50 Things to do in a Church


‘50 Things to do in a Church’ celebrates the many and diverse uses of church buildings and asks the public to share their favourite things to do in a church or chapel.  Below, Michael Palin explains why finding peace and quiet in a church is important for him.

Michael Palin’s ‘Thing to do in a Church’

Finding peace and quiet is one of the ‘50 Things to do in a Church’ and a particular attraction for Michael Palin, writer and performer and Vice-President of the National Churches Trust. In the video below he describes how during a lunch break whilst being cross-questioned in a courtcase in London, at the very heart of Fleet Street, he discovered the church of St Dunstan-in-the West. He says: "I was never so grateful for a place of repose, an oasis of peace and quiet in the midst of the mayhem."

'50 Things to do in a Church' with Michael Palin from National Churches Trust on Vimeo.

 ‘50 Things to do in a Church’

 ‘50 Things to do in a Church’  highlights some of the activities and events that take place in and around church buildings and the many different ways that people use and experience churches and chapels. You can see photos of all the ‘50 Things to do in a Church’ on our 50 Things photo gallery

Community use

As well as being places of worship, church buildings play a vital role in activities for the benefit of the wider community. It is estimated that nearly 90% of churches are used for community purposes as well as for regular worship.

Included in ‘50 Things to do in a Church’ are activities and things to see and do linked to music and the arts, the spiritual, helping the community, art and architecture, food and drink, history, nature and wildlife, and sport and leisure.

What is your favourite thing to do in a church or chapel?

You can tell us about your favourite things to do in a church by filling in the form at the bottom of this webpage, on Twitter by using the hashtag #50thingsinachurch, on our Facebook page or email us at 50things@nationalchurchestrust.org.

The full list of ‘50 Things to do in a Church’ is:

Music, the arts and entertainment

  • Go to a comedy night
  • Sing in a choir
  • Have a night out at the opera
  • Watch a film
  • Paint a picture
  • Have a night out at the circus


  • Light a candle
  • Meet a vicar
  • Find peace and quiet
  • Sing a hymn
  • Say a prayer
  • Go to a wedding

 Art and Architecture

  • Discover a rood screen
  • See historic wall paintings
  • Marvel at stained glass
  • Find the green man
  • Sit on a Misericord


  • Watch the bats
  • Go stargazing
  • Discover an ancient yew tree
  • Find a stag beetle
  • Go birdwatching
  • Go to a flower festival

  Sport and leisure

  • Ring the bells
  • Go skateboarding
  • Abseil down the spire
  • Go to a Yoga class
  • Camp out for the night
  • Take part in Ride+Stride


  • Give blood
  • Learn English
  • Go to the post office
  • Volunteer at a night shelter
  • Vote
  • Use the free Wi Fi

Food and drink

  • Visit a Farmers ’Market 
  • Buy Fairtrade chocolate
  • Enjoy a nice cup of tea
  • Enjoy a beer festival
  • Have a cream tea


  • Find the church cat
  • Climb the tower
  • Stand in a triple decker pulpit
  • Try out the organ
  • Visit the crypt


  • Honour the fallen 
  • Research your family history
  • Take part in a historical re-enactment
  • Discover medieval graffiti
  • Discover a tomb of someone famous

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said:

 “ ‘50 Things to do in a Church’ makes it clear that churches, chapels and meeting houses are a tremendous asset to local people and communities throughout the UK.”

 “The use of church buildings as ‘community hubs’ has the strong support of the public.  83% of British adults think that churches, chapels and meeting houses play an important role for society as they provide a space in which community activities can take place, as well as worship, according to the findings of a 2016 ComRes opinion poll on attitudes to church heritage."

Add to our list

 “ ‘50 Things to do in a Church’ is just a small selection of activities that take place in and around church buildings. We’d love to hear from the public about some of their favourite things to do in a church or chapel. People can add to our list and post photographs on our website at www.nationalchurchestrust.org/50things or by visiting our Facebook page at www.facbook.com/nationalchurchestrust. ”

 “I hope ‘50 Things to do in a Church’ will encourage more people to discover some of the great things that it’s possible to do in a church or chapel and discover some of their amazing history and architecture.  There is no better place to find a Green Man, light a candle, find the tomb of someone famous or get involved in helping the community.”

Funding needed

“Of course, keeping churches open and in good repair, and with the right community facilities to allow them to be of benefit to local people, requires funding from both public and private sources as costs are beyond the reach of most local communities.”

“Thanks to the support of our Friends and supporters, in 2015 we were able to play our part in this work by helping 177 communities with grants to their churches.”

“The National Churches Trust receives no income from either government or church authorities, and we rely on our Friends and supporters to continue our work.”

 “An annual Friends subscription of just £30 can help us safeguard more of the UK’s fantastic church buildings. Please join us and help keep churches alive for local people and future generations.”