Astronomy in the Peak District
Informative talks, practical astronomy sessions and a visit to Jodrell Bank
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Meadows & hills
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 Uranus, the double star Albireo and the Andromeda galaxy. We'll also visit Jodrell Bank Observatory and marvel at the giant Lovell Telescope.
- 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
- 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
The Peveril of the Peak occupies a wonderful position in the village of Thorpe, less than a mile from the famous stepping stones at the entrance to the Dove Dale gorge. Named after the novel by Sir Walter Scott, it offers excellent facilities and is surrounded by extensive grounds.
These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:
These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:
Only an extra £15 per person per night
Choose Your Room: Our new “Choose Your Room” service is available at our UK country houses, providing the option to choose and confirm a specific room for an extra £30 per room. Supplement to upgrade to 'Better' rooms still apply. The choice of room number must be of the same room type as originally booked and is subject to availability.
At the house
|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.
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.
You can check-in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (better rooms from 1pm). We invite everyone to afternoon tea.
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 and if appropriate, we'll enjoy an outing to Jodrell Bank Observatory. 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.
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! Later on this afternoon we plan to visit Jodrell Bank Observatory, where we can marvel at the giant Lovell Telescope. A splendid way to round off this wonderful holiday!
Depart after a leisurely breakfast.
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
What to bring
- Please bring warm outdoor clothing, as the best nights for astronomy can be cold
- Strong, comfortable footwear with a good tread is essential
- A telescope (if you have one) and binoculars
- A torch
If you’d like to do some reading, Star Maps for Beginners by IM Levitt and RK Marshall is recommended
Discover the Peak District
The Peveril of the Peak occupies a wonderfully peaceful location in the village of Thorpe, and is surrounded by the rolling countryside of the Derbyshire Dales.
The nearest facilities are in the small town of Ashbourne, about 3 miles away. Here you’ll find a full range of shops plus supermarkets, banks, chemists, pubs and cafés.
During your stay you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
One of the natural wonders of the Peak District, the spectacular limestone valley of Dove Dale is less than 1 mile from The Peveril of the Peak – just follow the footpath signs from the car park.
Home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, Chatsworth House is one of Britain’s most visited stately homes, which sits at the heart of a huge estate. Throughout the house there are fine displays of furniture, silver, tapestries, porcelain and paintings. The formal gardens cover 105 acres and include fountains, sculptures and a maze. Chatsworth is around 50 minutes' drive from The Peveril of the Peak. www.chatsworth.org
Crich Tramways Village
Located near the village of Crich, about 45 minutes' drive away, the National Tramway Museum has an impressive collection of vintage trams which run on a recreated historic street. www.tramway.co.uk
The Regency spa town of Buxton is about 19 miles from the Peveril of the Peak. Two key attractions are the town’s opera house, and Poole’s Cavern show cave. www.poolescavern.co.uk or www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk
The popular village of Castleton is an excellent starting point for walks in the ‘Dark Peak’; just under an hour's drive away. Nearby are four extensive show caves: Peak Cavern, Blue John Cavern, Speedwell Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern. www.castleton.co.uk/caverns
Home to the famous ‘Bakewell Pudding’, this is one of the most attractive small towns in the national park. Bakewell is around 35 minutes' drive away.
The huge Alton Towers theme park is only 30 minutes' drive away and is a very popular option for families. www.altontowers.com
This historic mill, dating from 1771, is a World Heritage Site, about 35 minutes' drive away. www.cromfordmill.co.uk
A fortified medieval manor house, dating from the 12th century. Haddon Hall is located near Bakewell, about 45 minutes' drive away. www.haddonhall.co.uk
The Tissington Trail is just half a mile away from The Peveril of the Peak. This offers 13 miles of traffic-free cycling along a disused railway line and connects with the 17 mile High Peak Trail. Cycle hire is available nearby.
Travel to Dovedale
Our address is: The Peveril of the Peak, Thorpe, Dovedale, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 2AW
The nearest railway stations are Buxton or Derby. For train times and route planning by train visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or phone 03457 48 49 50.
The 19 mile journey from Buxton railway station takes approximately 35 minutes; the 17 mile journey from Derby takes approx 40 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost £32 per taxi from Derby or £42 from Buxton. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Peveril of the Peak Manager.
There is a bus service as far as Ashbourne, about 3 miles from our country house. From Buxton take the 442 service or from Derby catch the SW1 service. For bus times see www.travelineeastmidlands.co.uk
From Ashbourne complete your journey by taxi, or use the Derbyshire Connect service. This service must be prebooked at least 48 hours in advance by calling 01335 342 951
From the south leave the M1 at junction 24 and head to Ashbourne via the A50 and A515. Continue north on the A515 heading towards Buxton. 1 mile north of Ashbourne turn left, signposted to Thorpe, Dovedale and Ilam. After a further 2 miles the road bends sharply left by the Old Dog pub. The Peveril of the Peak lies ahead at the bottom of the hill. Look out for the sign.
From Buxton take the A515 south towards Ashbourne. After 17 miles turn right at a crossroads, following signs to Thorpe. After 1 mile turn right by the Old Dog pub. The Peveril of the Peak lies ahead at the bottom of the hill. Look out for the sign.
From the west leave the M6 at junction 15 and head via the A50, Cheadle (A521) and Oakamoor (A5417) to the A52. At the junction of the A52 and the A523 take the minor road signposted to Ilam. After 1½ miles turn left and descend the hill. Cross the bridge at Ilam, turn right and follow the road up a steep hill and onwards through Dovedale and Thorpe village. The Peveril of the Peak is on the left hand side at the end of the village.
Travelling from overseas
Dovedale is located in the centre of the UK, with a number of airport options.
East Midlands Airport is about 30 miles away - this is served by short-haul European flights. If you're flying here we'd recommend pre-booking a taxi direct to the Peveril of the Peak.
London Luton Airport has lots of low-cost European flights. From here take the shuttle bus to Luton Airport Parkway station, then on by train to Derby with 1 change at Leicester. Allow 1 hour 50 minutes to Derby - see www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times. Complete your journey by taxi (see above).
Manchester Airport has a much wider range of long-haul flights. There are trains every hour from the airport to Buxton with one change at Manchester Piccadilly. Allow 1 hour 40 minutes to Buxton - see www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times. Complete your journey by taxi (see above).
Flying to London Heathrow Airport is another option, but has a longer onward train journey - allow 3 hours to reach Derby. From Heathrow first take the Piccadilly line Underground train to London St Pancras. From here take a train to direct to Derby - see www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times. Complete your journey by taxi (see above).
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.
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person