Our wonderful small island is home to a surprising number of dark sky areas, where light pollution is kept under control and where, when conditions are right, visitors can feast their eyes on the wonders of a star filled night sky.
These same dark sky areas are also dotted with many independent hostels, bunkhouses and camping barns offering, flexible, low cost, self catering accommodation to star gazers.
Hostel and Bunkhouses in Dark Sky Parks
Capel Saron, Tyn Y Maes, Bethesda, Gwynedd LL57 3LX
Feast your eyes on the mesmerising star filled skies above Ogwen Valley in Snowdonia International Dark Sky Reserve and stay at Ogwen Valley Bunkhouse, for low cost, friendly, comfortable accommodation.
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Old School, Corris, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9TQ
Perfect for group & family celebrations, Corris hostel is a haven from the stresses of the outside world; with its homely & inspiring atmosphere, caring staff & cosy wood fires. Enjoy the gardens with BBQ & campfire areas. In the Dyfi Biosphere & Snowdonia National Park & close to Cadair Idris and Centre for Alternative Technology, it’s a walkers & cyclists paradise. On the Mach Loop with a CAMRA pub close by.
Well Road Centre, Moffat, DG10 9BT
The Well Road Centre sits in its own grounds in the charming town of Moffat. It is ideal for all types of groups, conferences, residential workshops, sports, social events and outdoor activity clubs. The Centre has two spacious meeting rooms, a large bright self-catering kitchen, dining room fully equipped for 65, games hall for indoor activities and table tennis room. Bring your own sleeping bags or linens for single duvets. Ample parking & storage.
Tregoyd Mountain Riders, Lower Cwmcadarn Farm, Felindre, Three Cocks, Brecon, Powys, Wales LD3 0TB
On a small hill farm in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Cadarn Bunkhouse is surrounded by views of the Black Mountains and the Wye Valley. With easy access to the mountains it is perfect for walking, mountain biking and horse riding whist the River Wye is great for canoeing. Self-catered bunkhouse, with the pub in Felindre half a mile away. Close to Hay on Wye and Brecon. Pony trekking available on-site, plus bike and canoe hire available locally.
Dolwyddelan, Betws-y-Coed, Snowdonia, North Wales LL25 0EJ
Situated in the beautiful Lledr Valley between Betws-y-Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog in Snowdonia National Park, Elens Castle Hotel Bunkroom offers budget accommodation within a cosy hotel setting. The 4 bed en suite bunkroom can be booked by the bed or the room. Lacking a kitchen, bunkroom guests are invited to socialise and eat in the hotel. Your ideal base for exploring all that Snowdonia has to offer. BYO bedding & towels.
St Johns Street, Creetown, Dumfries and Galloway, DG8 7JE
Barholm Enterprise Centre houses a variety of businesses including an Arts and Crafts Co-operative and Barholm Accommodation which has en suite shared and private rooms. Perfect for cyclists, walkers, fishermen or those who generally enjoy the outdoors. Facilities include a communal kitchenette (fridge/freezer, kettle, toaster and microwave), sitting room with TV, on-site cycle hire and bike repair facilities & electric car charging.
Cragside, Rothbury, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE65 7PX
A traditional conversion of Victorian workers cottages in the centre of the National Trust Cragside Estate with fabulous views overlooking the lake and surrounding hills.
Cragside bunkhouse sleeps 16 in 4 rooms with a well equipped self-catering kitchen, making it the perfect base for families or other groups wanting to explore this stunning part of the UK Located in the heart of Northumberland within an hours’ drive of the coast, the Cheviots and Hadrian’s Wall.
Dalehead Farm, Dalehead, Slaidburn, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 4TS
Do you love gazing up at the star filled night skies? But are unsure what exactly you are looking at. Help is at hand. Dale House Barn, tucked away in The Forest of Bowland ANOB in Lancashire, can organise star gazing evenings with an astronomer.
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Pentre Bach, Waunfawr, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL54 7AJ
Situated between Waunfawr and Betws Garmon, Pentre Bach Bunkhouse provides dog friendly accommodation, outdoor activities and a campsite. The ground floor of the bunkhouse has a dining/cooking area while upstairs there are alpine sleeping platforms with mattresses for 16. Showers, toilets and washing/drying facilities, shared with the campsite, are just across the yard.
Dolgun Uchaf, Nr Dolgellau, Snowdonia, Gwynedd LL40 2AB
Torrent Walk Bunkhouse is ideal for exploring Snowdonia. Newly refurbished, it sleeps 36 in 6 rooms. Centrally heated, there’s a well equipped kitchen/diner & a power shower block by the door. There are lots of walks on the doorstep & for mountain bikers Coed-y-Brenin & Mawddach are close by as is the seaside town of Barmouth. Apartments, B&B & camping on site. BYO bedding or hire. Sorry no under 16s.
