Britain's Holiest Places
The all-new guide to 500 sacred sites. Published in 2011
Headline news from 2,000 years of Christian history...
LATEST NEWS: Media coverage of the new BBC Four series 'Pagans and Pilgrims: Britain's Holiest Places' has given the public a chance to hear more about Britain's sacred heritage. Recent articles include:

The Western Mail: Rachael Misstear writes an enjoyable feature about the amazing sacred landscapes in Wales, which is a particular focus of the BBC series and features heavily in the book 27/2/2013

Independent Catholic News, a dependable source of all manner of religious news in Britain, has covered the launch of the TV series 7/2/2013

Other coverage and activity includes:

Nominated as
Writer of the Year by BBC Countryfile.

The amazing new guide to Britain's rich spiritual heritage, as
featured on BBC Radio 4's

‘This book could make a pilgrim of anyone’
BBC Countryfile magazine

'handsomely produced... a living celebration of 2,000 years of Christian belief that is at times shocking, but always engrossing and often richly entertaining'
The Times

‘If you are interested in the spiritual heritage of our country… this is absolutely the best book going’ New Directions magazine

‘a tour de force’
Country Way magazine

This new guide book reveals the astonishing spiritual heritage lying hidden in every corner of Britain.

The result of a five-year journey from Orkney to the Channel Islands, Britain's Holiest Places opens up a remarkable landscape shaped by centuries of faith. There is something to surprise and enlighten anyone with a sense of the sacred - from miraculous healing pools, astounding works of devotional art, mysterious natural features, world-famous shrines, grand cathedrals to the humblest of country churches. It includes 500 places in England, Wales and Scotland.

Each listing is illustrated and made easily accessible to the visitor, with much to inspire as well as much to challenge modern understanding of spiritual experience. The book encompasses the entire spectrum of church and even folk traditions: Anglican, Catholic, Celtic, Orthodox, Non-Conformist, Presbyterian, Quaker and many others.

Written with a keen eye for the surreal as well as the sacred, the absurd as well as the serious, this book is the first complete survey of our island's sacred history.

OTHER NEWS: Two Christian titles published reviews of Britain's Holiest Places at the end of January 2012. The War Cry, published by The Salvation Army, devoted four pages to an interview with the author, looking in particular at the huge range of Christian practice and tradition to be found in Britain. And the magazine Country Way, which celebrates and promotes rural Christian communities, calls it a "really beautiful book" and concludes "As an opportunity to reflect on different aspects of Christian history it is invaluable." Country Way is published by The Arthur Rank Centre, a Christian charity focusing on rural churches.

A brief overview of
Britain's Holiest Places has appeared on the Washington Times' blog pages, written by religious travel expert Ruth Hill who also writes the Christian World Traveler blog. The article also links to the extensive website on holy places around world, Mentioned in the bibliography of Britain's Holiest Places, this site merits a link in its own right, with a global spread of articles and faiths, plus an extensive collection of high-quality photography.

The monthly magazine New Directions carried an extended review of Britain's Holiest Places in its November 2011 issue (available permanently here; on page 26). "It is beautifully produced, with plenty of photographs, extremely well written, and with the best possible instructions on how to get there... If you are interested in the spiritual heritage of our country... this is absolutely the best book going," writes the reviewer Fr Nicholas Turner. By chance he is rector of a church (and its lovingly restored holy well) featured in the book itself, Thornton in Craven, North Yorkshire.

Dewsbury Minster's ancient and sacred church was featured in the Yorkshire Post on 1 October, following its appearance in Britain's Holiest Places. The church is one of the most important and early foundations in the area, with particular relevance as a focus for community regeneration - as the newspaper describes here

The book was featured on BBC Radio 4 programme Excess Baggage on 30 July. Interviewer Sandi Toksvig asked Nick what motivated him to write the guide, and delved into some of the unusual places and practices uncovered during his epic journey across the country. The programme is available online from the BBC website.

BBC Countryfile magazine reviewed Britain's Holiest Places in its July issue. Reviewer Richard Taylor (who has written a highly recommended book, How to Read a Church) summed it up: "You can tell when a book is a labour of love, and this is just such a book. Every car should carry a copy - and a towel in case you're overcome by the urge to take a purifying dip."

The Times devoted its main Faith feature to Britain's Holiest Places on 23 July. A review and interview with the author by Brian Pedley describes the book as "always engrossing and often richly entertaining", describing some of the unlikely highlights in Nick's mammoth pilgrimage across Britain. If you missed buying a copy, you can see it online if you sign up to The Times' website (it costs £1 to join the site temporarily for a 24-hour period).

Aled Jones described Britain's Holiest Places as 'glorious' and 'a really, really lovely book' on Sunday 10 July during the broadcast of his Good Morning Sunday show on BBC Radio 2. He also interviewed the author Nick Mayhew Smith, who described the effect such an extensive and diverse spiritual journey had on his own ideas and personal faith.

Church Times has printed an interview with the author in its 1 July edition, which you can read online here. And The Bridge newspaper, published by the Diocese of Southwark, has printed a review, which is online here, describing it as "outstanding" and "a joy to use"; Nick is involved in The Bridge in an editorial capacity, which is not obvious if you just see this one page.

Several newspapers are due to run articles and interviews about the book over the summer. But first off the mark was the Blackpool Gazette, with a look at the curious holy site at Fernyhalgh in Lancashire, featured on page 347 of Britain's Holiest Places. You can read the feature online here.

An interview with the author was also broadcast on the BBC Radio 4 programme Sunday on 15 May. Nick was interviewed at St Etheldreda's Church in Holborn, central London, where he held a highly valued relic of the church's patron saint and discussed its significance in creating our country's spiritual landscape. To hear the full interview visit the BBC website (the interview starts at 17:54 if you want to scroll forwards):

Britain's Holiest Places is available from all major bookshops, either in store or on request, and from dozens of cathedral, church and Christian bookshops throughout the country. Or you can order your copy on

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