Covid19 : reopening churches for visitors

Churches and chapels across the UK are, or are preparing to, reopen gradually as lockdown restrictions ease.

We have created a detailed page on the National Churches Trust website.

It contains links to all current advice and support, and is updated weekly.

We are duplicating the essential tourism information here.

Key things to consider include:

  • Cleaning your building, before opening and ongoing

  • Ensuring social distancing

  • Access to hand washing facilities and/or hand sanitiser

  • Removing high touch items

Our resources

We have developed a set of FREE downloadable resources for you to use:

  • They include posters, seat and hand washing / sanitising notices, prayer station notices etc

  • If we can, we will be happy to add more

  • If you have a particular need or suggestion please contact us by email

  • You can find our resources in our Google Drive

We are also planning a series of training sessions and online events. We will update this page with the dates and how to book a place as soon as they have been finalised, but they will include:

Sign up for our regular e-newsletter here to receive updates and news of our training, events and new resources as they are arranged.


Asking for donations

We know your income has been severely reduced, and in some cases ceased altogether.

  • Encourage donations using online platforms or text giving, more information here
  • Information about setting up a friends group
  • Digital giving from Parish Resources here
  • Giving online from Parish Resources here 
  • UK Fundraising's advice about cash and Covid19 here

Telling your story

You may find that interest in your church, churchyard, community and heritage has increased.

During lockdown we have all been exploring our local area more. Research already shows that people are keen to continue to do this, to 'live like a tourist', visit local heritage sites and support local businesses and places that have kept them going during Covid19.


Welcoming visitors

During Covid19 both tourism and churches have taken a major hit, which may have long term effects.

Our tourism team have attended tourism webinars and spoken to industry experts about the short and long term future for tourism. They have run online training sessions for churches addressing some of the immediate concerns, and looking to the opportunities that might arise so churches can make the most of them.

Before Covid19 the big travel trends were 'experiences' and 'travel like a local'.

Now, we have all had to rediscover our local area. Many people are discovering they can 'live like a tourist' because they have wonderful heritage, open spaces and small businesses right on their doorstep. Recent polls have shown that travellers are likely to want to continue this trend when they can get further afield; getting more out of less travel, support local sustainable businesses and make sure their money goes ‘to the right places’.

New opportunities:

  • Churches are the epitome of local, in all senses; cake, stories, people, community support they offer

  • We already recognise that we need local and we know our communities

  • Domestic tourism will see a boom; safer, promoted, rediscovery of local, cost of flights

  • People want positive stories, content and entertainment; we have that in spades

  • Virtual tourism will continue to be a strand in the sector in the medium to long term, so what you do for now will have a long life even after Covid19

Now is your chance to get some of the practicalities in place:

Nine things to do from home:

  1. Check and update your online presence; your website, your social media, your google maps entry, your TripAdvisor reviews; ensure they all clearly list up to date information, location and contact details

  2. Develop your online content; add photos and stories to your website

  3. Research your church heritage and stories, try different ways of sharing them

  4. Explore and practice using 3d photos, cinemagraphs, free virtual tour builders, video makers and other free tech

  5. Learn from others; some churches and heritage attractions have done digital brilliantly during lockdown; seek them out and learn from them

  6. Create and schedule regular engaging posts on social media, plan and produce a virtual tour, take photos and films once you can get into church

  7. Share your social media stories and posts with us, via either the NCT channels or ExploreChurches channels

  8. Watch our training films: tourism, taking great photoscreate great films
  9. Make sure your church is listed on ExploreChurches, that your page is up to date and tells a great story

Three things to do to prepare for opening:

  1. New Covid-19 signage; be clear about what you are doing and why

  2. Handwashing or sanitising stations; order supplies

  3. Prayer stations and social distancing measures

Tourism sector advice

Visit Britain has announced a UK wide industry standard and consumer mark, in partnership with the national tourist organisations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to provide a ‘ring of confidence’ for tourism as the sector works towards reopening.

Find out more about 'We're Good to Go'.

Visit Britain / Visit England Covid-19 hub

Visit England advice for visitors

Visit Wales advice for tourism sector

Visit Wales advice for visitors

Visit Scotland advice for tourism sector

Visit Scotland advice for visitors

Tourism NI advice for tourism sector

Our detailed page on the National Churches Trust website contains advice from all the main sectors; church, heritage, insurance, government and tourism.

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