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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.

Whatever your passion, we can help you feed it!

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Why explore churches?

Churches, chapels and meeting houses are 'treasure houses' of heritage, history and community.

ExploreChurches is wonderful national collection, peppered across the countryside and nestling in our towns.

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.

Churches are also the keepers of community heritage. 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.

The process of communities building, adapting and renewing their sacred spaces over centuries of social, economic and cultural change makes historic churches exciting places to visit. They show the evolution of British culture, local heritage, family history and tales of human events and achievements, embellished with architecture, art and craftsmanship.

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Step into history

All churches, chapels and meeting houses have gone through stages of building and development over time. Sometimes they have seen huge changes over centuries, and evidence of them can still be seen hidden in plain sight.

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.

Woven in time
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Treasure houses of history

Churches are literally 'treasure houses' of history. They are full of carvings, green men, bosses, gargoyles, tombs, monuments, stained glass and more.

Although every church is different, some features are more common than others.

Learn what to look for, discover the meaning behind objects and architectural features and uncover their historical significance.

Spotters guide

ExploreChurches is by the National Churches Trust for people who love church buildings