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Champing™ Warminghurst

England / Warminghurst, West Sussex
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Experience a unique Champing™ stay at The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a 13th-century sandstone church commanding breath-taking views over the South Downs in West Sussex.

First there was camping, then there was glamping, and now, there's Champing™! 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.

Champing™ 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?

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre provides the perfect opportunity to experience Champing™ while enjoying the peaceful West Sussex countryside. Nestled in the tiny village of Warminghurst, this 13th-century sandstone church commands breath-taking views over the South Downs, right across to the prehistoric hillfort of Chanctonbury Ring. Large enough to feel like a church, yet small enough to feel wonderfully homely, Holy Sepulchre offers a truly delightful way for four Champers to bask in the beauty of this fabulous building and its magnificent location.

Once you step inside, this incredible space is yours to enjoy.  You'll see the ChampBots have set out everything you need for your stay - comfy, fold-out camp beds, beanbags, cushions and camping chairs, and even brightly coloured rugs 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 and all your cups and cutlery. All you need to do is bring the milk 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 in the South Vestry - 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 (the ChampBots even provide the corkscrew!).

There's also every element of this beautiful church building to enjoy too, so take time to explore everything that makes Holy Sepulchre so unique. The interior dates to the 1700s, including the fabulous Queen Anne coat of arms, painted above a wooden screen of three perfectly carved arches. Find your beds in the elegant box pews carved from silvery oak, while the triple-decker pulpit provides a preacher's eye view of the whole building.  Discover memorials dedicated to the Shelley and Butler families, and don't forget to look out for the clerk's desk (clearly made for a very well-fed parish official!).

Beyond pretty Warminghurst, there's more to discover. With its host of shops, restaurants, galleries and historic attractions, the ancient town of Arundel is a must-visit and just 12 miles from Holy Sepulchre. Be sure to get a closer look at the Chanctonbury and Cissbury Rings, as well as Petworth House, complete with its magnificent Capability Brown deer park! And if you've done all that, don't forget there are more footpaths and cycle trails in the South Downs than you can shake a stick at, so you'll never find yourself at a loose end.

Champing™ 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 stroll to the White Lion Inn at Thakeham, an original coaching inn serving fresh, seasonal food - and just 15 minutes from the church door.  The village of Ashington is also just 1.2 miles away, home of the Red Lion Pub and a range of other useful amenities.

Sadly, the time will come to leave Holy Sepulchre, 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 Champing™ should definitely be on your bucket list. And with the glorious South Downs on your doorstep and this countryside gem as your home-from-home, Champing at Holy Sepulchre is an experience you'll never forget.

Things to note

Champing™ season runs March - September, no minimum stay requirement, Champers should bring their own bedding including pillows, sleeping bags, duvets and blankets (although bedding sets may be hired). 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 5pm and before 10am.

See the video below to find out how the Champing™ team transform an empty, serene church (St Thomas, Friarmere) into a cosy champ and back again, in the blink of an eye.

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The basics

Region: Warminghurst, West Sussex
Cost (from): £49 per person per night
Sleeps: 4
Bedrooms: Varies
Minimum stay: 1 night
Property ref: 757

Facilities

Sleeps up to 4, fold out camp beds, bean bags, cushions, camping chairs, rugs, tea bags, coffee, hot chocolate, sugar, cups, cutlery, corkscrew, bottled water, camping lanterns, battery candles, cabin toilet.

Local activities

South Downs walks, cycling, country houses, golf, Arundel Castle, museum, adventure park, horse riding, swimming, wildlife/nature park, Iron Age fort.

At a glance

  • ChampingTM (Church Camping) at The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Warminghurst in West Sussex
  • Exclusive use of charming 13th-century church for 1-4 guests
  • Up to two well-behaved dogs welcome
  • Everything you need set up for your arrival and taken away afterwards
  • Just bring your bedding, snacks and drinks
  • Perfect for exploring the South Downs, including Arundel, Petworth and Chanctonbury and Cissbury Rings
  • Co-op Store and bus stop in Ashington (1.2 miles); two pubs in walking distance; Pulborough Station: 5 miles
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