Brown Rigg, Bellingham, Northumberland. NE48 2HR
Brown Rigg Guest Rooms offer luxury hostel accommodation in the Northumberland National Park. Close to Bellingham, for Kielder Water & Forest Park, it is also directly on the Pennine Way & 400m to the Sandstone Way, Reviers Route & Pennine Cycleway. The 6 double guest rooms can be booked alongside the 4 lodges. A function hall & outdoor activities are available on site.
Park Square, Blaenau Ffestiniog LL41 3AD
After a long day of adventures, why not rest your weary head in an Edwardian police house hostel? Conveniently located in the centre of Blaenau Ffestiniog. There is a self-catering kitchen, a drying room and secure bike storage. Need a break from cooking? There's a restaurant upstairs, or just enjoy a cheeky drink in the bar. What's more there's a cinema too! CellB is the perfect place to recover, recuperate, and soak up the vibrant landscape.
Lion Street, Dolgellau, LL40 1DG
Who does not love staring at the stars? Snowdonia National Park is a Dark Sky Reserve - with Cregennan Lakes being recommended as a great place to stargaze. Plas Isa Hostel is a short drive away, offering comfortable low cost accommodation for star gazers.
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2-3 Heol y Bont (Bridge St), Dolgellau, Gwynedd, LL40 1AU
HyB Bunkhouse is in Dolgellau (Lon Las, Sustrans 82), Mid Wales, at the foot of Cader Idris. Centrally located above Medi Gifts, with free parking at rear for up to four cars, there are shops, pubs and restaurants on the doorstep.
HyB backs onto the Mawddach trail near the river Wnion and it is 10 minutes’ drive to Coed y Brenin mountain biking centre. This quirky listed building has original features such as oak floors, beams and panelling and offers a good night’s sleep.
Week Farm, Bridgetown, Dulverton TA22 9JP
Formerly a granary on a working farm, this eco-friendly bunkbarn is just 1km from Winsford Hill. Perfect for exploring Exmoor on foot, bike or canoe. Hot water, central heating & good WiFi included in price. Well equipped, open-plan kitchen/dinning with room for all. Large drying room & BBQ area. BYO bedding & towels plus shoes/slippers to protect feet from rough barn floor. Sole use at weekends (2 nights min). Rooms can be booked individually in the week.
Warren Farm, Warren, near Castlemartin, SA71 5HS
A cosy bunkhouse & beautiful big bell tents, right on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path with fantastic views out to sea. The closest you can stay to excellent climbing at Castlemartin Range, plus brilliant surfing at Freshwater West & Broadhaven South. Within striking distance of many of Pembrokeshire's fabulous tourist attractions. All the accommodation is comfortable and well equipped. Don't delay, come glamping!
16 The Parks, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 8BS
Base Lodge is your perfect base for exploring Exmoor, the Quantocks and North Devon. The South West Coast Path starts in Minehead and there is excellent mountain biking. Guided biking, navigational training, climbing, surfing, pony trekking and natural history walks can all be arranged. Base Lodge is clean, comfortable with self-catering and a cosy log burner.
Birdoswald Roman Fort, Gilsland, Brampton, Cumbria, CA8 7DD
Birdoswald Bunkhouse is a 17th century farmhouse built into the remains of Birdoswald Roman Fort on the best preserved stretch of Hadrian’s Wall. Set within an English Heritage estate overlooking the magnificent Irthing Gorge, the bunkhouse is an ideal base for wild walks with breathtaking views and discovering the area’s Roman heritage. The bunkhouse provides group accommodation for groups of between 15 and 37 people, with seven bedrooms & bathrooms, a large farmhouse kitchen and a dining room with views over the fort.
Orchard House, Mohope, Hexham, Northumberland NE47 8DQ
Much of the area is remote, wild countryside with little development to light up the night sky.
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Gwastad Agnes Off Panorama Road, Barmouth, Gwynedd, LL42 1DX
Whether you’re a lone cyclist or a group of walkers you will love discovering this cosy, clean and comfortable accommodation with breathtaking views of Cader Idris and Cardigan Bay.
Handy for Cycle Route 8, the Cambrian Way & Mawddach Trail and at only £15 per night Bunkorama is an ideal place to make a stopover or spend a few days exploring the mountains, rivers and beaches of the Cambrian Coast.
Y Cefn, Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, LL41 4PS
Treks 4* Bunkhouse perches in the mountains on the outskirts of the village of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Ideal for those who enjoy the rugged beauty of Snowdonia, it is a former golf club recently converted to provide self-catering accommodation for individuals and groups. There are many attractions nearby including, Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Bounce Below, Zip World Titan, Antur Stiniog, Ffestiniog Railway, Go Below Adventures, Coed y Brenin Mountain Bike Centre, Portmeirion Italian Village, Bala White Water Rafting and Harlech Castle.
Rhyd Ddu, Snowdonia, Wales LL54 6TL
The Rhyd Ddu Bunkhouse provides group accommodation at the foot of Snowdon and the Nantlle Ridge. Sleeping 30 in 6 bedrooms, it has a fully equipped kitchen and a large communal dining room with a big screen - great for movie nights! Glorious views, central heating, fast WiFi, parking, secure bike storage, drying room and a large garden. Bring your own sleeping bag, pillow case and towel. A pub, café, and steam train station are all within 2 minutes’ walk.
Hollam, Dulverton, Somerset, TA22 9JH
A mile outside the town of Dulverton on Exmoor, Northcombe Camping Barns nestle in the Barle river valley with good canoeing, walking and bridleways. A perfect base for groups on Exmoor. The barns sleep 16 and 28 in partitioned dormitories. Smaller groups can be catered for. Heated by wood-burning stoves with a well equipped kitchen, you just need to bring your own pillows, sleeping bags or duvets.
Twiston Lane, Downham, Clitheroe, Lancs. BB7 4DF
With unrivalled views of Pendle Hill Downham Camping Barn is a short walk from Downham village with its pub & cafes. Popular with walkers, cyclists & DofE groups the recently refurbished the barn sleeps 12 (BYO camp beds or roll mats). There’s a basic kitchen, sitting area, hot shower & WC. Photovoltaic cells provide power for limited LED lighting (but not for phone charging) and there is a wood-burning stove with fuel available to purchase. Outside there is space for tents, a gas BBQ & fire pit.
Craig Y Nos Castle, Brecon Road, Penycae, Powys, SA9 1GL
Craig Y Nos Castle sits in the Brecon Beacons. The Nurses Block can be booked on a daily or a room basis. It can also be booked sole use as group accommodation. Offering B&B or self-catering, the choice is yours. The castle provides hearty meals, cosy evenings by the wood burning stoves and a free history tour. Superior B&B rooms are available in the castle.
Tomen Y Castell, Llanfor, Bala, Gwynedd, LL23 7HD
A converted 200 year old stone building, Bala Bunk House is full of character. Set back from the road in over an acre of grounds with private parking and views of the Berwyn Hills. Ideal for all types of groups, family parties & individuals. Close to many outdoor activity centres and all amenities. It is the perfect base for walkers & water sport enthusiasts with Bala Lake & the National White Water Centre on the doorstep.
Platts Farm Bunkhouse, Aber Road, Llanfairfechan, Conwy, LL33 0HL
Platt’s Farm Campsite and 3* Bunkhouse is situated in a range of Victorian farm buildings, in the charming village of Llanfairfechan. Close to the A55, the Bunkhouse lies at the start/end of the 14 Welsh 3000 Peaks walks in the Snowdonia National Park, within a 10 min walk of the Wales Coastal Path and on the NCN 5 Cycle Route. Shops, pubs and cafés are within 5 mins’ walk. Just 15 mins from Zipworld, Bethesda & 20 mins from Surf Snowdonia.
Bridge Square, Ballater, AB35 5QJ
Ballater Hostel lies in the centre of Ballater, near Balmoral, on the east side of the Cairngorms National Park. Traditional dorms & private rooms, along with a large open plan kitchen/dining/communal area make a great space to relax . Drying room and cycle storage available. Either book whole hostel, a room or just a bed with no minimum stay. Excellent facilities, comfortable beds and a warm and friendly welcome awaits you - the kettle is always on!
32 Tegid Street, Bala, LL23 7EL
For outdoor adventures within the Snowdonia National Park, Bala Backpackers offers great value 'hostel-style' accommodation, including; 30+ comfy SINGLE BEDS in bedrooms of 3,4 or 5, 3 private TWIN ROOMS and 3 new EN SUITES. Located in a quiet, sunny, chapel square, in the bustling market town of Bala with its five-mile-long lake and white-water river for raft rides.
Friends of Nature House ,Waukford, Kirk Yetholm, Kelso,Roxburghshire, TD5 8PG
Kirk Yetholm Friends of Nature House is perfectly located at the start/end of the Pennine Way. It is also close to St. Cuthbert's Way, the Borderloop Cycle Route and Sustrans Route 84. It's a great base too for local day hikes, ideal for individuals, families and small groups. Recently upgraded, the house offers a comfortable, friendly and peaceful retreat. Evening meals and breakfast are available in the adjacent hotel.
