Whatever your passion; art, wildlife, sculpture, family history, architecture, walking, rock climbing, searching out the most perfect cream tea or even just finding somewhere quiet to sit and read a book. These are all things you can do in church buildings around the UK.

32 Churches

Ride+Stride 2017

Visit unique historic buildings, see beautiful countryside, get some exercise and have fun with the family! Ride+Stride is a sponsored bike ride or walk in which people all over England walk or cycle between churches, exploring and enjoying the countryside from Cornwall to Northumberland. The money they raise helps to save historic churches, chapels and meeting houses for future generations by helping to fund urgent repairs and the installation of modern facilities. Below are the areas where a Ride+Stride event is taking place in 2017.

16 Churches

Thomas Cranmer & the Book of Common Prayer

The Book of Common Prayer was created in 1549 by Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556). Deeply rooted in the Bible, it was the handbook of the new English Church which had just split from Rome. Revisions were made in 1552, 1559, 1604 and 1662 and the 1662 book used today remains significantly as Cranmer wrote it. Cranmer was a leader of the Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I. He drew extensively on his personal library of more than 600 books and manuscripts. Below are some of the many churches which use The Book of Common Prayer for all or some of their services.

13 Churches


Cornwall’s churches are rarely simple buildings nestling into the landcape. Instead they are assertive structures with heaven thrusting spires or towers, commonly three times the height of the church. This gives Cornish churches a squat appearance externally, though often they are found to be tall inside. By the 1500s granite was the material of choice and many were enlarged, but often left with much earlier fabric. Quaint villages are rare here, generally churches are found in towns, hamlets or trading ports. Methodist and Nonconformist chapels partly filled the gaps left after the Reformation. Here is a sample of special churches.

6 Churches

Nicholas Hawksmoor

Nicholas Hawksmoor (probably 1661 – 25 March 1736) was an English architect and a leading figure of the English Baroque style. Hawksmoor was responsible for six new churches in London, each different, each unique. They are his best known independent works of architecture. It has been argued that there are hidden symbols amongst the obelisks, pyramids and imitation altars on his churches. His churches are unusual, and well worth visiting!

11 Churches


Spires and Squires: the county was christened this centuries ago and it still holds true; magnificent churches whose spires populate the skyline and equally great country houses. Both stretch back to early medieval times and the ten best churches selected reflect this stretching from Saxon times through to the 20th century. Easy to access and full of treasures, not only architectural, the county offers a wealth of interesting things to the travelling tourist.

11 Churches

Greater Manchester

It comes as little surprise that the oldest buildings in Greater Manchester are all churches; St Mary the Virgin in Eccles has parts built in the 13th century, the tower of St Chad, Rochdale, dates to the 1200s; and, St Leonard in Middleton has fragments of a Norman billet frieze. But Greater Manchester also has an amazing collection of Victorian and modern churches to explore. Here are a few to show off what the region has to offer.

8 Churches

King Arthur

The core myths of the Celtic peoples centre on the great cycle of stories based on the life and exploits of King Arthur. They link Arthur to a poetic idea of Britain as a kind of paradise. The historic figure of Arthur as a victorious 5th century warrior, leading Britons into battle against Saxon invaders, has so far proved impossible to confirm. So where does the legend come from? Why has Arthur remained so important to us, and why are there so many places associated with him?

14 Churches

Doctor Who

The Doctor, a time travelling alien from the planet Gallifrey. He’s travelled from one end of time to the other and visited countless alien worlds along the way, none more so than our own fair planet Earth. Church buildings have played an important role in the Doctor's adventures, from the very early beginnings right through to the present day, being used for contemporary story settings, backdrops for exciting action scenes and doubling up as other fictional locations. Here we take a time travelling romp through all 13 Doctors, with one church used in a story for each… there are many more!

17 Churches

Tour de Yorkshire 2017

In July 2014, three million people thronged the roadsides of Yorkshire to welcome Le Tour de France to God’s Own County. The sun shone, bands played and church bells rang. Yorkshire was globally endorsed as the new home of world cycling and its churches took centre stage as landmarks in the TV commentary. The story continues with the annual Tour de Yorkshire and the upcoming 2019 UCI Cycling World Championships. Here, Rod Ismay, author of Bells & Bikes, picks 16 churches from the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire for you to visit and enjoy; all looking great from the saddle. Plenty of other churches on the route are listed on ExploreChurches, why not explore the map.

12 Churches

Ancient yew trees

Many reasons have been given as to why yews are to be found in old churchyards. One is that it is ‘as an emblem of Resurrection’. This may be the reason why it was customary during Tudor times and earlier to tie sprigs of yew to coffins. Churches are the present custodians of trees planted and cared for over many centuries, from 500 year old trees planted in the Middle Ages, the 800 year old trees planted by the Normans, even older specimens planted by Saxons and early Welsh saints, with the possibility that some might even pre date Christianity.

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