Hexham hotel to become UK’s first with star-gazing site

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Battlesteads Hotel and Restaurant in Wark, near Hexham has announced the opening of its new on-site observatory, due for launch this month.

The new addition will be located within the boutique’s grounds, which sits on the edge of Northumberland National Park and gained Dark Sky Park status in December 2013, and will be the first of its kind at a hotel in the UK.

The observatory will be fully accessible throughout the night to guests staying in one of the hotel’s five newly constructed eco-lodges. Facing south, it can accommodate up to 25 people and is equipped with the latest telescopes aimed at both the beginner and the more experienced astronomers.

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Under the watchful eye of Roy Alexander, professional astronomer and teacher, Battlesteads will run courses targeted at all levels of stargazer, from introductory ‘Get to know your telescope’ sessions to sessions focussing on identifying and tracking some of the night-sky’s star performers.

Commenting on the Dark Sky Observatory, Richard Slade, owner of Battlesteads, says: “This marks an exciting new chapter for Battlesteads. We have had a vision to open up our beautiful skies to guests for many years and to see these plans now come alive is out of this world. Astro-tourism is an emerging and growing leisure market. With such a world-class environment for studying the stars on our doorstep it made sense to embrace this and add to the many reasons to visit Battlesteads and the county of Northumberland.”

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