Champing church

The days of a mere holiday are so passé – these days it’s all about glamping (referring to luxurious camping from a combination or ‘portmanteau’ of the words ‘glamour’ and ‘camping’), staycations (a stay-at-home vacation), and voluntourism (from a portmanteau of volunteer and tourism). Now comes champing – it’s camping, but in a church. Emerging a couple of years ago in the UK, the idea came from the Churches Conservation Trust, a national charity which has conserved some 350 ‘at risk’ historic churches no longer in use for regular worship. The concept was what we like to call a win-win – it involved breathing new life into the church buildings by enabling tourists to spend a night within the once hallowed walls (and raising some money for the upkeep of the sometime crumbling piles in the process). There’s atmosphere aplenty - all of the churches the trust looks after are listed and some of the churches available to stay in date back to the Saxon period (and that’s not to mention the idyllic rural surrounds with the 12 church buildings currently in the scheme located across the UK). Makes for a heaven-sent camping weekend.