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Visitor guide

Art, architecture, walking, cream teas, climbing, sculpture, local history, cycling, letterpress design, labyrinths, stained glass, finding a quiet space, stepping back in time, beer, embroidery and Doctor Who.

Churches, chapels and meeting houses are 'treasure houses' of heritage, history and community. They may contain ancient carvings both in stone and timber, traces of wall paintings, green men, wonderful roof bosses, gargoyles and dripstone heads, tombs and monuments, stained glass and more. Very few ancient sites are built in the style of one architectural period, and their history can be traced through the jigsaw of architectural styles. Churchyards are a veritable ‘who's who' of the area. In addition, they are also keepers of traditions and rites that have been practised for generations.

Churches show the evolution of British culture, local heritage, family history and tales of human events and achievements, embellished with architecture, art and craftsmanship.

Whatever your passion, we can help you feed it!

Discover our regions

JaynePotts
CumbriaSEDBERGHCautleyChapel(jaynepottsPERMISSIONBYEMAIL)1

Captivating Cumbria

Cumbria has a history of invasion and settlement; the Romans, Anglo Saxons, Vikings, Normans and Border Rievers have each left their story in it's church buildings.

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Cool Cornwall

Cornwall’s churches are rarely simple buildings nestling into the landscape, they are assertive structures with heaven thrusting spires or towers.

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Cymru Cysegredig

Join us on our exploration of sacred Wales.
Ymunwch â ni wrth i ni archwilio Cymru sanctaidd.

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Delightful Devon

In all corners of Devon, not only will you find quaint villages and exquisite cream teas, you’ll also find tremendous examples of history.

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Noble Northamptonshire

Known as the county of Spires and Squires for centuries, Northamptonshire is crammed with magnificent churches and great country houses.

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Noteworthy Nottinghamshire

Noted for its myths and legends, Nottinghamshire's past is woven around its abundance of magnificent medieval churches.

Explore our themes

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National Trust

2020 is the 125th anniversary of the National Trust, which cares for a variety of unique churches and chapels.

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English snowdrops

Head out on a crisp day to explore frosty landscapes and enjoy beautiful displays; lots of churchyards have swathes of snowdrops!

Love our festivals

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Mayflower 400

2020 is the 400th anniversary of the departure of the Mayflower, with lots of events and activities to enjoy!

Enjoy our stories

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Dewi Sant

by Caroline Welch
It is the most important day in the Welsh calendar to celebrate our culture and heritage, but who was Dewi Sant?
Roedd yn athro a phregethwr adnabyddus ac uchel ei barch, a bu’n gyfrifol am sefydlu mynachlogydd ac eglwysi ledled Cymru, de-orllewin Lloegr a Llydaw.

How to read a church

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Step into history

All churches, chapels and meeting houses have gone through stages of building and development over time. Discover how to spot these architectural details, and step back in time with us to see how a typical parish church might have looked at various points in its life.

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Spotters guide

Churches are literally 'treasure houses' of history. Learn what to look for, discover the meaning behind objects and architectural features and uncover their historical significance.

Create memories, taking great photos & videos

LincolnshireHIGHTOYNTONStJohnBaptist(explorechurches.org)10

Taking great photos

Take lots, all about light, clutter check, chop check, set focus and exposure, get closer, hold steady, hold straight, avoid flash.

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Photo composition

Rule of thirds, leading lines, flat lays, foreground interest, frames in the environment, reflections, birds eye view, worms eye view, symmetry.

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Emotional photography

Faces, seasons, natural wonders, one detail, minimal, hints and intrigue, golden hour, children, animals, your people, candid, panoramics.

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Using your photos

Email from phone, leave space for text, combine text and images, marketing, online, practicalities.

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Create great videos

Importance of video, landscape is king, power, hold steady, sound, straighten up, lighting, focus, exposure, background, takes, copyright, model release.

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Inform, entertain, enthuse

Audience, aims, storyboard, script, varying the shot, rule of thirds, cutaways, using text, subtitles, timelapse, slow motion, narration.

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Technicalities

Transferring files, video editing, iMovie, YouTube, Facebook, Facebook live, Instagram, optimising for search, #explorechurches, sharing, QR codes, play in church.

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Inspiration

Exploring YouTube, SmartHistory, Bald Explorer, VagaBrothers, York Museums Trust, V&A, English Heritage, National Trust, get teenagers & children involved, recreations.

Become a Friend of the National Churches Trust, for people who love church buildings!