Demesne Farm, Bellingham, Hexham, Northumberland, NE48 2BS
This bunkhouse is on a working hill farm in the centre of Bellingham and near to Northumberland National Park. Situated on the Pennine Way, Route 68, and the Reivers & Sandstone Way cycle routes, it is an ideal base for exploring Northumberland, Hadrian's Wall, Kielder Water and many climbing crags. The bunkhouse is very well appointed with quality bunks, a well equipped kitchen, a farmhouse table to seat 15 and a large comfortable communal area.
6 Glenshee Rd, Braemar, AB35 5YQ
Surrounded by the beauty and tranquillity of Deeside, Braemar Lodge Hotel and Bunkhouse are just a two minute walk from the village. Braemar Lodge Hotel, a former Victorian shooting lodge, is set in extensive grounds. The great value bunkhouse provides comfortable accommodation for up to 12 people within the hotel grounds. The bunkhouse is equipped with two shower rooms, one of which is suitable for wheelchairs. There's a generous, fully equipped, self-catering kitchen, but you are welcome to sample the excellent hotel meals. All bed linen and towels are supplied.
Arinagour, Isle of Coll, Argyll, PA78 6SY
Come and see the unpolluted skies over the Isle of Coll
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Greystones, Lanehead, Tarset, Hexham, NE48 1NT
In the heart of the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park and close to the Pennine Way. These striking timber eco-buildings integrate into their natural surroundings making the most of this remarkable location and providing the perfect base for outdoor adventures. The bunkhouse and bothies provide stylish, modern, versatile & comfortable self- catering accommodation which can be used for events, conferences & parties.
Countisbury Hill, Lynmouth, Devon, EX35 6NE
This cosy National Trust bunkhouse can be found at Countisbury close to Lynton and Lynmouth on the North Devon Coast. Surrounded by the dramatic Watersmeet Valleys and Exmoor, it is perfect for accessing the South West Coastal Path and the Atlantic surf beaches. It is also great for those wanting to experience Exmoor's dark skies. Perfect for families, groups and walkers, the barn is just along the road from Exmoor Bunkhouse (also in this guide), so it can be used as an overspill for larger groups.
Felen Rhyd Fach, Maentwrog, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, LL41 4HY
Maentwrog bunkhouse is a newly converted cowshed on a working farm. It has a fully equipped kitchen, underfloor heating, TV/DVD, BBQ area, laundry facilities, power washer and bike lockup. Local activities include hill walking (Moelwyn and Cnicht 10 mins away), white water rafting, Coed y Brenin cycling centre, Blaenau Ffestiniog down hill cycle track, RopeWorks & canyoning. Ffestiniog railway and beautiful beaches are within 15-20 mins’ drive. The Welsh costal path passes the end of the lane.
Ilderton, Wooler, Northumberland NE66 4JL
Northumberland stars that is rather than the Hollywood ones! Ilderton Dods Barns, comprising a newly converted luxury bunkhouse and a small holiday cottage, are in the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park and make ideal accommodation for those star gazers among you.
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The Dragons Back (formerly The Castle Inn) is a pub with B&B, camping & 3 bunkrooms in the Brecon Beacons National Park. The bunkrooms are fully carpeted and centrally heated with en suite wet rooms, self-catering, drying facilities and secure storage. Stag/hens welcome. Dogs £5 pn in the bunkhouse. Meals in the pub. Glamping is available in our Shepherds Hut and the Tardis !
Dinefwr Park, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, SA19 6RT
On a National Trust estate one mile from Llandeilo, Dinefwr Bunkhouse sits in the heart of an 18th century park enclosing a medieval deer park, next to the historic Newton House. Quite the perfect holiday location for groups or families who enjoy walking or other outdoor activities.
This beautifully presented, characterful bunkhouse sleeps up to 16 in an 8 bed dorm and 2 & 3 bedded rooms and has a well equipped kitchen for self-catering.
Snowdonia Mountain Hostel, Tai Newyddion, Nant Ffrancon, Bangor LL57 3DQ
In the heart of the Ogwen Valley and surrounded by the Welsh 3000's, this hostel is the perfect base for walkers, climbers and cyclists with the best routes straight from the door. For adventure seekers Zip World is within walking distance and the Anglesey Beaches are a short drive. Newly refurbished, Snowdonia Mountain Hostel has comfy beds with linen and a superb kitchen diner. Sorry no stag or hen parties.
Brecon Road (A40), Bwlch, Brecon, Powys, LD3 7RQ
On 12 Oct, Discover LLangorse & Bwlch are organising a fantastic evening, gazing at the moon. Star Bunkhouse in Bwlch is the perfect place to stay. Come to the Brecon Beacons Dark Sky Reserve stay at The Star and gaze at the moon!
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Slindon Estate Yard, Top Road, Slindon, Arundel, West Sussex, BN18 0RG
This bunkhouse on the National Trust Slindon Estate has so much to offer all year round.
In the winter months enjoy the benefit of the wood burner in the lounge, and in the summer enjoy a barbeque in the walled garden.
Perfect for all types of groups and families wanting to get together and enjoy the fabulous South Downs National Park, its surroundings and the miles of footpaths that criss-cross the estate.
Gumber Campsite and Camping Barn, Gumber Farm, Slindon, West Sussex, BN18 0RN
A converted Sussex flint barn on a working sheep farm within the National Trust’s Slindon Estate, Gumber Camping Barn provides simple overnight accommodation & camping for walkers, horse riders and cyclists, just off the South Downs Way. A tranquil and remote location for you to get away from it all. Just five minutes’ walk from Stane Street, the Roman Road that crosses the South Downs Way at Bignor Hill. NO CARS. Not suitable for under fives.
Pont-y-Pant, Dolwyddelan, North Wales, LL25 0DQ
Lledr House nestles in Snowdonia National Park. Once YHA and now newly refurbished, guests delight in the luxury mattresses, modern bathrooms, well equipped kitchen and extended car park. Individuals, groups and families enjoy the clean, comfortable accommodation. Betws-y-Coed, Llyn Elsi and Zip World high rope course close by.
Ffridd Llwyn Gwerfyl, Harlech, Gwynedd, LL46 2TW
Remote & peaceful, surrounded by the rugged splendour of Snowdonia, Ffridd Bunkhouse offers budget accommodation. Harlech with its beach, pubs, cafes & castle is just 2.5 miles away. This basic accommodation is in 2 units, one sleeps 12 & the other 4/5. Both have kitchen/dining areas & some heating. Each has a separate outside WC, but the shower is shared. Walkers, climbers & mountain bikers alike return annually to this hidden gem of a bunkhouse. BYO bedding.
Llanrhian, St Davids, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, SA62 5BD
Situated between the famous cathedral city of St Davids and the Irish ferry port of Fishguard, the 4* Lodge overlooks the spectacular Pembrokeshire coastline. Within walking distance of the Sloop Inn at Porthgain and the internationally renowned Coastal Path. An ideal stopover for cyclists with The Celtic Trail cycle route passing the bottom of the drive. The lodge sleeps 23 in 5 separate rooms, all en suite with great showers. Dogs welcome by arrangement.
Woodhouse Farm, St Harmon, Rhayader, LD6 5LY
Middle Ninfa Farm, Llanellen, Abergavenny, NP7 9LE
Middle Ninfa Farm, on the edge of the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape World Heritage Site in the Brecon Beacons, offers bunkhouse/cottage accommodation, camping and hands-on training in coracle making and willow sculpture. Sympathetically renovated to retain the rustic charm with fine views over the Usk Valley, the bunkhouse provides comfortable self-catering accommodation for up to 6 people. BYO food, sleeping bags, & pillowcases.
Lawrence House, Church Street, Tremadog, Nr Porthmadog, Gwynedd, Snowdonia, LL49 9PS
Stay in the birthplace of Lawrence of Arabia! Snowdon Lodge provides self-catering group accommodation. Located in the village of Tremadog, Snowdon Lodge is perfect for family reunions or groups wanting to explore Snowdonia and the Llyn Peninsula. It has 10 rooms (twins, doubles and small dormitories), an additional lecture room and a large car park leading to woodland walks.
Mount Hooley, College Valley, Wooler, Northumberland, NE71 6TU
In a remote Dark Skies area, Mounthooly Bunkhouse is the perfect base for ambitious and relaxed walkers alike! With a drying room, self catering and clothes washing facilities, and a glorious secluded rural area to explore, all for the delightful price of only £17 per person per night!
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Lawrenny Millennium Hostel, Lawrenny, Pembrokeshire, SA68 0PW
Once a Victorian village school, the Lawrenny Hostel is superbly placed for exploring South Pembrokeshire. Warm, clean and comfortable, with modern facilities, the accommodation is ideal for individuals or groups, training courses or events. The adjoining village hall is also available to rent and there is a community shop, pub and an award-winning tearoom nearby.
Hacche Mill, South Molton, EX36 3NA
Perfect for an adventurous or relaxing break. The Rock and Rapid Adventure Centre offers activities such as climbing (climbing wall on site for lessons or use by experienced climbers) coasteering, raft building and canoeing. The bunkhouse can be rented out for sole use. Or an activity package can be put together for your group. This can vary from a few activities to a full programme, including food.
Just 20 mins from the North Devon coastline. Hen and stags welcome as are family and school groups.
Countisbury, Lynton, Devon, EX35 6NE
Owned and managed by the National Trust, providing comfortable, high standard accommodation, Exmoor Bunkhouse is the perfect base for families or groups visiting Exmoor National Park. Located at Countisbury, the bunkhouse is close to the Watersmeet Valleys and the North Devon coastal villages of Lynton and Lynmouth. Take part in the many activities Exmoor has to offer such as walking and horse riding or go surfing on nearby Atlantic coast beaches. Larger groups overspill at Butter Hill Barn (also in this guide).
Chitcombe Farm, Huish Champflower, Taunton, Somerset, TA4 2EL
A small family farm in West Somerset on the edge of Exmoor, Chitcombe Farm provides inexpensive, basic, warm & dry accommodation. Perfect after a day hiking on Exmoor, or training for an event. The Hay Barn, is a dormitory style open plan barn whilst The Cart Shed is an open plan chalet. Both have well equipped kitchens, bathroom with showers, seating areas and central heating. Beds are in bunks. BYO pillows and sleeping bag.
Harwood Forest, Ewesley, Morpeth NE61 4LJ
Hidden away in the heart of Harwood Forest, 20 miles NW of Morpeth, Chartners Farm is definitely off the grid. It’s a 5 mile drive along forest tracks from the road. All electricity is generated by wind turbines & solar panels, while a huge log burner heats the radiators and keeps the place at a cosy 20 degrees. The perfect spot to escape the rat race, unwind & recharge. With no Wifi you can really switch off! Nature surrounds you. Come & enjoy complete peace and tranquility.
The Old Home Farm Yard, Stackpole, nr Pembroke, Pembrokeshire, SA71 5DQ
The 147-bed, platinum eco-award-winning. Stackpole Centre is the perfect venue for large families/groups, special interest breaks and outdoor activities. It comprises four large houses, three cottages and a manor house. Close to wild woodlands and stunning beaches.
Golan, Garndolbenmaen, Gwynedd, LL51 9AQ
Cwm Pennant Hostel is a welcoming 56 bed hostel offering relaxed accommodation for individuals, families and groups. Breakfast, dinner & packed lunches available if required. Set within stunning grounds in the Snowdonia National Park, it has fantastic views of the Cwm Pennant valley & Moel Hebog.
Ffordd-yr-Afon, Trefin, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, SA62 5AU
Escape to this wonderful rugged corner of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Old School Hostel is in Trefin, a pretty village which has a pub and a café, just a quarter of a mile from the world famous coast path. Circular walks from the door take you to stunning wild beaches & harbours. The cathedral city of St. Davids and the popular Whitesands Bay are 20 minutes by car.
Gibbs Hill Farm, Bardon Mill, Nr Hexham, Northumberland, NE47 7AP
Gibbs Hill Farm Hostel is on a working hill farm near Once Brewed and Hadrian's Wall and close to the Pennine Way. Designed to reduce energy consumption it is centrally heated throughout. Comprising 3 bunkrooms, 2 shower rooms, 2 toilets, a well equipped kitchen, a comfortable communal area and a large deck where you can enjoy the evening sun. Ideal for families who can book a whole room with private facilities. Study groups welcome.
Slack House Farm, Gilsland Brampton, Cumbria, CA8 7DB
In the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park the skies above Hadrian's wall are the best in England for enjoying the heavens.
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Church Lane, Privett, Hampshire, GU34 3PE
In glorious East Hampshire countryside (AONB), The Privett Centre offers low cost, comfortable, short-stay accommodation in a unique rural setting. It has been designed to accommodate small to medium-sized groups who like to have the place to themselves. Outside a large paddock and asphalt playground provide secure and spacious recreational and parking space. It is available for weekday, weekend and day use all year. The Privett Centre is an ideal residential setting for family & friends’ get-togethers.
National Trust Ysbyty Estate Office, Dinas, Betws-y-Coed, Conwy, LL24 0HF
This converted Grade 2 stone farm building is the perfect base for enjoying the Snowdonia National Park. Part of the 8,000 hectare Ysbyty Estate, it offers spacious, well appointed group accommodation. Local attractions include the Tree Top Adventure Course at Betws-y-Coed, Zip World at Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda, Zip World and Bounce Below at Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog and the Plas y Brenin National Mountain Centre.
Lighthouse Road, Countisbury, Lynton, Devon, EX35 6NE
Foreland Bothy on the National Trust Foreland Point Estate on the Exmoor coast offers very basic accommodation, but rewards you with a fantastic location right on the South West Coast Path. Treat it like camping but without the tent, so you need to bring camping mats, sleeping bags and cooking equipment. There is a composting loo but no hot water. The perfect location for a night or two for those who want to explore the area on foot or want to escape technology in this wilderness under some stunning dark skies.
Upper Neeston Farm, Dale Road, Herbrandston, Milford Haven, SA73 3RY
Environmentally sensitive barn conversions close to the Milford Haven Waterway in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Ideal for divers, climbers, walkers or family get-togethers. The four independent 5* lodges have fully fitted kitchens and have access to garden/patio, laundry/drying room, secure storage and ample parking.
Vicarage Road, Betws-y-Coed, Conwy, LL24 0AD
This large Victorian property has been specially adapted to provide self-catering accommodation for groups of up to 33. The eight dormitories vary in size from one to ten beds, complete with duvets and linen. The Centre is centrally heated and has a common room, games room, large kitchen, drying room and hot showers. Located in Betws-y-Coed, Woodlands Centre is an ideal base for outdoor activities in Snowdonia.
Court Farm, Llanthony, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, NP7 7NN
This old stone barn continues the tradition of 900 years when Llanthony Priory next door provided accommodation. Surrounded by the Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons National Park, it is your ideal base for all mountain activities. There is a fully equipped kitchen, hot showers, heating throughout and a wood burning stove. Small or large groups are welcome with sole use and a minimum charge. Two pubs nearby offer real ale and bar food.
Ffordd Gerlan, Gerlan, Bethesda, Bangor, LL57 3ST
Caban Cysgu, run by the community of Gerlan, offers purpose-built accommodation at the foot of the Carneddau. Perfect for walking in Snowdonia, it’s a great base for the ‘Fourteen 3000ft Peaks’ long-distance challenge & The Slate Trail. Just 5 mins from Zip World; the longest and fastest zip line in Europe. There are also plenty of mountain bike trails on the doorstep while road cyclists have the Sustrans route ‘Lôn Las Ogwen’ just a mile away. For climbers, Idwal is close by, while Afon Ogwen is popular with canoeists.
Toad Hall, Doll St, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8BH
Toad Hall sits beside the River Dovey, close to Snowdonia National Park in the town of Machynlleth. NCN Cycle Route 8 & Glyndwrs Way pass near by. The hostel comprises a three bed-roomed self contained unit above the family home. A flat garden is ideal for camping and there's a workshop for bike repairs/storage.
Bron-y-Gader Outdoor Centre, Llanbedr-y-Cennin, Conwy, LL32 8UT
Perched at 290m (950ft) in the foothills of Snowdonia with direct access to the Carneddau mountains, Bron-y-Gader Bunkhouse offers comfortable & great value accommodation for groups of up to 37. Although remote and isolated it is just 8 miles to Conwy and 2 miles to the nearest pub. The many attractions and high adrenaline activities in Snowdonia are just a short drive away.
Brecon Bunkhouse, Cwmfforest Farm, Pengenfford, Talgarth, Brecon, LD3 0EU
Brecon Bunkhouse is a spacious, comfortable, bunkhouse in the Brecon Beacons. Offering great value self-catering accommodation with a big dining room and sitting room with wood-burner. In the Black Mountains, with mountain walks from the door, an ideal base for horse riding, mountain biking and canoeing. There is a riding centre on the farm and the bunkhouse has a drying room and storage/cleaning facilities for bikes and canoes. Camping available.
The Sustainability Centre, Droxford Road, East Meon, Hampshire, GU32 1HR
An award winning eco-renovation in the heart of the South Downs National Park right on the South Downs Way National Trail. The perfect base for walkers, cyclists, business away-days and family get-togethers. The Lodge offers well appointed self-catering accommodation while the campsite has yurts and secluded woodland pitches. The centre has large grounds with woodland trails and a café. Pubs, shops within 2 miles.
Gilfach Wen, Brechfa, Carmarthenshire, SA32 7QL
No need to wait for the forthcoming centre for star watching near Brechfa, guests staying at Gilfach Wen Barn can enjoy the night sky from the garden.
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Craiglan, Betws-y-Coed, Conway, LL24 0AW
The Vagabond Bunkhouse/Hostel is in the village of Betws-y-Coed, in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park. This unique bunkhouse has been specifically designed for individuals, families or groups. Very well appointed, it has ready made up beds, free hot drinks, seriously hot showers, a well equipped kitchen and a bar. Catering is available. Outside there’s a climbing wall, a power wash and heated dog kennels!
Pyllau Gloewon Farm, Tal-y-Bont, Conwy, Gwynedd, LL32 8YX
Conwy Valley Backpackers is situated on a peaceful organic farm in the heart of the beautiful Conwy Valley, with excellent access to Snowdonia. Centrally heated with a fully equipped self-catering kitchen, log fires and hot showers. Secure bike/canoe storage. Grazing for horses and tourist information are available. Local activities range from fishing and hiking to white water rafting and mountain biking. Surf Snowdonia is within walking distance and Zip World is a short drive away.
