I’ll admit that I’m not a “camping” kind of person. A week at sleep away camp when I was 8 was about as close to camping as I ever got, and even that was in a cabin, with running water and real bunk beds. Nowadays I am most decidedly a “hotel” kind of gal – we can be staying at a Waldorf=Astoria on points or a Holiday Inn Express with cash, I don’t care…as long as it’s a room with all the amenities of home, this city girl is satisfied.
Some friends have brought up the idea of “glamping” – a play on the term “glamorous camping,” where you have most, but not all, of the amenities of home. I am currently considering this, partially as an excuse to spend a weekend with our friends who suggested it (they live in Atlanta – we don’t get to see them often enough), and partially because Joe grew up going camping and I think this way he could “go back to nature” without my being totally miserable. 😉
But now I’ve read about “champing” and although it seems to be “roughing it as roughing it can be,” it’s still something that’s caught my attention…
It’s called Champing, and they call it that because it’s camping in a church. And for this lady who enjoys old churches and all kinds of architecture, it sounds WAY COOL!
The concept was introduced in the U.K. in 2014, by the Churches Conservatory Trust, a national charity that protects historic churches at risk.
Champing, as they say on their website, is a unique opportunity to stay somewhere truly extraordinary.
You can book your Champing experience similarly to how you book a hotel (albeit without points, sorry y’all!) and “your” church is like “your” hotel room – you don’t share it with strangers.
Prices are reasonable:
The cost includes the church itself, the use of camp beds, chairs, lanterns, candles, tea and coffee-making facilities and a loo (psst! That’s “toilet” in American English). They also offer bedding for £25 (or you can bring your own). Keep an eye open because they often have discounts 😉
Because your “home away from home” is an ancient church, chances are good that you won’t have heat, running water or electricity – just like “real” camping. But they supply you with water (with a pump if there’s no electricity) and you’re welcome to bring as many flashlights as you’d like to augment the lighting they offer.
You don’t need to be a Christian to go Champing. “The building remains consecrated and will always be a place for contemplation, tranquillity and peace. The space has adapted to the requirements of humanity in the previous centuries and Champing™ is just the latest chapter in this ongoing tradition of change. So come on in.” You also don’t have to worry about any church services, as the building are no longer used as churches.
There are nearly 20 churches in the U.K. that are used for Champing and each one is lovelier than the next…you can go to this page to see photos and a description of each one, but here are a few examples:
Champing season runs from March 30th through September 29th (they don’t run the program in the colder months because the churches are centuries old and don’t have heat). Click here for more info!
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary