25 million people visited a church, chapel or meeting house in 2017-18, new poll shows
49 percent of British adults visited a church, chapel of meeting house in the last year, according to an opinion poll carried out by ComRes for the National Churches Trust in September 2018. That is equivalent to around 25 million people.
24 percent said they had visited a church building, chapel, or meeting house to attend a life event, such as a wedding, funeral or baptism, 22 percent had visited for tourism and 11 percent for religious activity such as Mass, a worship service or prayer.
Eight percent said they had visited to find a quiet space to escape the hustle and bustle or to light a candle.
Wales and the South West of England had the highest percentage of people visiting a church, both at 56 percent, with the West Midlands (38 percent) and Scotland (36 percent) the lowest percentages.
Almost a quarter of British people said they would be more inclined to visit a church as a leisure activity or tourist attraction if there were better visitor friendly facilities such as accessible toilets, a café or nearby parking (23 percent) with 20 percent saying that cultural events including concerts or exhibitions would attract them.
19 percent said they would be more inclined to visit if they knew in advance that the building was open. 12 percent said that an onsite welcome and a guided tour would be a draw.
Eddie Tulasiewicz, Head of Communications for the National Churches Trust said:
“Churches remain some of the most visited buildings in Britain. That’s not surprising as they are packed with history and have amazing architecture we can all be proud of.”
“ Our ComRes poll shows that churches could attract even more visitors if their buildings were more visitor friendly. That includes making sure churches have modern facilities such as loos and that the main parts of the building are fully accessible.”
“Just as importantly, if churches want to attract people they need to be regularly open with their opening hours listed on church and tourism websites, as on our new ExploreChurches website www.explorechurches.org . Even having a sign outside saying ‘We are open’ can encourage people to come through the door and discover what’s inside.”