New to Host Unusual, a unique concept: Champing!
Churches and Glamping - these two things are never usually found in the same room... until now.
ChampingTM is a new and exciting concept from the clever folk at Churches Conservation Trust. It allows you to experience and stay in a beautiful, ancient space that has been untouched for centuries, something that has only previously been possible for weary pilgrims, vicars and monks!
You're not religious? No problem! Churches are as much architectural and historic spaces to enjoy as they are places of worship. Go ChampingTM and you'll not only enjoy exclusive access and use of your chosen venue, but you'll have one of the most unique holiday experiences possible in the UK, and yes, you can even drink alcohol if you wish.
Host Unusual have five featured locations for you to enjoy, so here we take a look at each one.
All Saints Church in the peaceful setting of Aldwincle in Northamptonshire was the original ChampingTM venue. A Grade I listed space, the church dates back to 13th Century and features a pinnacled, carved tower. The ChampBots who prepare your stay will see to it that you have all you need including comfortable beds, tea & coffee, lanterns, candles. Admire the carved creatures, stained glass paintings, draw, sing, do whatever takes your fancy in this incredible and historic building. Venture out and you'll also find Aldwincle Pocket Park where a host of wildlife awaits.
Up to 16 happy Champers can enjoy this grade II listed beauty, St Michael the Archangel located in a quiet spot in Norfolk yet close to the 26-mile Marriotts Way, linking Norwich and Aylsham. Your chosen church was built in the late 1800s and is French gothic style, with twin towers. It would make great material for sketches and drawings! Here you'll see carved angels in the hammerbeam roof, wood panelling and stained glass; original features abound here. You'll be free to enjoy the space exclusively of course, yet if you want to venture outside, the renowned beaches of Norfolk are never too far away.
One of the joys of ChampingTM is the individuality of the churches you can stay in. St Katherine's Church is a fine Georgian edifice dating back to 1762 and was even the subject of a poem penned by John Betjeman. Grade II listed, sunlight fills the radial arched windows, and beams onto the gallery area which is a perfectly cosy relaxation zone where you can relax and enjoy your awe-inspiring setting. This property also has novel box pews where you can sleep if you wish, or you may prefer to slumber on a camp bed in the snug gallery area. The icing on the cake is this location's proximity to historic Oxford, just 6 miles away.
Another great location close to the popular history city of Canterbury, The Church of St Mary the Virgin in Fordwich is a Norman structure that welcomed many a pilgrim on the banks of the River Stour. Intriguing details can be found in every corner here, from the Royal Arms of James II to a large block of limestone standing at 1.7 metres tall; the Fordwich Stone is believed to be a former shrine and dates back to 1100 - and you can sleep just metres away from it. This is not your standard holiday let... Choose to nestle down in a box pew perhaps? Well connected by a footpath leading to the centre of the city, you can explore freely and easily from your unique base.
Just 9 miles from Cambridge, St Cyriac & Julitta is a stunning marvel set atop a hill in the village of Swaffham Prior. Dating back to 1806 it is a Geogian reincarnation of a medieval ruin, so there is no shortage of stories and fables to recount here. The church decor is light and airy with white plastered walls, high ceilings and elegant slim columns - and you're just a stroll away from the local pub The Red Lion. With space for 16 Champers you can come as a large group, or even solo should you wish - ChampingTM is refreshingly flexible and an ideal choice for those seeking a truly extraordinary holiday experience.