Cheviot Holiday Cottages, Northumberland
Cheviot Holiday Cottages offers nine luxury cottages sleeping two to six in four acres of mature grounds within the Northumberland National Park.
Northumberland International Dark Sky Park was unveiled in December 2013 and at nearly 1,500 square kilometres, it’s Europe’s largest area of protected night sky. Due to its pristine skies it was awarded gold tier designation by the International Dark Sky Association, making it officially the best place in England for people to go to enjoy the heavens.
Local star gazing events are arranged by the National Park and the properties are also within reach of the Kielder Observatory (http://kielderobservatory.org) where expert guidance and tuition is readily on hand.
A three-night break for two in Cheviot Holiday Cottages’ The Coach House costs from £365. (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01665 578236).
Beacon Hill Farm, Northumberland
Situated between the magnificent Northumbrian coastline and the Northumberland National Park and the Cheviot Hills, Beacon Hill Farm is surrounded by 50 acres of ancient beech woods, 300 acres of parkland and grass fields.
The property is right on the doorstep of the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park. At nearly 1,500 square kilometres, it’s Europe’s largest area of protected night sky. Due to its pristine skies it was awarded gold tier designation by the International Dark Sky Association, making it officially the best place in England for people to go to enjoy the heavens.
Beacon Hill offers its own purpose built observatory featuring a range of telescopes. The building has a roof that slides off leaving the heavens open above and comfortably seats up to eight people.
Sky maps and information boards line the walls and in the centre is an incredibly powerful computerised telescope the Celestron CPC 1100. Use of the observatory is free of charge, guests simply need to book a slot. Local star gazing events are also arranged by the National Park and also at the Kielder Observatory (under an hour away) (http://kielderobservatory.org) where expert guidance and tuition is readily on hand.
Cottages for six guests cost from £420 for a four-night mid week stay and £545 for seven nights. Cottages for four guests start from £384 for a four-night mid week stay and £425 for seven nights. (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01670 780900)
Nestling in peaceful countryside on the Norfolk/Suffolk border Tindall barn, is an ideal place to enjoy the stunning dark, star filled skies. Seething Observatory, just a mile along the road is often open for public events with telescope viewing, talks and refreshments.
Tindall Barn stands by itself surrounded by meadow land with a pond close by which is stocked with mirror carp. This environmentally sensitive area is frequently visited by marsh harriers, barn and tawny owls, kites, kestrels and hares and has superb walks from the door.
It is also well situated to explore the Norfolk and Suffolk coast, the Norfolk Broads and the Cathedral City of Norwich (within 30 minutes by car). The little market towns of Bungay (2 miles) and Beccles (9 miles) offer interesting shops, pubs and good restaurants.
A three night stay at Tindall Barn for six guests costs from £385 and £550 for a week. (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01508 518217)
Pollaughan Cottages, Cornwall
Stays at Pollaughan Cottages offer the most amazing twinkling night skies on clear evenings as this part of the Roseland Peninsula has very low light pollution.
The cottages also provide a planisphere so that guests can learn how to recognise stars and constellations plus excellent books and binoculars. Sessions can also be booked at the Roseland Observatory just 25 minutes away.
There are four Pollaughan Cottages, which sleep between four and six guests. A three night stay at sleeps four Fallow Cottage costs from £293 and from £390 for a week. (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01872 580150)
Coulscott House, Devon
Premier Cottage’s Coulscott House, offers six stand alone cottages for between two and ten guests and is located one mile outside the village of Coulscott. Situated in one of the first designated dark sky reserves on Exmoor with no other properties within a quarter of a mile, the night views are fantastic and can even be viewed from one of the four hot tubs.
Guests have the chance to see satellites, meteorites, the Milky Way, constellations, planets and a huge number of stars. Exmoor National Park is just up the hill, half a mile away and was granted International Dark-sky reserve status by the International Dark Sky Association in 2011.
A three-night break in sleeps six property The Old Farmhouse costs from £687 and for seven nights costs from £981. Alternatively three nights in sleeps four Aylesbury Cottage costs from £420 and £601 for a week. (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01271 883339)
EmbraceScotland self-catering cottages, Scotland
The Dumfries and Galloways region of Scotland is beautiful in many ways, but for those with an interest in the night sky, the Galloway Forest Park is a must-visit.
