He added that young people had become interested in spirituality through the rise of techniques such as mindfulness, which was leading them to church, even if they didn’t actually believe in a Christian god. “Things like the Alpha course were designed for people who were coming to church but didn’t necessarily believe the stuff. “So I think the church has been following this trend for a while, which is maybe why we are seeing this uptick in younger people.”Last year figures released as part of the British Social Attitudes survey found that just three per cent of those aged 18 to 24 said they belonged to the Church of England, while 53 per cent of all people surveyed said they had no religion. Stuart Haynes, a spokesman for the Church of England diocese of Liverpool, said Liverpool’s cathedral, one of the largest in the world, was frequently attended by students looking for a break from stressful studies. “Not just the cathedral but also a couple of other city centre churches certainly attract students, and there’s that sense of two things – when you’re away from your home and family finding a community that you can connect with, and the other thing is that notion of peace. “Being a student nowadays, there’s a lot of stress and pressure, and having that time to connect and be at peace, and get away from that stress and pressure and have that chill out time is something that we do see,” he said. “You do often get people who wander in, sit quietly for five or ten minutes and then wander off again. It’s seen as a safe place to collect your thoughts.” Simon Oliver, Van Mildert professor of divinity at the University of Durham, said the city’s cathedral offered an “open and non-threatening welcome” to students. “Our students find that to be a different experience to youth culture in many ways. We don’t try and repeat back to them the culture that they live with in 2018,” he said. “The churches are addressing basic moral and existential questions that are very important for people in their late teens and early twenties – questions about identity, meaning of life and vocation. “We are addressing them in a way that they are not addressed in the current education system.”The figures contrast with data presented to the Church of England’s General Synod, which heard on Monday that 81-year-olds were eight times more likely to be going to church than 18-year-olds. An atheist church-goer might sound like a contradiction in terms.But experts say the results of a new survey suggest millennials and Generation Z are visiting churches for peace and quiet – even if they don’t believe in God. The research found that 30 per cent of 18 to 34 year olds say they go to church, with the majority saying they go once or twice a year. The figures also place 18 to 24 year-olds above every other generation in terms of visiting church, with one in three saying they go, compared to 31 per cent of over-65s and 22 per cent of those aged 45 to 54, the lowest proportion of any age group. Research carried out by ComRes in a survey of more than 4,000 adults also found that one in five 18 to 24 year olds and one in six 25 to 34 year-olds say they go to church once or twice a year. Dr Krish Kandiah, a theologian and author who commissioned the survey, said churches and cathedrals were attractive to young people looking for a “quiet sacred space”. Events such as choral evensong have been credited with attracting young people back to cathedrals in cities. The churches are addressing basic moral and existential questions that are very important for people in their late teens and early twenties – questions about identity, meaning of life and vocation.Simon Oliver, Van Mildert professor of divinity at the University of Durham “Cathedrals are going through the roof, I was speaking to one of the canons at Westminster Abbey, they’re expecting 1.5m people through this summer. So people recognising this sacred space is important,” Dr Kandiah told the Daily Telegraph. Dr Kandiah, whose book Faitheism addresses the relationship between Christianity and atheism, said young people were also likely to be going to non-traditional settings for church, including festivals such as Soul Survivor and modern churches such as Gas Street in Birmingham. “Maybe the general public’s perception of what church looks like and who’d be interested is now dated,” he added. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.