How it works: 360-degree tour

Dale Carter outside St Lawrence's Church in Warkworth.
Dale Carter outside St Lawrence's Church in Warkworth.

One of Northumberland’s oldest churches has stepped into the digital age in a move which parishioners have branded miraculous.

St Lawrence’s, by the banks of the River Coquet in Warkworth, has welcomed kings, queens, princes and knights during it’s 900-year history – but now you don’t even have to visit to be able to take a stroll around it’s magnificent interior.

A Google view of the interior of St Lawrence's Church in Warkworth.

A Google view of the interior of St Lawrence's Church in Warkworth.

Thanks to an enterprising local photographer, the historic place of worship has become the first public building in the county and the first church in the North East to be mapped in three dimensions for virtual access via Google Business Photos.

Like the internet search-engine’s Streetview application, users can use their computer mouse to navigate the nave, explore the south aisle and cross the chancel. And it is also accessible on smartphones.

Bryan Dobson, for the parochial church council, said: “We were contacted by photographer Dale Carter, who lives in West Thirston and runs Propertymedia360. He offered to feature St Lawrence as one of his test properties for approval by Google. A few days later, after a lot of work by Dale, there we were online.

“It really is fantastic – you can ‘walk’ around our beautiful old church, look at the stained glass windows, down the aisle to the altar, or anywhere you want. It’s quite miraculous.”

In fact, you can even walk out of the porch door and into the churchyard, from where you can also admire the exterior of St Lawrence’s and its famous leaning belltower.

Dale, who recently qualified as a Google Trusted Photographer, said: “I thought it would be a good idea to do the churches because they look fantastic inside.

It’s ideal opportunity for them to showcase how lovely they are and it’s often something you can’t get across with still photographs on a website.

“Google now uses me for the whole of Northumberland and I have just completed a tour of St Michael’s Church in Alnwick.

“Who knows – maybe I’ll get a castle to do next.”