Champing heralds prospect of church sleepovers

by Katie Buckley | 20 Mar 2015

The opportunity for ‘Champing’ – or church camping – has been announced by the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT).

Following a successful pilot project in 2014, the CCT have announced that three churches across the UK are available to the public to stay in for a two-day, one night break.

The theme of ‘sleepovers’ in historic or important buildings has been building as a trend for a while in the leisure industry, and CCT is the latest heritage body to be offering guests a chance to spend a night in an archaic church.

Offering a totally different visitor experience, the three churches doubling as bed and breakfasts are:

• Church of St Cyriac and St Julitta at Swaffham Prior, with an awe-inspiring Georgian interior, in Cambridgeshire

• All Saints’ Church in Aldwincle in Northamptonshire, a structure demonstrating Medieval capabilities of church building

• Church of St Mary the Virgin, Fordwich, Kent a 17th-century interior steeped in history.

For £60 per person per night, a visitor will enjoy a stay in one of the above churches, breakfast the next morning and a unique experience. The CCT will also be offering organised activities to accompany stays, including yoga, walking and canoeing.

In a statement, Peter Alers, director of CCT for the south east, said: “It’s great to be able to give guests the opportunity to be the key holder of one of our churches for a weekend, so they can not only enjoy the interior beauty of these buildings, but also head out and enjoy the natural beauty of rural England in the same way our ancestors would have, travelling on foot, dining at the local pub and soaking up the sights and sounds of the country.”

Although fantastic heritage assets, churches are rarely utilised to their full potential with regards to tourism. The CCT has described this project as the ultimate ‘slow tourism escape’ - bookings are already being made, and if the success continues, the CCT will look to expand the project in 2016.

Find out more here.

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The opportunity for ‘Champing’ – or church camping – has been announced by the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT). Following a successful pilot project in 2014, the CCT have announced that three churches across the UK are available to the public to stay in for a two-day, one night break. The theme of ‘sleepovers’ in historic or important buildings has been building as a trend for a while in the leisure
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The Churches Conservation Trust is offering a twist on the traditional bed & breakfast, camping by candlelight in a church / David Joyner
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