Snuggle down inside the original Champing™ church - All Saints in Aldwincle, a beautiful ancient space in Northamptonshire.
First there was camping, then there was glamping, and now, there's ChampingTM. Church camping is revolutionising the traditional camping break, giving you exclusive use of some of the UK's greatest listed buildings for the most unforgettable sleepover of your life.
ChampingTM came about in finding long term, sustainable uses for stunning churches that are no longer used for regular worship. Cared for by The Churches Conservation Trust, these magnificent buildings are some of the greatest architectural wonders our country has to offer, and often come with fascinating histories too. So what better way to appreciate one than to stay in it?
All Saints Church is one such ChampingTM church (the original one, in fact), and is found in peaceful and picturesque Aldwincle, Northamptonshire. Grade I listed, All Saints dates back to the 13th century, with later additions made in the 14th and 15th centuries, including the impressive pinnacled and carved tower. Even the poet John Dryden was baptised here. Now, that's a holiday home with a difference!
Once you step inside, this incredible space is yours to enjoy. You'll see the ChampBots will have set out everything you need for your stay - comfy, fold-out camp beds, camping chairs and cushions for an extra touch of home. If you want to move things around just to your liking, go ahead! After all, this is your home for the night, and you're free to arrange it as you please.
Those ChampBots are even kind enough to provide teabags, coffee, hot chocolate, sugar, long-life milk and all your cups and cutlery - everything you need for your well-earned cuppa on arrival. Bottled water is provided, as are camping lanterns and battery candles for when it gets dark at night. There's even a ChampLav set up for you - a dry separating toilet to take care of all necessities.
Forget any preconceptions of tiptoeing round and whispering in the church; as your home for the night, you're free to chat, laugh, sing, dance around - whatever takes your fancy. Kids can run about or play the best game of hide-and-seek ever, while adults can relax back in a camping chair with a bottle of wine (bring your own, or pre-order when booking - the ChampBots even provide the corkscrew!).
During your stay at All Saints, take time to explore the fascinating features of this medieval marvel, including fragments of a wall painting depicting St Peter, stained glass dating back to the middle ages, imposing columns, and carved creatures overlooking the churchyard. Take a stroll through the village of Aldwincle - a charming little place with a village shop - or stretch your legs all the way to neighbouring Wadenhoe.
Nature lovers will adore Aldwincle Pocket Park; a former quarry pit, here you'll find a rookery as well as trees, scrubland, and all kinds of wildlife - from woodpeckers to butterflies. And being so close to the River Nene, surely your trip isn't complete without a bit of fun on the river. Take your pick from narrow boats, canoes or kayaks, or let the world pass by as you try a spot of fishing on the riverbank.
ChampingTM not only gives you a break from modern life, it also gives you a break from cooking. You can't cook inside the church or churchyard, but this gives you the perfect excuse to tuck into delicious fare at The Kings Head in Wadenhoe or The Fox Inn at Thorpe Waterville. And, come morning, why not order a hearty home-cooked breakfast delivered to your church door?
Sadly, the time will come to leave All Saints, but it couldn't be more hassle-free. After your departure, the ChampBots will take everything away as if by magic. You don't get that in a camping field!
Whether you're young or young at heart, part of a group or traveling on your own, a spot of ChampingTM should definitely be on your bucket list. And with gorgeous countryside, a riverside location, and a fantastic medieval church to call your home, All Saints at Aldwincle is definitely the place to do it.
Things to note
ChampingTM season runs March - September, no minimum stay requirement, Champers should bring their own bedding including pillows, sleeping bags, duvets and blankets, up to two (or three if they are small) dogs are welcome upon prior arrangement, children are welcome and encouraged to stay although they must be supervised and no ball games are permitted in the church yard, Champers are welcome to bring their own alcohol, and wine may be pre-ordered on booking. Champers have sole access to their church after 6pm and before 10am.
See the video below to find out how the ChampingTM team transform an empty, serene church (St Thomas, Friarmere) into a cosy champ and back again, in the blink of an eye.
Tried and tested
"We had such a lovely time. Breakfast was amazing and church was amazing. Thanks for having us!"
"Breathtakingly beautiful church. Loved sleeping here and felt safe. Loved the pretty candles."
"A fantastic experience. Breakfast was outstanding too. Thank you so much
for all the details - home comfort/ candles and of course the children
loved playing the organ."
Linda and family
Region: Aldwincle, Northamptonshire
Cost (from): £49 per night per person
Sleeps: Up to 12
Minimum stay: 1 night
Property ref: 334
Sleeps up to 12, fold-out camping beds, cushions, camping chairs, hammocks, kettle, crockery, cutlery, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, sugar, long life milk, corkscrew, breakfast provided.
Canoeing, country parks, zoo, go karting, cycling, nature reserve, museums, archeological site, railway, country walks, theatre, boat trips, horse riding.
At a glance
- ChampingTM (Church Camping) at All Saints Church, Aldwincle in Northamptonshire
- Exclusive use of magnificent medieval church - from single travellers to large groups of up to 12
- Everything you need set up for your arrival and taken away afterwards
- Just bring your bedding, snacks and drinks
- Breakfast can be delivered each morning by request
- Explore pretty Aldwincle and nearby Wadenhoe; ideally placed for activities on River Nene
- Village shop in Aldwincle; two pubs in walking distance