You’ve heard of glamping, but what about champing? Well, before we get into the whys and wherefore, let me ask you a question. Wouldn’t you like to stay in an historic, beautiful and tranquil building in the south of England? Your own private (large) space and even a wonderful breakfast included?
What’s more, you can stay in these buildings, which are set in their own grounds, usually in lovely countryside, for £55* per night per adult and only £20* per night for children (aged 15 or under). And if you’re a large family or a group (eight or more people), you’ll get discounts and there’s plenty of room for everyone.
Yes, you’ll be camping in a way, as the name suggests, but you’ll be staying in a beautiful church. Most of these are medieval and are no longer used for religious services.
Capitalising on the need for unusual places travellers prefer these days the Church Conservation Trust, the body that manages these buildings, started this experiment in 2014 and it certainly proved to be popular. By 2017 there were ten churches available to accommodate tourists and travellers. You can find out more in the video further down the page.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHAMPING
Its name derived from ‘camping’ and ‘glamping’ because this isn’t a five star hotel experience – I think it’s even better and certainly a lot cheaper. Here are some of the things you need to know.
- Many people ask if guests needs to be Christians to stay in one of the churches. The answer is no! And if you want to take along your favourite booze the church isn’t going to frown on that either
- Champing is only available between May and September. This is because these ancient churches have no heating. Guests should bring their own sleeping bags but camp beds are provided
- When these churches were built, electricity was something that wouldn’t be invented for hundreds of years. However, lighting is supplied – usually lanterns and battery-operated candles. Real candles are not allowed due to the fire risk
- Most have no running water but water supplies are provided. Similarly, only two of the churches have flushing loos. But don’t worry! The others have solar powered composting toilets (guaranteed not to pong) which are good for the planet
- Pets are welcome – the whole family can enjoy the champing experience
- A hearty breakfast will either be delivered to you or provided nearby and is included in the price. You’re not able to cook in the churches but are welcome to take along foods and snacks that don’t need heating. The conservation trust has plans to add outdoor barbecue facilities soon
- This is not shared accommodation you and your family or friends will have the entire church at your disposal and be able to come and go as you please. As these churches are no longer used for services, they are not open to the public and your accommodation is entirely private
The money that the conservation trust received from your stay is used to help restore the building and keep it in good condition for future generations.
*Prices correct at time of writing.
FIND YOUR CHAMPING LOCATION
These locations are all within a couple of hours travelling distance from London. Most are set in tiny villages and towns and are ideal for exploring the countryside.
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.