Fancy something romantic to do with your other half – and away from the stress of planning your wedding? The National Parks of the Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors, Northumberland and South Downs have joined forces to offer a host of starry events during the Dark Skies Festival from 15th February to 3rd March.
There are events for families, first-time stargazers and for those looking to expand their knowledge of the star constellations and astrophotography.
Premier Cottages has a range of properties in the parks that make an ideal base for those wishing to enjoy the festival including our two favourites below:
Unique Retreats, North Yorkshire
Unique Retreats' five stylish cottages are set in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, which is home to some of the darkest skies in the UK due to its low light pollution and clear horizons.
For Dark Skies Festival 2019, it's all things celestial with a variety of events. The stellar line-up includes night time photography workshops, special lectures, Go Ape! Night Zip, night walks and late-night stargazing.
Every one of Unique Retreats' cottages is packed with character and designer inspired interiors plus, original beams and stone fireplaces or wood burners. Three of the cottages also have their own private enclosed garden.
A three-night weekend or three-night mid-week stay during the Festival in Unique Retreat's sleeps two Ewelands Retreat starts from £346.50 and a three-night weekend or four-night mid-week stay in sleeps six Cowslip Cottage is £504. Both prices include a special “dark skies” discount of 10%.
Quote “dark skies” on booking to redeem (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 07962 223582).
Beacon Hill Farm, Northumberland
The Northumberland International Dark Sky Park is one of Europe's largest areas of protected night sky and also one of the darkest, making it an amazing spot for stargazing. Just on the border of the park, Beacon Hill Farm has its own observatory, featuring a Celestron C8-AXLT (AVX) OTA and comfortable seating for up to eight people.
The 350 acre estate also boasts a swimming pool and spa featuring: a steam room, Laconium Therapy Room and The Orangery – a room with a heated floor, steam loungers and 180 degree views through floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the countryside. Tennis courts, a games room and Harry Potter woodland trail are also available.
During the Festival, a three night weekend break in Beech Cottage, sleeping six, starts from £507 and a three night weekend stay in Ash Cottage, sleeping four, starts from £411. (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01670 780900)
Details on the Dark Skies Festival can be found at http://www.darkskiesnationalparks.org.uk