Sleep over in a mesmerising medieval church, soothingly set in a Domesday Book-listed Essex village with beautiful rural views.
  • Sleeps: 1-6
  • Bathroom: 1
  • Minimum stay: 1 night

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?

Up to six Champers can enjoy a unique adventure in this special historic space; a well-loved, Grade I-listed medieval church in the ancient Essex village of Berden, which is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. You could even make your stay part of a Champing tour, since Stansted Mountfitchet is just six miles away!

Once you step inside, this incredible space is yours to enjoy. There’s electricity, hot water, a microwave and fridge, and even a flushing toilet for added convenience. You’ll see the church Friends have set out everything else you’ll need for your stay – comfy, fold-out camp beds, camping chairs, tea & coffee making provisions, just bring the milk for your well-earned cuppa on arrival!

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 (corkscrew provided) in the hazy evening glow of camping lanterns and battery candles.

During your stay at St. Nicholas, be sure to take in the history that lives and breathes in this unique space, adorned with gleaming brasses and American Indian-style high-backed armchairs. The church organ, meanwhile, is said to have belonged to Samuel Wesley; a renowned organist and composer known as ‘the English Mozart’.

There’s plenty to do in the surrounding area, including hand-feeding the tame fallow deer and rescued animals that roam freely around the site of the Stansted Mountfitchet Castle and Norman Village of 1066, an unforgettable open-air museum experience.

Keep reading

At a glance

  • Champing (Church Camping) at St Nicholas Church in Berden, a small rural village in Essex.
  • Exclusive use of the charming historic church for up to 6 guests.
  • Only assistance dogs are permitted to stay.
  • Everything you need set up for your arrival and taken away afterwards.
  • Basic kitchen facilities, hot water, electricity, and a flushing toilet are provided – just bring your bedding, snacks and drinks.
  • Perfect for exploring the fascinating Stansted Mountfitchet Castle and Norman Village 1066 and taking a wealth of nature-walks.
  • Pre-order a continental breakfast hamper or book a full English breakfast at one of two nearby pubs.


  • Disability Accessible
  • Family Friendly


Sleeps up to 6, fold-out camping beds, camping chairs, kettle, mugs, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, sugar, corkscrew. Provided: electricity, hot water, flushing toilet, kettle, fridge and microwave.

Local Activities

Walking, cycling, castles, museums, historic sites, pubs, shops, restaurants.

More information

You’ll find plenty of walks begging to be taken, whether in the village itself or at National Trust Hatfield Forest, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserve.

Champing gives you a break from modern life, including the need to cook! Pre-book your continental-style breakfast hamper to greet you on arrival, or book a full English breakfast at one of two nearby pubs – The Cricketers Arms in Rickling Green, or The Cricketers in Clavering.

Sadly, the time will come to leave St. Nicholas, but it couldn’t be more hassle-free. After your departure, everything will be put 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 where better than in St. Nicholas Church – where history and rural beauty live in perfect harmony?

Things to note

Champing season runs March – October, no minimum stay requirement, Champers should bring their own bedding including pillows, sleeping bags, duvets and blankets, 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. Champers have sole access to this church after 5pm and before 10am – please note that occasional services are held on a Sunday morning so you may need to pack up by 9am, this to be advised on booking.

Where you'll be staying

Berden, Essex

What the guests of Champing Berden say

“Our first champing adventure but certainly not our last! We loved staying in your beautiful, friendly church and had some really specially family time reading books and playing games. Thank you!”

“We had an amazing stay, Champing was new to us, we really enjoyed it. Thank you so much for our grand overnight in your church. It was lovely staying in the church – thank you!”

“A wonderful evening and night spent Champing – such a lovely way to experience this beautiful church.”

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