Champing: group accommodation in English churches

Date Posted: 17/03/2016

Groups can take camping to another level by partaking in the latest quirky accommodation trend in travel, which has been termed ‘champing’.

Champing - camping in a church - provides a unique stop-over option in various English locations, and gives groups the option to pair a stay in a historic building with outdoor pursuits.

Last year, 1.9 million people visited England’s historic churches, and The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) aims to sustain this show of popularity with champing holiday packages.

Champing offers groups the unique chance to spend a night in one of ten Grade I and II listed English churches which are no longer used.

Champers can choose to sleep under the carved angels at The Church of St Michael and All Angels in Booton, Norfolk, experience the Medieval simplicity of All Saints' Church in Aldwincle, Northamptonshire, or bed down in a box pew at the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Fordwich, Kent.

The CCT is accepting bookings from smaller groups; the maximum number of people able to stay overnight is 16.

Parties of more than eight will receive a discounted rate of £50 a night – it is £55 per person otherwise at all locations.

A typical night champing

GTOs organising their group to champ at a church will find bed and a full breakfast provided. Note that bedding isn’t always provided, and groups are advised to bring their own sleepig bags, althought the CCT can provide bedding at an extra cost.

Guests have the building to themselves for a night’s sleep, with time to explore the surrounding countryside at their own pace by day.

Alongside offering the standard champing break, CCT can also suggest activities to complement stays, including leisurely walks, canoeing adventures, storytelling and yoga.

A full list of the champing churches available is below:

• All Saints, West Stourmouth, Kent
• St Mary’s, Fordwich, Kent
• St Martin’s, Colchester, Essex                                    
• St Peter & St Pauls, Albury Park, Surrey
• St Michael the Archangel, Booton, Norfolk
• St Peters, Claydon, Suffolk
• St Andrews, Ufford,  Cambridgeshire
• St Cyriac & St Julitta, Swaffham Prior, Cambridgeshire
• St John’s, Duxford, Cambridgeshire
• All Saints, Aldwincle, Northamptonshire

More about champing

The quirky accommodation option has recently been awarded the Special Judge’s Award for Best Accommodation at the 2016 Hudson’s Heritage Awards.

The initiative provides a new use for some of the country’s redundant churches, many of which would otherwise remain empty and unvisited.

For further group travel information visit www.champing.co.uk.

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