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Kielder Observatory

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Available dates:

Strolling, stargazing and stunning views.

£195pp
Book your experience
Available dates:
  • Duration

    2 Nights
  • Accommodation

    Hostel
  • Food

    Some provided. Details below
  • Difficulty Levels

    Multiple options available
    1 - 2

A weekend of walking and socialising in Northumberland. You’re going to be star struck this weekend (literally) as we’re combining great walking with a spot of astro tourism in the heart of Northumberland’s Dark Skies Park.

With official gold-tier recognition by the International Dark Sky Association, Northumberland is one of the best places in England for stargazing.

So, with stunning walks around Hadrian’s Wall and an immaculate, cosy bunkhouse as a base, we’ve compiled an itinerary that also includes an evening spent at Kielder’s Observatory for an out-of-this-world adventure.

2017 Dates:

24-26th November (Sold Out), 8-10th December (Sold Out).

2018 Dates:

19-21st January, 26-28th January, 16-18th February, 9-11th March (Sold Out), 23-25th March, 16-18th November, 23-25th November & 7-9th December.

In a nutshell:

  • Feel invigorated having walked through some fine scenic and historic landscape including following a section of Hadrian’s Wall.
  • Be amazed at the wonder of the dark skies at Kielder’s Observatory.
  • Feel relaxed as you make yourself at home in a spacious converted stone barn.
  • Tuck in to some great tasting food prepared for you.

Images by Kielder Observatory

About the Area:

Northumberland Dark Sky Reserve

Northumberland is fantastic for exploring, both during the day time and at night. The National Park is the 3rd largest protected Dark Sky reserve in the world.

In the heart of the stunning Kielder Forest is the observatory which makes it a perfect place to watch in wonder as the magic of our dark sky comes into view.

On a clear night you can stand and stare from the observation deck at a sky filled with billions of stars and the Milky Way arching overhead. Inside, powerful telescopes and knowledgeable astronomists open up a world of planets, galaxies and star clusters.

During the day, there’s an infinite number of beautiful walks with the heritage of Hadrian’s Wall adding a further layer of interest alongside awe-inspiring scenery.

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Itinerary

Friday

Feel free to arrive any time after 5pm. As soon as you step through the door of Demesne and into the living room which is ideal for chilling out, you’ll fall under the spell of the weekend.

With our Large Outdoors host greeting and introducing you to your walking buddies, it will be easy to slip into relaxation-mode. Dinner will be served around 8pm.

Images by Kielder Observatory

Saturday

This morning its time to head out for a gentle and relaxing walk, from our venue we have easy access to explore some of the finest scenery in Northumberland. Options include heading out along Hadrian’s wall or trekking through Kielder Forest, an area that is often overlooked as walkers rush to get to Scotland and yet it offers beautiful, varied scenery.

Although a little shorter than our normal Saturday walk we will still enjoy a great day out. Then its back to our hostel for an early evening meal and the chance to relax or enjoy a quick snooze.

It’s then time to go stargazing at Kielder Observatory (NB: entry to the Observatory is included in the price of this weekend). After an enlightening talk on astronomy, we’re treated to a tour of the Observatory before getting a chance to peek at the stars through the powerful telescopes.

Amazing gazing will be in the offing if we have clear skies when you can expect to see distant galaxies, the Milky Way and star clusters.

With experts on-hand there is plenty of time to ask questions, have a go at the big telescopes and marvel at the stars. They also serve a rather cracking hot chocolate.

Images by Kielder Observatory

 

Images by Kielder Observatory

Sunday

After a well deserved and leisurely breakfast we leave the bunkhouse and head out to explore one of Northumberland’s most famous landmarks.

It’s time to come down to earth as we’re off to the wall, Hadrian’s Wall.

We head 20-minutes’ south and strike out, joining the wall at Housesteads, one of the most complete parts of the wall and offering, in our opinion, one of the finest views in Northumberland.

The wall is one of Britain’s greatest heritage sights and alongside the gorgeous scenery there will no doubt be much marveling at just how skilled the Romans were to construct the landmark.

Walk over, we had to the nearest pub for our obligatory Sunday lunch as a fitting end to the weekend’s events

Who will be looking after you...

Alex
Alex Kendall
Operations Director
Gareth Williams
Gareth Williams
Founder

Our Base:

We didn’t think a bunkhouse would ever have the ‘wow’ factor but the one at Demesne Farm certainly warrants such a tag. The converted stone barn retains main characterful features while providing spacious, yet cosy accommodation for groups.

With its large arch windows, wood burning stove and plenty of comfy seats, the living room is a great spot for relaxing, either carrying on conversations started over dinner, or simply finding a quiet corner to curl up with a book.

Demesne is located in Bellingham which is worth wandering through and has numerous delightful short walks radiating out from the village if you need more fresh air!

Please note our November 2017 trip to the observatory starts at 11:30pm and lasts till 2:30am. 

All other dates the Observatory trip will start earlier in the evening and we should be back in the hostel for midnight(ish). 

Demesne Farm Bunkhouse

Demesne Farm Bunkhouse

 

  • Good to know:

    Good to know:

    • This venue supplies bedding but you will need a towel.
    • You are welcome to bring your own alcohol to drink on this trip.
    • Travel on the trip is not included, this means we will need to car share to the observatory and to the start locations of the daily walks.
    • Please don’t forget your head torch and ideally this should have a red light setting.
    • I am afraid dogs are not allowed on this trip, unless they are registered assistance dogs.
    • Please note there is limited mobile phone signal or wifi at this venue.
    • This trip is open to anyone over 18 years of age and there is no upper age limit.

    Arrivals:

    You are welcome to arrive any time from 5pm onwards and settle in before we serve an evening meal at about 8pm. Please let us know if you intend arriving after 10pm.

    How many walk options are offered?

    On each of our weekends we aim to offer two or more walk options each day, so you have a choice of a harder or easier day out. However, this is not always possible. On weekends where there is a small group, instead of cancelling the weekend, we will all head out on the same walk. This walk will be planned so that everyone can have a good day out, with the aim being a social group exploration of the local countryside.

    Transport during the weekend:

    As often as possible, we aim to walk straight from the door of the accommodation. However, sometimes the best walks are a little further away and we need to drive. For these occasions, we encourage our guests to car-share to get to and from the walk location, so that we fit into as few vehicles as possible. If you are a driver, if would be very helpful if you would consider volunteering for this if required!

    Please also remember to bring some loose change for car park charges, which are sometimes unavoidable.

    Foods and Drinks:

    For this weekend we provide the following meals:

    • Evening meals on both Friday and Saturday.
    • Breakfasts – Our standard breakfast is a selection of cereals, yoghurts, fruit and toast.
    • Packed Lunch for Saturday – We supply sandwiches, fruit, cereal bars / biscuits and crisps. However, we do not supply any drinks so please ensure you have a water bottle with you.
    • Sunday, we usually head to a local pub or café for lunch which is not included in the price of the weekend.

    As well as meals, we also provide a variety of complimentary soft drinks and beverages – tea & coffee which includes herbal, fruit and decaffeinated options and fruit squashes.

    We do not supply alcohol but you are welcome to bring your own

    Vegetarian or Vegan:

    We will always supply a vegetarian of vegan meal, however due to the remote locations of our venues these must be booked in advance. Simply complete the dietary section during the booking process or if your dietary needs have changed email the office and we will update your records.

    We are unable to offer Halal or Kosher meals but will be happy to supply a vegetarian alternative, please ensure you request this when booking.

    Allergies, Intolerances & Gluten Free.

    Please ensure you list any allergies and intolerances clearly during the booking process, with notice we are able to offer gluten free meals and can accommodate most allergies. However, please note that due to the shared nature of the kitchens we cannot eliminate the possibility of cross contamination. If you have any questions then please contact the office.

    If you have further questions please view our FAQ’s page or email the main Large Outdoors office.
  • Free collection from Hexham Train Station:

    Nearest Station: Hexham

    Collection Times: 3:30pm 

    For this weekend we can collect and return train travellers to the train station that is nearest to our base.

    Places for this shuttle service are limited and must be booked at least five days before the trip takes place by contacting the Large Outdoors office to reserve space.

    At the end of the trip we will endeavour to get you back to the same station by a certain time. However as the finishing time might vary, we would strongly advise booking an open return ticket that will provide you with greater flexibility.

  • Ticket / room types and deposits:

    Shared Room

    This is our standard ticket ideal for solo travellers, individuals and small groups of friends, we will place you in a suitable same sex room, sharing with others. This will vary on the venue and can be twin rooms up to dorm style rooms on our hostel based trips.

    If you make one booking for a group of people we will do our best to accommodate you all in one room. However, if you and your friends have made a series of separate bookings but wish to be together, simply email us with a group list.

    Private Rooms

    Whenever possible we will always offer any single or twin / double rooms as available. Please note single rooms are very popular and sell out quickly. Private twin rooms will have two single beds / bunk and a double room will have a double bed.

    Advanced Savers

    Just like booking a train, the earlier you book the less you pay. Please note that advanced saver tickets are non-refundable and are only available for shared room tickets. You are not able to pay a deposit as the full value is due on booking.

    Deposits:

    You can secure your place on this trip with a 50% deposit, the balance is then due no less than 12 weeks before you travel. Failure to pay your balance on time could result in you losing your deposit and place on this trip. If the trip is within 12 weeks then you will need to pay in full to secure your place.

Get Directions
Demesne Farm
Bellingham
Northumberland
NE48 2BS
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What our members have to say...

  • I have been joining Large Outdoors on their outdoor adventures for many years now. I wasn’t always an active person and as a self-confessed city dweller I never thought I would appreciate so much of what is on offer when you leave the suburbs behind you. Large Outdoors has not only made me appreciate what natural beauty is on our door step, it has also given me the confidence to challenge myself and see things differently.
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    Shad Everett
    Member since 2009
  • Since my first Large Outdoors weekend I have rediscovered my love for the countryside, met so many great people and had a whole lot of fun. I've sailed around the Inner Hebrides on a luxurious yacht, climbed the 3 national peaks Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scafel Pike, danced my socks off at the Halloween and New Year celebrations and fallen in love with the beautiful Isle of Skye. Every trip has been amazing fun and I have met so many lovely people and made friends for life. Cheers Large Outdoors!
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    Member Since 2012
  • I have attended Large Outdoors weekends for the last two years , achieving many challenges in the British countryside. Every weekend has been very well organised, in beautiful locations, wonderful walks, nutritious food with lovely people.
    I have learned new skills and gained confidence in the outdoors from the mountain leaders. I thoroughly enjoy every weekend and always look forward to the next.
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    Elizabeth Brooks
    Member Since 2014
  • I love the concept of the Large Outdoors weekends and I like to have at least one or two booked for the future, to have something to look forward to. A weekend trip finds me visiting some fabulous parts of the country: Northumberland, Dorset, Brecon Beacons, Lake District, North York Moors... hills, mountains, moors and coast - all well covered by the amazing choice of locations to pick from, with decent (or lovely!) accommodation, great food and qualified walk leaders. They're also very good value.
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    Sue Langford
    Member since 2008
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the experience from beginning to end. The host Kendra was very welcoming upon arrival at the youth hostel, all walkers and climbers were friendly and we got on great as a group. The home cooked food was amazing and the idea of 'kitchen angels' worked really well. The rock climbing instructor and his son were brilliant and helped us all, providing constant guidance and encouragement.
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    Penny Grainger
    Member Since 2016
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