The latest wacaday country adventure for my backpack was a return to the land of Narnia, a real country for sure and another interesting one, on what has now ridiculously become a 151 country tour of planet earth on route to 200 countries. While there might be 626 countries to visit (and nobody will ever visit them all surely, will they??), I reckon even in my deep depression, I can give it a crack for half way – circa 300. What it means is that Narnia, was more or less my 25% mark – I’ve seen a quarter of the world!! Kind of, but July 2017 wasn’t actually my first trip to Narnia, so I’d be kidding myself. I backpacked Narnia as a 6 year old from my bedroom library…
My First Trip to Narnia
I first read C.S. Lewis books as a child, while attending Bangor’s iconic Kilmaine Primary School. As a child I enjoyed working my way through all 7 of the Chronicles of Narnia as a keen reader of C.S. Lewis’s books. These are the 7 Chronicles:
(in publication order)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
Prince Caspian (1951)
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
The Silver Chair (1953)
The Horse and His Boy (1954)
The Magician’s Nephew (1955)
The Last Battle (1956)
About the Author, Clive Staples Lewis
C.S. Lewis was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 29th November 1898. At the time, the island of Ireland was classed as one country, under British Rule but with a lot of the island voting for home rule. By 1921, Ireland had been split into two countries – Northern Ireland (as it is today) and the Irish Free State (which is now referred to as either “Republic of Ireland” or “Ireland” today.
How to Get to Narnia from East Belfast in Northern Ireland
This was one of the craziest borders I have crossed, and when you consider the fact that I have gone through some of these border adventures down the years, this one ranks up there.
The wardrobe entrance to Narnia is situated in C.S. Lewis Square, which is situated at the Holywood Arches, which is situated in East Belfast, Northern Ireland. I was with my Dad on route to watch the world famous Glentoran FC so we went by car. On public transport, the nearest train station would be Sydenham, and then dander away from the waterside through the heart of East Belfast until you reach the Holywood Road and Newtownards Road corner, which is where C.S. Lewis Square is. It’s also near the Animal Sea in rural Narnia. Somewhere on this map is Glentoran F.C.’s home stadium – The Oval Grounds.
And for those that love to use Google Maps, here are the more direct locations of Narnia:
Arrival at C.S.Lewis Square
So once you are in East Belfast and get to the famous C.S.Lewis Square at Holywood Arches, you are ready to cross the border. I had my passport with me and all relevant documents, but actually there is no visa, no passport check and not even any staff manning the border between Northern Ireland and Narnia. I couldn’t believe it!
In fact what is even more cool and crazy is that the border itself is actually a wardrobe!!
So the border is a wardrobe?
Yes! Basically there is a wardrobe in the middle of C.S.Lewis square and it is manned by C.S.Lewis himself. Except it is a statue, You can get your selfie with him and by the wardrobe before you breathe your last breath of Northern Irish air and end up in the land of Narnia. It’s a very easy border crossing, use your imagination once you are in there, and of course, as it is visa free, you can return to Northern Ireland any time.
- Please note there is NO PUBLIC TRANSPORT option into Narnia itself. Entrance is ONLY via the wardrobe. If you see anyone lurking nearby promising a bus tour or train border to Narnia, it’s a fake or a scam.
- The nearest airport is GEORGE BEST Belfast City Airport.
- The nearest seaport links Belfast with Liverpool and the Isleday of Human.
Other C.S. Lewis Sights in Belfast – yes there are other ways to backpack Narnia and I will cover them again on a future post.
Other Border Crossings I once did:
My video from my time backpacking in Narnia: