Astronomy in the Brecon Beacons

Leisure - Natural World - Astronomy - AdobeStock_138325035.jpeg
Duration: 3 nights
Interests: Explore Nature
from £399pp £374pp

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
  • If applicable, 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're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards.


Mornings

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!

Afternoons

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. There are also lots of ideas on our Brecon Local Area Page.

Evenings

Weather permitting, your evenings will be spent outdoors in the grounds of the country house, observing the night sky. Nythfa House sits on a high point above Brecon and enjoys reasonably dark skies away from any immediate areas of street lighting.

On the 22nd October 2021 departure there are a few exciting things going on in the night sky which we might be able to view. The Orionids Meteor Shower will be in progress with up to 20 meteors per hour visible at its peak. This meteor shower is made up of dust grains left behind by Halley’s comet. The best time to view the shower is just after midnight although it does coincide with an almost full moon (a waning gibbous phase) which may make the meteors harder to spot. Meteors will radiate from the Orion constellation but can appear anywhere so keep your eyes peeled!

The waning gibbous moon will be an interesting sight to look at through the telescope. It should be possible to see some of its areas of mountains and craters. Uranus will be close to the moon and might even be bright enough to spot with the naked eye. Both will be in the constellation of Aries. If you fancy being out just before sunrise, it may also be possible to spot Mercury – the innermost planet - at this time of year as it reaches its greatest western separation from the sun. It will appear above the eastern horizon shortly before sunrise.


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home. 


Nythfa House

Pretty country pile Nythfa House stands above the traditional mid-Wales market town of Brecon and sits within easy reach of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Having spent its early life as a large private house, the building has been converted into a comfortable country hotel. The interiors look like they’ve evolved naturally over time, staying rooted in the local area and house architecture while being filled with contemporary furniture and colours. As well as 31 rooms and a range of public spaces and an inviting indoor pool to tempt you, there are pretty grounds and a short walk to the streets of Brecon itself. The contrasting countryside close by provides challenges including sweeping ridges, an ascent of the Black Mountains and scaling Pen-y-Fan as well as more subtle strolls through the river-carved landscapes of the Melte Valley, along the trail of a series of awesome waterfalls, or time spent dawdling through the second-hand bookshops in Hay-on-Wye.

 

Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

Following the relaxation in government guidance on 19 July, we are continuing to take extra steps to keep our guests leaders, and staff safe in our HF country houses. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

The English, Scottish and Welsh governments are not in sync, so measures in our country houses will vary between the nations. With the relaxation of social distancing in England, from 19 July we will be allowing larger groups to dine and relax in the bar together. However, we will still give guests space e.g. we will seat 6 people at a table where pre-pandemic we may have seated 8. We will ensure our public rooms are well ventilated by opening doors and windows wherever possible. If you have any concerns about distancing, please speak to the House Manager. The government recommendation for England is to wear face coverings in crowded areas.

In Scotland and Wales physical distancing is still in place so this will be adhered to indoors and outdoors. Guests will need to wear face masks in public areas except when eating and drinking. The Scottish and Welsh governments are reviewing their guidance in August and we will adapt our measures in line with any updated guidance at this time.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. Menus for the week will be available in your room on arrival. A self-service breakfast will be served from 7.45am – 9am. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. Evening meals will be table service. A dinner order form will be available in each room for completion. Dinner is served at either 7.15pm or 7.30pm. Please check at the house for details. The bar will be open. We will be offering a table service but guests can also come to the bar to order (depending on local restrictions).

At this time the evening social programme has been replaced by individual or small group walks talks which allow guests to talk through the following day’s walk options with leaders. All of our swimming pools have opened as planned, except for Brecon and Glen Coe, which have delayed pool re-openings. Swimming pools are being operated in line with guidance provided by Swim England.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.

Rooms

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

Stay in the smartly presented rooms in the main house or in one of the eight garden rooms or three single bed pool rooms across the grounds. With 31 rooms - including four on the ground floor - Nythfa House has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good, Better and Best Rooms to choose from. Opt for Rooms 6 or 7 in the main house for delightfully decorated, spacious places to stay, each with sumptuous views over the garden and Brecon Beacons. Room 21 is a quirky ‘Better’ room up in the eaves, with a separate sitting space and cosy bedroom - just mind your head on the low ceiling! Look out for the fresh floral designs in the pretty garden rooms too, which have their own small deck from which to enjoy views of the gardens.

All ‘Good’ rooms are en-suite 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 and larger television. Upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 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, lounge, library and board games to borrow

After a day exploring waterfall country or the Beacons, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. At the front of the house there’s a pretty garden to pause in, with a putting green and croquet lawn attached. Duck into the conservatory to enjoy views out over the gardens from under the twisting branches of an old vine. Whether you relax in the lounge, or get together with other guests for a board game or great conversation, make sure to make time for the cosy bar, and try a dram of award-winning whisky from the local Penderyn distillery, which uses water from the Brecon Beacons National Park. There’s also a Brecon Botanicals gin that’s wonderfully well regarded.

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 Nythfa House is varied and tasty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the dining room hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try a five-course feast of regional flavours. Make a beeline for the big bay window table to try Cawl Cennin, a leek broth, served with a Welsh Rarebit finger, followed by Tatws Pum Munud, a speciality Welsh potato dish, or double roasted Welsh lamb. Round your evening off with South Wales marmalade sponge with lashings of Penderyn whisky custard.

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for Nythfa House

 

Nythfa House with blue sky.JPG

Getting to Nythfa House

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

More Information

Essential Information

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

Melvin Hoare

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.

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £30 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2021
22 Oct - 25 Oct 2021
3 Astronomy £399 £374 Save £25 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
Duration:
3 nights
Interests:
Explore Nature

3 nights from £399pp £374pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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