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Top 10 historic church walks in England you should try

22 March 2021

What better way to get out and about than with a walk through England's rolling hills, stunning vistas and pretty historic churches?

St Stephen's Church, Fylingdales
St Stephen's Church, Fylingdales, offers stunning coastal views of Robin Hood's Bay, North Yorkshire. david muscroft /

10. St Stephen’s Church, Fylingdales – North Yorkshire

St Stephen’s has stood majestically upon Robin Hood’s Bay since 1821. Echoing its ocean views, the church is engulfed in nautical history with graves bestowing tragic tales of forlorn seamen lost at sea.

Walk from St Stephens’s church to Robin Hood’s Bay and see the stunning coastal views which are great for families wanting to combine culture and entertainment.

Expect to see: Breathtaking coastal views
Walking distance: 1.2 miles, 26 minutes
Walk suitable for: Families
More information: St Stephen's on Churches Conservation Trust

9. St Michael’s Church, Bridgnorth – Shropshire

St Michael's is a hidden gem that sits in a quiet, idyllic valley west of Bridgnorth. With its stone walls and moss-covered roof this Norman church looks as much a part of the landscape as the trees that surround it.

St Michael’s Church is located on an Elizabethan estate and is less than half a mile away from Upton Cressett Hall and Gardens, one of Britain’s most exquisite Tudor Houses. This walk is perfect for heritage enthusiasts and picnics.

Expect to see: Charming village scenes in a traditional countryside setting
Walking distance: 0.5 miles, 15 minutes from St Michael’s to Upton Cressett Hall and Gardens
Walk suitable for: Romantic amblers
More information: St Michael's on Churches Conservation Trust

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St Michael’s & St Martin’s, Eastleach Martin
St Michael’s & St Martin’s, Eastleach Martin

8. St Michael’s & St Martin’s Church, Eastleach Martin – Gloucestershire

This picture postcard medieval church is nestled on the edge of the river Leach in Eastleach Martin. Perfect for a leisurely walk along the banks of the meandering river to Horseshoe Lake, St Michael’s & St Martin’s is just a stone’s throw from its sister church at Eastleach Turville on the opposite bank.

Expect to see: Idyllic scenery that inspired poet John Keble
Walking distance: 3.9 Miles, 1 hour 18 minutes
Walk suitable for: More ambitious walkers
More information: St Michael and St Martin's Church on Churches Conservation Trust

7. St Andrew’s Church, Shotley – Northumberland

Perched on Grey Mare Hill, keen hikers and photographers alike will appreciate the ambitious 289m climb to reach St Andrew’s, Shotley, and its rewarding breath-taking views. The church, built in 1769, is also home to the ornate Hopper Mausoleum. 

Expect to see: Awe-inspiring panoramic views
Walking distance:  3.4 miles, 1 hour 11 minutes
Walk suitable for: Hikers
More information: St Andrew's on Churches Conservation Trust

6. All Saints’ Church, Nuneham Courtney – Oxfordshire

All Saints’ Church, Nuneham Courtney is a jewel in the heart of the Nuneham Park House grounds. Overlooking the Thames, the 1760s church is a monument to wealth and taste, with dazzling Italian fittings, magnificent memorial sculptures and busts. Just a 30 minute walk away is Bluebell Wood, an enchanted forest filled with springtime flowers.

Expect to see: A carpet of bluebells and wildflower meadows in late April and May
Walking distance: 1.6 miles, 32 minutes from All Saints’ to Bluebell Wood
Walk suitable for: Families
More information: All Saints' on Churches Conservation Trust

Even if you’ve lived your whole life in the UK, there’s always somewhere new to discover. Find out more here

5. St Mary’s Church, Higham – Kent

Dating back as far as the Saxon era, St Mary’s, Higham, is steeped in history from Norman influences to Benedictine nuns. The church is only four miles from the centre of Rochester for visitors wishing to combine country and town visits with a pleasant walk across the marshlands. Continue the Norman theme and stop by the impressive fortress of Rochester Castle.

Expect to see: Ancient Norman ruins along your way
Walking distance: 4.6 Miles, 1 hour 33 minutes – St Mary’s Church to Rochester Castle
Suitable for: Active walkers
More information: St Mary's on Churches Conservation Trust

St Mary's church, Itchen Stoke
St Mary's church, Itchen Stoke

4. St Mary’s Church, Itchen Stoke – Hampshire

This dazzling and colourful Victorian jewel of a church overwhelms the senses. A truly exhilarating building, tall and imposing, St Mary’s, Itchen Stoke was inspired by the soaring elegance of 13th-century Sainte Chapelle in Paris, chapel of French kings. Walk alongside the exquisite Alresford sluices to nearby Old Alresford Pond, a medieval oasis well worth investigating.

Expect to see: Otters and wildfowl
Walking Distance: 2.2 Miles, 43 Minutes
Suitable for: Families
More information: St Mary's on Churches Conservation Trust

Visit our list of the best walks in the UK for more walking ideas

3. St Mary’s Church, Stocklinch Ottersey – Somerset 

If legend is to be believed, St Mary’s, Stocklinch Ottersey, and close by St Magdalene’s were built by two sisters vying for the affections of their local vicar. St Mary’s stands on an old water source, one of Somerset’s many healing wells, and is an hour’s stroll away from Barrington Court, a National Trust Tudor House with stunning grounds and a fascinating past.

Expect to see: Wonderful tombs and monuments
Walking distance: 2.3 Miles, 48 Minutes
Suitable for: Families
More information: St Mary's on Churches Conservation Trust

2. St Mary’s Church, Ashley – Hampshire

This prairie church in Ashley is said to be all that remains of the Norman Gains Castle. Take in Mottisfont Estate, a glorious National Trust property and gallery set in beautiful riverside gardens, the village of King’s Sorbonne and stately Compton Park.

Expect to see: Countryside vistas that inspired Jane Austen
Walking distance: 6.1 miles, 2 hours
Suitable for: Active walkers 
More information: St Mary's on Churches Conservation Trust

1. St Peter’s Church, Cambridge – Cambridgeshire

Ideally located for a day out in Cambridge, this simple building is a haven of tranquillity from the busy streets around it. Walk the outskirts of the city and take in all that Cambridge has to offer from stunning views of the river to the historic university buildings.

Expect to see: Coe Fen meadowland and River Cam
Walking distance: 2.5 miles, 50 minutes
Suitable for: Families and sightseers
More information: St Peter's on Churches Conservation Trust

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