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Visitor guide

ExploreChurches offer hundreds of interesting days out visiting some of the best church heritage in the UK - 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

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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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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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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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English snowdrops

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

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Your favourite churches

During May 2020, we are inviting you; our friends, supporters of the National Churches Trust and anyone who loves churches to chose your favourite church.

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Childrens trails

We are working with The Arts Society to add their wonderful children's to our church pages. The number will grow over coming months, but here is a page with all the trails online so far.

Love our festivals

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

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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!