Astronomy in the South Downs

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Duration: 3 nights
Interests: Explore Nature
from £359pp £309pp

Join our professor to learn about stars and how they evolve into objects like pulsars – the ‘lighthouses’ of the universe - and black holes, with their incredible gravitational pull. You’ll learn amazing facts about the eight planets in our solar system plus the myriad now being found further away. We will discuss the various on-going studies seeking to discover whether or not life exists elsewhere in the universe. Enjoy free afternoons to explore the local area; our Discovery Points are full of ideas. Each evening (weather permitting), you’ll observe the night sky with an eight-inch telescope from the grounds of the house. The scope is powerful enough to see our nearest planets, including Saturn.

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, weather permitting

What’s included

  • 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

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

You can check-in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (better 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.


On the first morning we learn about the different types of stars, how they evolve in to exotic objects like pulsars and black holes, and how they are arranged in galaxies. In the evening (weather permitting), we will observe the night sky from the grounds of the House.


On the second morning we will learn about planets, both in our solar system and the myriad of planets being found around other stars. We will discuss the various on-going studies to discover if life exists elsewhere in the universe.


Depart after a leisurely breakfast.


Abingworth Hall

Tucked away in the village of Thakeham at the foot of the South Downs, Abingworth Hall has stood in one form another since the 13th century. Gutted by fire, it was rebuilt in 1910 in its current distinctive style. As well as 27 ensuite rooms the house has all the ingredients you need for the perfect country house stay: three comfortable lounges with squishy sofas to kick back in, the largest of which opens onto an attractive conservatory and bar in which to dally, great food and super-comfy rooms to retire to. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to walking here; go for a lazy amble around the wildlife rich chalk Downlands to discover a colourful tapestry of historic villages, thatched cottages, pastoral landscapes and vibrant market towns. Highlights of your stay might include the Seven Sisters, the Glorious Goodwood estate, the Devil’s Dyke and Chantonbury Ring, as well as Arundel and the National Trust property at Petworth. Take your pick.

 

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the Hall’s smartly presented rooms, which make use of every nook-and-cranny in the interesting architecture of this characterful house. With 27 bedrooms, Abingworth Hall has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good and Better Rooms to choose from. Clean and bright, with accent colours to offset the simple palette, the rooms are airy and light. Better Rooms might have a feature wall or strong print wallpaper as well as pretty tiles in the ensuite bathroom.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress, larger television, enhanced toiletries and a fluffy bathrobe & slippers – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-20 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive garden, outdoor swimming pool, multi-purpose activity room, three lounges, library and board games to borrow

After a day strolling on the South Downs, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax in the large gardens and sit by the pretty pond, turn your hand to croquet or practice on the putting green. Ease through a couple of lengths of the heated outdoor pool if you’ve still got energy to burn. Hole up in the light-filled conservatory with pretty views of the gardens or retire to the Drawing Room with its wood-panelled walls, log burner, library of books to browse and comfy seats to sink in to; there’s a telescope for you to scour the night sky too. In the evening, take your seat in the bar or join fellow guests in the large ballroom for the evening activity.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Abingworth Hall is varied and tasty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the dining room, which has a giant brick fireplace at its heart, hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try a five-course feast of local Sussex flavours. Look out for the Sussex Churdle, a traditional, meaty ploughboy lunch, local Chiddingly beef cooked with black olives and Sussex smokies, smoked haddock served in a prawn sauce. Cap it all with a Sussex Pond Pudding, a pud that’s part of the honourable tradition of British dishes with names to pique the interest more than the appetite, which is actually bright and zingy, suety and syrupy all at the same time

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865

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Getting to Abingworth Hall

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

What to Bring

  • Warm clothing for night-time observation, including a hat and gloves
  • A telescope (if you have one) and binoculars
  • Small torch

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change.
Non-member associate fee: £10 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Version Price Status Trip Notes Book
2019
01 Nov - 04 Nov Astronomy £379 £354 Save £25 Per Person Book Now
2020
14 Feb - 17 Feb Astronomy £359 £309 Save £50 Per Person Book Now
Duration:
3 nights
Interests:
Explore Nature

3 nights from £359pp £309pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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