Astronomy in Exmoor

Holnicote House

Code: SLWAB

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Activity types:

  • Free WiFi
  • Hills & moorland
  • Indoors
  • Outdoors
From £400.00 - 4 nights

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Prices are per person

Room 1:
Room 2:
Room 3:

Holiday overview

Start making sense of the night sky with absorbing talks and practical sessions looking at galaxies, stars, the moon and planets, comets, meteors and asteroids. In the evenings we hope to view Jupiter and the Beehive star cluster, amongst other objects. We also have a chance of observing the International Space Station.

Holiday highlights

  • Morning talks and discussions from your expert leader
  • Free afternoons to explore the local area independently
  • Discover and view objects in the night sky each evening

Price includes

  • High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
  • Guidance from a knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, to ensure you get the most from your holiday
  • All essential transport on a comfortable, good-quality mini-coach or other mode of transport, e.g. boat
  • Entrance fees to venues included as part of your holiday’s itinerary

Accommodation

HF Holidays' Holnicote House in Selworthy

As a historic National Trust property, Holnicote House is full of charm and character. Located on the extensive Holnicote Estate, at the foot of Exmoor, it is well suited to a relaxing holiday.

Holnicote House has 32 newly refurbished bedrooms. Some are located in the main house, with others in the thatched cottages, called Butlers and Guns, in the grounds.

Choose your room

Classic Rooms
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• TV
• Hairdryer
• Tea and coffee-making facilities
• Single room are available at no extra charge 
Premium Rooms
• Check-in from 1:30pm
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views
• Toweling robe, complimentary slippers
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Available from an extra £10 per person per night
Family Rooms
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children

Facilities

• Excellent boot and drying rooms 
• Two lounges 
• Dining rooms 
• Bar 
• Ballroom
• Free WiFi available in some public rooms 
• Range of board games and books
• Heated outdoor swimming pool (open May to September
• Croquet lawn

Dining

All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.

Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
 Take your fill from our famous self-service picnic lunches
A relaxed social dinner is a highlight of any stay at our Country Houses

An example of Selworthy evening meal

Your evenings

Make the most of your evening or join us at the bar


Just relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our optional evening activities.

All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.

Accessibility

More details on Selworthy accessibility

Additional information

  • Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
  • Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
  • Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
  • Information can be provided in large print
  • Staff have received disability awareness training
  • Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
  • Fridge for medication can be supplied

Itinerary

Arrival day

You can check-in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (premium rooms from 1pm). We invite everyone to afternoon tea. This is the first occasion when everyone in the country house meets together – an opportunity to meet your leader and fellow guests, and find out more about your holiday.

Other days

Each day after a tasty breakfast, we'll enjoy a talk by our knowledgeable leader. We pride ourselves on our award-winning lunches, and you’ll get to savour these before some free time in the afternoon. You can use our Discovery Point to explore the lovely local area or simply relax in the wonderful surroundings of our country house. In the evening (weather permitting), we will observe the night sky from the grounds of the house. During this holiday there may also be the possibility of observing the International Space Station. We can also enjoy the sociable activities on offer at the Country House or quietly relax in the bar or a cosy lounge.

The origin of the universe

This morning we cover topics including theories of the origin of the universe and the formation of galaxies, nebulae and star clusters. In the evening (weather permitting), we will observe the night sky from the grounds of the house. 

Stars, black holes and pulsars

Topics covered this morning will include stars  (with particular emphasis on the Sun), black holes, pulsars, and quasars. Weather permitting we will also try to observe sunspots. 

Planets, comets and asteroids

This morning we will learn about the planets, comets, and asteroids. We will also discuss the possible fates of the Universe!

Departure day

Depart after a leisurely breakfast

What to bring

  • Outdoor clothing appropriate to the season, including waterproofs
  • Strong, comfortable footwear with a good tread is essential
  • A telescope (if you have one) and binoculars
  • Thermos flask (optional)

 

Local area

Discover Exmoor

During your stay at Holnicote House you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest, either in your free time, or on your journey to and from Selworthy:

Thatched cottage in Selworthy villageSelworthy Village
Less than a mile from Holnicote House is Selworthy village. At first glance the thatched cottages seem typical of many ancient settlements in this area. However, Selworthy is not as old as it looks, having been rebuilt in 1828 by Sir Thomas Acland. Sir Thomas was a philanthropist and designed the 'model' village himself to provide housing for the aged and infirm of the estate. He used traditional designs and materials to create a deliberately old-fashioned village. 

Green steam locomotive on West Somerset RailwayWest Somerset Railway
Travel on Britain’s longest steam railway from Minehead to Bishops Lydyard. Now lovingly restored by volunteers, the line recreates a classic Great Western Railway branch line with steam trains operating daily from April to October. Minehead station is 10 minutes' drive from Selworthy, or can be reached on the number 300 bus. www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk

 

Dunster Castle and its surrounding parklandDunster Castle

An historic castle transformed into a comfortable stately home for the Luttrell family. Some highlights include the 'modern' 1950s kitchen and the snooker room. Dunster Castle sits in extensive gardens, complete with its working watermill. The adjacent town of Dunster is full of character and also well worth a visit. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunster-castle

 

Lynton & Lynmouth
The quaint Victorian town of Lynton sits high on a hill, overlooking the coast and Lynmouth harbour. The two settlements are connected by the historic cliff railway. The short walk from Lynton to the Valley of Rocks is highly recommended.

Coleridge Cottage
The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) and his wife Sara lived in the village of Nether Stowey, about 45 minutes' drive from Selworthy, from 1796 to 1799. In 1909 it was acquired by the National Trust, and later restored and opened to the public. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/coleridge-cottage

Hestercombe Gardens
Hestercombe Gardens, around an hour's drive away near Taunton, were constructed in three periods - a landscape garden from the 1750s, a Victorian terrace and shrubbery from the 1870s, and Edwardian gardens of 1904-1908 designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. www.hestercombe.com

Exterior of Arlington Court National Trust houseArlington Court
Arlington Court, about an hour's drive away near Barnstaple is a fine Regency house set in an extensive estate. The grounds include a formal Victorian garden whilst the stables house the National Trust’s carriage collection of over fifty horse-drawn vehicles. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/arlington-court

Travel

Travel to Selworthy

Our address is: Holnicote House, Selworthy, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8TJ

How to get to us by train

By train:

The nearest railway station is at Taunton. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).

Get to us by Taxi

By taxi:

The 29 mile journey from Taunton railway station takes approximately 50 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £57 per taxi. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. taxi company will arrange shared taxis wherever possible. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Holnicote House Manager.

Bus

By bus:

The number 28 bus operates between Taunton station and Minehead. At Minehead change for the number 10 bus that will take you to the Selworthy turn (which is at the end of Holnicote House drive). A 2 minute walk along the drive will bring you to the house. Alternatively pre-book a taxi from Minehead; the 4½ mile journey will cost you approx £10 from our recommended taxi provider. For bus times see www.traveline.info

Driving to us

By car:

From Bridgewater take the A39 though the southern outskirts of Minehead towards Porlock. Holnicote House is on the left about 4½ miles out of Minehead, and about ¾ mile after the signpost to Luccombe (do not follow the signs to Selworthy). After the Selworthy Village sign look out for our sign 500 yards further on, on the left. Free car parking is available in the grounds.

 Travel by plane

Travelling from Overseas

For most guests, travelling to London Heathrow airport is the most convenient option.

From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. From here there are direct trains to Taunton. Its a relatively straightforward journey - allow 2½ hours. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.

From Taunton you can travel on to Selworthy by bus or taxi (see above).

Leaders

Steve Bullen.

Steve has been leading for HF Holidays since 1985. He has led numerous holidays from our Worldwide selection including holidays in the Caribbean, New Zealand, Canada, South America, South Africa, Asia, and many of our European destinations.

Steve also regularly leads for our Leisure Activities department running holidays on wildlife, photography, geology, and astronomy. He has good knowledge of wildlife, especially birdlife.

His interest in astronomy often takes him to various parts of the world to see and photograph solar eclipses.

He lives in Lancaster where he manages a small local nature reserve.

Steve is leading our 10 January 2018 departure. 

Reviews

Dates & Prices

Date Description Nights Brochure price Buy today for Book
19 Mar 2018 SLWAB - Astronomy in Exmoor - Selworthy 4 £475.00 £400.00 Save £75 off pp Book Now

Prices are per person

Information

  • Premium single room: £15 per night
  • Premium twin/double room: £10 per person per night
  • Non-member associate fee: £10 per person

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