The skies are thought to be best between October and March and on a clear night during winter visitors can see the milky way, as well as planets and constellations, and possibly even a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
EmbraceScotland has a range holiday homes in this region, including the following two, which are within striking distance of the park, and are also part of EmbraceScotland’s pet friendly portfolio, so furry friends can also witness the splendour of the night skies!
These attractive stone cottages are situated in the pretty village of Auchencairn, and just 5 miles from the regional centre, the bustling market town of Castle Douglas. A short walk takes visitors to Screel Hill with its spectacular views over the Solway Coast. The cottages are cosy and welcoming, with log burning fires to warm the coldest feet after a night looking at the stars. Pets are welcome
Prices start from £350 for seven nights. Four cottages, sleeping either 2 or 4.
This luxury eco-friendly home, is a wonderful contemporary conversion, with striking design features, and even pet llamas! Can be rented as one large property sleeping 12, or separated into two for smaller groups. Set in a peaceful, scenic location, with large garden area and bbq perfect for the warmer months, and log burning fires and a games/cinema room. Pets welcome.
Prices start from £1,250 for seven nights
For more information, go to www.embracescotland.co.uk
Moel y Geifir, Snowdonia
In December 2015, the 823 square mile National Park of Snowdonia was announced as the third location in the UK to be designated as an International Dark Skies Reserve, and the second such designated reserve in Wales, specially protected when it comes to the quality of the night air and reduction of light pollution.
Quality Cottages have a great selection of properties in and around Snowdonia and probably the best for taking in the night skies is Moel y Geifr, which not only has a huge glass conservatory but also comes complete with its own telescope. Located on the edge of the National Park, in a remote setting high above Harlech, this recently restored mountain farmhouse sleeps up to seven and has the most amazing views across all of Snowdonia and the Lleyn Peninsula. During the daylight hours Snowdonia is a wonderful natural playground for visitors of all ages and had plenty to offer visitors - be it walking, mountain biking, horse riding, wildlife encounters or adrenaline adventures.
Prices for stays at Moel y Geifr start from £710 per week, for up to seven sharing on self-catering basis in low season. For more information or to book visit www.qualitycottages.co.uk or call 01348 837871.
Carnewas & Bedruthan Steps, Cornwall
Carnewas & Bedruthan Steps is one of the most popular locations along the rugged Cornish coastline, largely thanks to the amazing star gazing opportunities this National Trust area has to offer. This spot on the coast of north Cornwall has been officially accredited with Dark Sky Discovery status and on a clear night, it is possible to enjoy panoramic ocean views under a blanket of bright twinkling stars and with any luck – as well as a pair of binoculars – you can even spot the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way. Mawgan Porth is just a five minute drive away from Carnewas & Bedruthan Steps and provides an ideal base for enjoying some awesome star gazing evenings.
Breaks in Cornwall can offer three night stays at the White Lodge Apartments in Mawgan Porth from £255, based on up to two sharing a one bedroom apartment on self-catering basis. For more information and to book, visit www.breaksincornwall.com or call 01621 787704.
The Beach House, Pembrokeshire
West Wales' Pembrokeshire Coast is home to a huge number of Dark Sky Discovery Sites and is known for offering some of the best locations from which to view the Milky Way. On a secluded private beach, just 10 minutes' from Tenby, The Beach House is not only a colossal luxury party that's packed with everything needed for a fantastic house party, it also has it's own 'Sky Lounge' complete with huge glass roof and a telescope that make for fantastic star gazing without even venturing outside.
This 11 bedroom house is packed with great facilities. As well as the Sky Lounge, there's a billiard room; bar; library; arts and crafts studio; 10 acres of gardens; gym and massage treatment room; a 'den' for kids; private slipway and berth for a small boat; and a professionally-equipped music studio complete with amps, electric drums, microphones, conga drums and electric guitars. It's a brilliant place for catering a party as there are two kitchens; one that’s the ‘family kitchen’ and another for serious cooks, equipped with two of everything so it's even possible to run a mini Masterchef or Bake Off competition. For extra special occasions, outside catering and maid services can be arranged too.
Quality Cottages offer seven night stays from £8,985 or three night stay from £5,785 based on up to 22 adults (or 20 adults and 6 children) sharing on self-catering basis in low season. For more information and to book, visit www.qualitycottages.co.uk or call 01348 837871.
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