With thousands of historical churches and worship sites spread across the United Kingdom, even the most seasoned tour operator needs help finding the right churches and crafting the ideal experiences for clients.
Enter NCT Heritage Services. The organization’s website, explorechurches.org, not only helps operators locate churches, events and festivals, but it plugs planners into unique, memorable experiences.
“We identify ways for tour operators to add value to their itineraries, and we make them easily accessible, searchable and bookable on our website,” says Emma Clarke, project manager of NCT Heritage Services. “And operators will get contact information to use on the day they visit the churches.”
Staff members at sites listed on explorechurches.org are trained on best practices for welcoming international guests, and each church must verify that it can safely accommodate groups of visitors.
And while the website is worth visiting—as are the many churches it lists—it’s also worth visiting often.
“We are constantly adding more experiences as they are developed, and that includes a new section that details exclusive experiences throughout England and, soon, in Wales, Ireland and Scotland,” Clarke says.
As an example of some of the new experiences available to operators and their groups, Clarke cites “Gloucester: A Tale of Two Potters,” a tour that includes the site where Beatrix Potter was inspired to write “The Tailor of Gloucester” and the cathedral’s cloisters, where three Harry Potter films were shot.
“We have themes ranging from history and architecture to popular movies, and these churches each offer something special: hands-on experiences, pilgrimages or unusual tours.”
Top photo: Collegiate Church of Holy Trinity in Tattershall
Photo by CC Flickr/David Merrett: bit.ly/2ubvt7W