The idea was born of financial distress, but has become a great success in England.
Twelve churches from the Churches Conservation Trust, a kind of monument care for English rural churches, are open to campers. Guests can set up their airbeds, camping tables and folding chairs between centuries-old walls for a unique stay. Still prefer more comfort? Then they can book a field bed.
When the Conservation Trust was looking for additional income for the maintenance of the churches two years ago, and as a way to keep a little life in the prayer houses, champing was devised.
New trend – Champing
The pilot project at Aldwincle’s All Saints Church was immediately a hit. Logical, imagine it. In the evening, hang the sign with ‘sssh, champing in progress’, on the door and you have the church for yourself. Candles, moody music, a bottle of red wine and telling stories in an organ organ, church benches and gothic windows. After a quiet night, move in to a full English breakfast that the local farmer has delivered.
In the Netherlands it is also possible to overnight in a church. Unlike England, these are mostly churches that have been converted into b & b or group accommodation. Characteristic elements have been preserved in most cases, but you do not feel that any pastor can enter any moment.