As part of the BPT’s development of the Old Way, we are working to provide sanctuary to pilgrims along the path: low-cost accommodation with a high-impact experience through welcoming pilgrims into the heart of communities. Various offers of Sanctuary exist on pilgrim paths across Britain, such as the Old Way to Canterbury; Golden Valley Pilgrim Way; Northern Saints Trails; Via Francigena and Cornish Celtic Way. If you are browsing our website, simply search on our homepage map for the tag ‘Sanctuary’ to discover which routes have them, and then click through to the route page and find the link to the Sanctuaries for that route.
The average price per night per pilgrim for a Sanctuary is £10 (range is £5-20), which makes multi-day pilgrimages accessible to society at large. It also provides much-needed revenue to churches and shared community buildings like village halls (they get 100% of the revenue, we take no commission).
We are aiming to make as many of our Sanctuary listings on existing routes free to all pilgrims, but there will always be a balancing act to ensure we are considering the needs of the sanctuaries (e.g. churches, church halls, village halls) and their custodians. Some sanctuaries don’t want their contact details to be publically visible for various reasons, and so you will find in future a mix of availability, but most are open to all. Friends of the British Pilgrimage Trust will be able to access the sanctuaries who have requested that their contact details remain behind the login.
Some people might initially equate Sanctuary with Champing, which is organised by the Churches Conservation Trust. Our Sanctuary venues are modelled on a traveller or pilgrim ‘hostel’ (e.g. ‘albergues’ or ‘donativos’ on the Camino) – they are low-cost with all travellers on a path sleeping in the same place, whether or not they know each other. Their ’Champing’ churches are more like a church hotel or glamping which you can book out and reserve for yourself and your family and friend group. Both accommodation models have their place, and we look forward to seeing them grow alongside each other.