Cosy down in your very own church for the night with a ChampingTM break at St Katherine's, a beautiful listed church in Oxfordshire immortalized in a poem by John Betjeman.
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?
St Katherine's Church in Chiselhampton is one such wonder, offering fantastic ChampingTM in sensational Oxfordshire. This simple yet spectacular Grade II* listed building dates back to 1762, and is even the subject of a poem penned by famed poet laureate John Betjeman. Filled with sunlight from radial arched windows, and featuring white walls and delightful box pews complete with reading lamps, it's a perfect piece of Georgian paradise.
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!).
Come bedtime, you're spoiled for choice as to where you lay your head. Bed down in one of the box pews with room enough for two, or set up your camp bed in St Katherine's gallery above - a real cosy treat. Wherever you choose, you can be sure of one thing - in a church as pretty as this, you're sure to dream sweetly till sunrise.
When you wake, there's so much more to explore beyond the church door, so don't doze too long! Chiselhampton is a gorgeous little village brimming with country lanes, Georgian houses and timber-framed cottages, all within a short walk of the River Thame. Neighbouring Stadhampton is just a mile away, with a village shop and post office for necessities.
St Katherine's is also perfectly placed for daytrips to ‘the city of dreaming spires'. Just 6 miles away, Oxford is a must-see during your stay, with the Bodleian Library to explore, the Ashmolean Museum to peruse, and shops and tea houses galore. Dorchester Abbey, just over five miles away, is also well worth a visit for its incredible architecture and beautiful stained glass windows.
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 opportunity to enjoy a superb meal at The Coach and Horses Inn, a former coaching inn in Chiselhampton. The Crown in Stadhampton offers great food, as well as the option to take your meals away, while dinner at the renowned Crazy Bear is sure to be an evening you'll never forget.
Sadly, the time will come to leave St Katherine's, 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 this stunning little church as your base, and the whole of spectacular Oxfordshire on your doorstep, St Katherine's at Chiselhampton is the perfect way 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.
Region: Chiselhampton, Oxfordshire
Cost (from): £19 per night per person
Sleeps: Up to 6
Minimum stay: 1 night
Property ref: 336
Sleeps up to 6, fold-out camping beds, cushions, camping chairs, hammocks, kettle, crockery, cutlery, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, sugar, long life milk, corkscrew, breakfast provided.
Museums, gardens, steam railway, punting, river cruises, tree top adventure, golf, cycling, horse riding, wake boarding, wildlife park, Cotswolds.
At a glance
- ChampingTM (Church Camping) at St Katherine's Church in Chiselhampton, Oxfordshire
- Exclusive use of charming Georgian church - from single travelers to large groups
- Everything you need set up for your arrival and taken away afterwards
- Just bring your bedding, snacks and drinks
- Enjoy home-cooked dinners at The Coach & Horses, as well as The Crown or The Crazy Bear in nearby Stadhampton
- Perfect for exploring Oxford, just 6 miles away