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A holiday with a difference

PUBLISHED: 16:34 16 May 2016 | UPDATED: 16:34 16 May 2016

Champing in Booton Church

Champing in Booton Church

(C) Copyright 2015 Joseph Casey Photography. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and promotional use only. www.josephc

Fancy staying in one of the most fascinating buildings in Norfolk? Try “champing” in beautiful Booton, writes Rowan Mantell

St Michael and All Angels, Booton. Picture: JOSEPH CASEYSt Michael and All Angels, Booton. Picture: JOSEPH CASEY

With angels watching over you, a heavenly night’s sleep is almost assured at Norfolk’s latest holiday let. Angels fly overhead and cluster with vast feathered wings in jewel-coloured windows; the walls blend medieval and Victorian stonework, and if you feel like waxing lyrical about the architectural wonders all around there is a pulpit for you to preach from. Outside, the ornate towers of an eccentric rector’s unique church redesign soar over the surrounding countryside.

Stained glass windows in St Michael and All Angels Church, Booton. Picture: JOSEPH CASEYStained glass windows in St Michael and All Angels Church, Booton. Picture: JOSEPH CASEY

The church, in the village of Booton, near Reepham, is the first in Norfolk to offer church camping – or “champing”.

Camping inside St Michael and All Angels Church, Booton. Picture: JOSEPH CASEYCamping inside St Michael and All Angels Church, Booton. Picture: JOSEPH CASEY

Couples, families or groups of friends can enjoy a night in the church, which is still consecrated but is no longer used for regular services. They will have exclusive use of the church, and be provided with camp-beds, water, an eco-friendly compost toilet, tea, coffee and hot chocolate – and breakfast the next morning at the Dial House in nearby Reepham.

A carved angel on the hammerbeam roof of St Michael's Church, Booton. Picture: JOSEPH CASEYA carved angel on the hammerbeam roof of St Michael's Church, Booton. Picture: JOSEPH CASEY

Rector the Rev Whitwell Elwin arrived at his medieval parish church in 1850 and spent the next 50 years redesigning and rebuilding.

Booton rebooted included copies of his favourite architectural features from the Palace of Westminster, Glastonbury Abbey and Oxford colleges.

Today St Michael the Archangel, Booton, is looked after by the Churches Conservation Trust. The national charity saving historic churches at risk invented the concept of champing with just four champing churches last year. This summer there will be 10, including churches in Colchester, and Duxford, Swaffham Prior and Ufford in Cambridgeshire, and Claydon in Suffolk. Booton is Norfolk’s first champing venue, but the trust hopes to expand to more of its churches next year.

Prices begin at £55 per adult and £20 per child, with discounts for groups.

And if you are champing at the bit to spend the night in a breathtakingly beautiful and bizarre building, visit www.champing.co.uk

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