope.  

For those who savor the physical exercise, you won’t be disappointed. Every day, there will be opportunities to challenge yourself, such as coastal hikes, climbing mountain, diving into the frigid waters of the channel, or playing some intense English football or frisbee during the evenings. 

Optional group discussions are held each evening. They are usually facilitated by Dr. David Conley, who wrote his dissertation on Tolkien’s theology of creativity.

The first 10-15 minutes of each meeting involve a short lecture from David regarding one aspect of Tolkien myth-making approach. The titles of these talks are Fantasy, Recovery, Escape, and Consolation and can be researched ahead of time by reading Tolkien’s essay On Fairy Stories.

After the talks, there is a time for open discussion. The topics of these discussions tend to vary based on the interest of the group. We can go into greater depth regarding the night’s lecture, discuss the places we’ve seen, learn more about the lives of the Inklings, and of course occasionally nerd out over our favorite parts of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. This time is also used to finalize the agenda for the next day.

During the day, shorter talks are sometimes held at the sites we visit in order to more fully appreciate their historical or mythical significance. Occasionally we’ll read from the works of Inklings in important places, such as our readings from The Last Battle at Lewis’ grave or Mythopoeia at Addison’s Walk. 

Inklings Abroad is not a project of any specific church or denomination, nor are our trips designed to explicitly promote the doctrines of any church or denomination. 

Most of the original Inklings identified with one or more branches of Christianity. C.S. Lewis was a devout Anglican, and has since become a household name in American evangelical circles due to his skill as an apologist. J.R.R. Tolkien described his Lord of the Rings as “a fundamentally Catholic work”, and the books and life of Charles Williams are awash in Christian mysticism. 

Certainly then, Christianity will be a common theme of our group discussions. Tolkien’s theology of creativity, as outlined in his essay On Fairy Storieswill be discussed in detail, and we have group readings of some of Tolkien’s and Lewis’s more spiritual works. Travelers sometimes choose to share how the writings of the Inklings have impacted their spiritual journeys. There are options to attend religious services throughout the trip.

However, engagement in the above is always optional. We want all travelers to feel like they can enjoy the journey without the need to conform to religion in general or to Christianity in particular. This was, in fact, one of the traits that made the original Inklings so successful as writers: their ability to infuse their works with beauty and truth while remaining far from what we would call “preachy”.

Our organization is called Inklings Abroad, formerly Inklings of Clemson. The vision of our trips is Chasing Creativity in Community. We want to equip travelers with the tools to pursue beauty and truth through beautiful places, friendships, and works of creativity.

We have been conducting these trips for almost 20 years, mostly to the same set of favorite places in the U.K, so you can trust that we’ll get you “there and back again” in one piece. Our leadership team is composed of a small group of friends who enjoy traveling together. You can learn more about each of us by clicking on our portraits below or more about our philosophy of travel here. You can find contact information for our leaders here.

We will accept travelers until the trip fills up. We keep trips small, usually at around 24 travelers. You can guarantee yourself a spot by doing both of these things:

1. Sending your $750 deposit (or $1000.00 for a couple) before the trip is full. Please see this page for details about how to make deposits / payments

2. We also require travelers to provide some basic information and agree to our terms as part of the registration process

Meet our Team

All of our leaders have a passion for travel, but we also consider ourselves to be Inklings: lovers of creativity, myth, and beauty.

Previous Trips

All of our trips include Oxford and Cornwall, but we also try to make each trip unique by visiting special locations. We have taken dozens of trips to the U.K.

  • Inklings Abroad 2024: We had a special focus on Jane Austen, with visits to her homes and extra time in Bath and the Cotswolds.

  • Inklings Abroad 2023: We spent more time in the Republic of Ireland than any previous trip, spending a full week in Galway and Cork.

  • Inklings Abroad 2022: We had some of our best weather ever on this trip. Featured an adventure to Scotland to explore J.K. Rowling connections.

  • Inklings Abroad 2021: Postponed to 2022 due to COVID-19, but leaders walked the South-West Coastal Path and discovered some new locations for future years.

  • Inklings Abroad 2020: Postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19.

  • Inklings Abroad 2019: Oxford and Cornwall, plus over a week in Northern and Southern Ireland.

  • Inklings Abroad 2018: Featured our usual trip, plus 2 additional weeks exploring WW1 Inklings locations in France and Switzerland.

  • Inklings Abroad 2017: Featured a half week in the Scottish Highlands and Edinburgh, with a focus on George MacDonald and J.K. Rowling.

  • Inklings Abroad 2016: Featured a half week in Northern Ireland exploring the childhood roots of C.S. Lewis.

  • Inklings Abroad 2014: We spent additional time in England, including in Cornwall.

  • Inklings Abroad 2011: Featured added time in Somerset, where we stayed at a historic monastery.

  • Inklings Abroad 2009: Featured a half week in Northern Ireland, including in Belfast.

  • And many more. Our first trip was in 2001.

Contact Us

Fill out the below form or email one of our leaders if you are interested in the trip. Leader contact information can be found here














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