If you have ever fancied sleeping in a medieval church in England and Orkney, or “champing,” rather than camping, The Churches Conservation Trust has now opened the doors to some of the 347 churches they look after which are no longer in use with regular service from parishioners. The Churches Conservation Trust maintains these different churches, and some are currently used as GP surgeries, artists’ workshops, and even circus schools.
The idea of sleeping overnight and champing in churches was the idea of Peter Aiers, who serves as one of The Churches Conservation Trust’s regional directors. He believes that since churches hold so much unique British history and have so much magnificent architecture, spending the night in them would hold a lot of appeal, The Guardian reports.
If the idea of waking up in the morning to multi-colored lights coming in through a jeweled stained-glass window is something that sounds beautiful, spending the night in one of the churches that The Churches Conservation Trust allows champing in will be a treat.
You don’t need to be a Christian to stay overnight in these churches and you aren’t required to share the church with strangers that you don’t know. You are also helping to fund the upkeep of these old parish churches, so the money you pay is going towards a good cause.
Some of the reasons that spending the night and champing in churches will interest so many people is that you will get the entire church all to yourself, as The Churches Conservation Trust says. You will also have other things at your disposal here, such as organs, if you are musically inclined.
“You get the church all to yourself. Towers to climb, organs to play and so many options for church hide-and-seek – it’s all yours. Where else are you able to snuggle down in a truly ancient space that has not changed much for hundreds and hundreds of years? It genuinely hasn’t been done before (apart from a few weary pilgrims. And monks and a tired vicar or two, probably).”
Camp set up for intrepid journalist & family from major airline this weekend. Church is very nice and toasty despite the snow, sleep tight! pic.twitter.com/XwrR1aizY1
— Champing (@ChurchCamping) February 10, 2017
There are many churches in England that you are able to spend the night champing in, including the 800-year-old St. Mary the Virgin in Fordwich which is located in Kent and is the smallest town in England. St. Mary’s has been in existence since Norman times and here you can find 17th century paintings, 14th century stained-glass windows, and 18th century pew boxes which are made of wood. The Fordwich stone here once comprised part of a Saint’s shrine and is from around the year 1100.
Other churches which you can spend the night in through The Churches Conservation Trust are All Saints Church in Aldwincle, Northamptonshire, and St. Cyriac & St. Julitta in Swaffham Prior in Cambridgeshire. Also on offer is St. Michael the Archangel in Booton, Norfolk and All Saints Church in Billesley, Warwickshire
If you happen to be visiting Orkney, you are able to sleep at St. Peter’s Church, which has a view of the Bay of Skaill and can be found on Orkney’s west coast. Just across the bay, you will find Skara Brae, the Neolithic Orkney World Heritage site. Skara Brae is a site which has eight house settlements still standing that were occupied by Neolithic residents from the years 3180 BC to about 2500 BC.
In total, there are 12 different churches that The Churches Conservation Trust has in England and Orkney that you are able to use for champing and these are available for nightly stays from March 31 to September 30.
Have you ever spent the night in a church before and would you be interested in champing through one of the churches that The Churches Conservation Trust looks after in England and Orkney?
[Featured Image by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]