Astronomy in Exmoor
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.
- 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
- 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
You're welcome to check-in to your room from 2:30 p.m. onwards (upgraded rooms from 1 p.m.) Please join us for afternoon tea.
On astronomy holidays, you can enjoy informative talks from your Leader covering topics such as stars and galaxies, or perhaps a discussion on whether there is life elsewhere in the universe!
Your afternoons are free to explore the local area or relax in the country house. Our Discovery Points help you make the most out of your free afternoon. There’s plenty of maps and a selection of the best local walking routes, as well as weather forecasts and public transport options – plus details about other places to visit.
Weather permitting, your evenings shall be spent outdoors in the grounds of the country house, observing the night sky.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.
Lying near the attractive village of Selworthy, in the heart of the Exmoor National Park, historic Holnicote House stands within a series of peaceful gardens with spreading lawns. Once the centrepiece of an extensive 12,500 acre estate, the charming and characterful house was gifted to the National Trust in 1944. Since then it has been reimagined as a walkers’ retreat, with wonderful access to the countryside. As well as 32 delightful bedrooms, there are two comfortable lounges and a sociable bar. The landscaped gardens are still part of the wider Holnicote Estate and provide a wonderful area to wander. Outside the house, explore wild Exmoor, walk in the Quantocks, climb Dunkery Beacon and stroll on the Somerset Coast Path with the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, drop in Dunster Castle, ride a Victorian cliff railway and watch for wildlife including the majestic red stags.
Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi
Stay in one of the main building’s bright, beautifully presented rooms or in the thatched cottages in the grounds, called Butlers and Guns respectively. With 32 bedrooms, Holnicote House has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good, Better and Best Rooms to choose from: best rooms are on the first floor and decorated in keeping with the National Trust estate, with plenty of space and great views over the back garden, reaching out across Crawter Hill and Dunkery Hill, Somerset and Exmoor’s highest point. Ask for numbers 1, 4 or 9 to feel suitably special.
All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ 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.
Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, attractive garden, outdoor swimming pool, multi-purpose activity room, lounge, library and board games to borrow
After a day walking on Exmoor or exploring the heath and moorland, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax by sitting in the pretty gardens or challenge a fellow guest to a game of croquet. Take a dip in the large heated outdoor pool. For something less strenuous, snag a comfy chair in one of the cosy lounges, borrow a book, join a game of cards or scour the countryside through the large telescope. Head to the bar before dinner for a drink and a chance to catch up with your companions, best enjoyed by the windows overlooking the estate.
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 Holnicote House is hearty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the wood panelled dining room with its giant fireplace hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try classic Porlock oysters or Priddy Oggies, a local pasty of chicken, bacon and cheese. Mains might include Exmoor venison or Bellbrook valley trout, while you could cap it all with a Somerset apple cake, dressed with cream.
For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865
What to Bring
- Warm clothing for night-time observation, including a hat and gloves
- A telescope (if you have one) and binoculars
- Small torch
Melvin is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Leeds. He obtained a PhD in Astrophysics at University College London and carried out research at the University of Oxford and in Germany. Over his career he has used telescopes all over the world for his research that focuses on the formation on stars. He is on the science team for the next generation radio telescope - the Square Kilometre Array, which will be partly hosted by South Africa. Melvin currently leads an astronomy training project in several African developing countries.
All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £10 per person.
|Date (Start - End)||Nights||Itinerary||Price||Status||Trip Notes||Book|
27 Mar - 30 Mar
|3||Explore Nature||£389||Available||Trip Notes||Book Now|
3 nights from £389pp £389pp
...or call 020 3974 8865