Welcome to the Year of Discovery.
This project aims to attract UK and international visitors to experience the wonderful sacred heritage of Wales, particularly those along and close to The Wales Way.
We will create a platform for visitors to book travel to Wales churches, chapels and cathedrals and then explore the wider natural, built and community heritage in and around them.
Working with partners the project will deliver several outcomes:
- 200 new churches/chapels on ExploreChurches, improvements to content for most of 500 Wales sites on ExploreChurches, including Welsh language versions
- Wales landing page, with content on Wales faith sites in both English and Welsh
- 20-30 new experiences on ExploreChurches
- New photography, film and podcast materials created to help market faith heritage of Wales
- Encourage a target of 250 volunteers to be part of the project through training and support
- API or other link between ExploreChurches and the Wales Way
- PR and marketing campaigns targeting UK and overseas audiences, targeting increase of 50,000 in number of people visiting Wales places of worship.
Experiencing Sacred Wales aims to attract UK and international visitors to visit the wonderful sacred heritage of Wales, particularly those along the The Wales Way.
This project has received funding via the Tourism Product Innovation Fund (TPIF) and supported through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government, the Fund aims to encourage new innovative product ideas working in partnership which will have a greater impact and attract more visitors.
Join us on our exploration of sacred Wales, visit our page to see our new stories, Experiences, images and more.
We have worked hard, with our partner WorkingWord, to secure varied and effective media throughout the project.
Below are some of our key campaigns and coverage.
- ITV Wales : New historic church tours enable visitors to explore Wales sacred spots
- Business Live : How bespoke tours of Wales sacred sites can boost the nation's tourism sector
Stories and content
- BBC Wales Country Focus : Bleeding Yews and Blue Stones
- Crave : Love Thy Neighbour; 8 churches to rival the famous Welsh castle next door
- North Wales Live : Discover the magical sacred places of North Wales that will 'soothe your soul' in troubled times
- The Tablet : Nat Churches Trust showcases top Catholic churches
- The Guardian : How intention turns a walk into a pilgrimage
- BBC : Wales churches and chapels linked in religious trail
- The Times : Holy sites to be resurrected in new Welsh pilgrims trail
- Christianity Today : Tourism boost for 500 historic churches in Wales
- The Countryman : Exploring sacred Wales
- Independent Catholic News : 'Exploring Sacred Wales' set to turn tourists into pilgrims
- Business Wales, Wales Rural Network : Follow in the Footsteps of Pilgrims: Wales sacred spaces set to take centre stage
- Premier radio Christian news : Sacred churches in Wales to boost tourism
Photography & films
We have been working Ioan Said Photography to create some stunning images and films of our churches, chapels and meeting houses.
It's been interesting, particularly with lockdown and then Covid19 restrictions but we are really excited to have started to receiving images. They are all available to churches and organisations in the project to use. You can find links to download them here.
'When Denhams Digital was commissioned to produce a digital Christmas card by the Diocese of Bangor to announce their project to repair, fund and increase visitors to five ancient and beautiful churches, we were initially concerned that we would struggle to find enough good photographs. But the National Churches Trust’s Experience Sacred Wales project solved the problem. Finding, choosing and obtaining permissions couldn’t have been easier and everyone is thrilled with the result We hope the digital card will inspire many more people to visit these extraordinary churches in 2021.'
Beth McHattie, Associate Director, Denhams Digital
We have trained over 500 people, from churches and chapels across Wales, as part of this project.
If you're interested in our upcoming sessions, check out our EventBrite listings to discover the topics we are covering and book a place. We'd love to see you.
We held volunteer training sessions across Wales in November and December 2019.
We held 4 free bite size workshops on Zoom in June 2020.
We held 4 free bite size workshops on Zoom in February 2021.
Exploring the family of touring routes that lead you through the landscape of Wales.
The Anglican church, with over 900 parishes.
Aims to tell the story of Welsh chapels.
Developing and promoting understanding of the heritage of Wales.
Cares for over 50 places former places of worship and has helped hundreds more.