Greenhead Hotel, Greenhead, Brampton, Cumbria, CA8 7HG
Situated in the village of Greenhead on Hadrian’s Wall, the bunkhouse is ideal for walking the Pennine Way or The Wall or for exploring the nearby Roman heritage sites. It has a self-catering kitchen big enough for large groups. The flexible accommodation can be booked by the bed, the room or for sole use. Greenhead hostel/ bunkhouse is run by Greenhead Hotel just over the road.
Station Road, Nethy Bridge, PH25 3DN
Sharing a car park with the Speyside Way, the converted Nethy Station offers all that a group of 12-26 could expect from a bunkhouse. It is well equipped and fully central heated. Most rooms have triple bunks and there is a 2 bunk room with unusual access, known as Narnia, as you get there through a wardrobe! Self-catering or catered options. Close to winter sports areas. The bunkhouse is only 200 yards from the local shop, butcher and pub.
Our wonderful small island is home to a surprising number of dark sky areas, where light pollution is kept under control and where, when conditions are right, visitors can feast their eyes on the wonders of a star filled night sky. Unsurprisingly these are sparsely populated areas, often rugged and remote. Fortunately they are well served with independent hostels, camping barns and bunkhouses offering great value self catering accommodation to individuals, families or groups of all sizes.
Perhaps the most well known of our Dark Sky Parks is Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, (a combination of Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water and Forest Park). This was awarded Dark Sky status by the International Dark Sky Association in December 2013. At 572 square miles (1,483 square kilometres) it is also Europe’s largest area of protected night sky. Due to its pristine skies it was awarded gold tier status by the International Dark Sky Association, making it officially the best place in England for people to go to enjoy the night skies. Here in the darker months of the year, visitors will be able to see up to 2,000 stars, the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way. If you strike lucky you might also witness a meteor shower or the Northern Lights (aurora borealis). Take a look at the map and you will see you have a choice of 12 independent hostels, bunkhouses or camping barns situated in or on the very edge of Northumberland’s International Dark Sky Park.
A star filled sky in Northumberland Dark Sky Park
The UK’s first ever international Dark Sky Park was Galloway Forest Park in south west Scotland. It was designated by the International Dark Sky Association in November 2009 as only the fourth Dark Sky Park in the world and the first in the UK. Just like Northumberland it enjoys gold tier status. Close to Galloway Forest Park the small town of Moffat was proud to be named as Europe’s very first Dark Sky Town, having adopted special street lighting to keep light pollution to a minimum in order to preserve the wondrous starry skies. There is hostel accommodation on the edge of
Galloway Forest Park and in Moffat.
A magnificent dark sky over Tryfan near Ogwen Valley Bunkhouse
Wales is also blessed with large areas of low light pollution. The Snowdonia National Park and The Brecon Beacons National Park are both International Dark Sky Reserves, while the Elan Valley Dark Sky Park runs between them. In 2017 the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park had 4 locations designated as Dark Sky Discovery Sites. These areas are literally peppered with hostel, bunkhouse or camping barn accommodation. There is little excuse for not crossing a star gazing weekend in Wales off your bucket list!
In Snowdonia, Cregennan Lakes are recommended as a great place to stargaze. These sister lakes are found on the flanks of Cader Idris in southern Snowdonia, possibly the moodiest mountain in the entire National Park. The easiest approach is from the east, via the minor road from Dolgellau, only a short drive from
Plas Isa Hostel. While the aptly named Star Bunkhouse in the village of Bwlch in the Brecon Beacons is just down the road from Llangorse Lake, identified by the International Dark Skies Association as a prime site for viewing the night sky.
In the south of England both Exmoor National Park and the South Downs National Park have International Dark Sky Reserve status. While in the north, the North York Moors and the Forest of Bowland AONB in Lancashire both host a number of newly designated Discovery Sites.
Star gazers in the garden of Dale House Barn, Gisburn Forest (Forest of Bowland ANOB)
In the north of Scotland, the high quality of the night skies above Tomintoul and Glenlivet in the Cairngorms National Park merit the area becoming Scotland’s second International Dark Sky Park. Awarded Gold Tier status by the International Dark-Sky Association, the Tomintoul and Glenlivet – Cairngorms Dark Sky Park is not only the darkest Dark Sky Park in the UK, it is also the most northern Dark Sky Park in the world.
Aurora Borealis on the Isle of Coll, home to Coll Bunkhouse
Finally the Isle of Coll, together with the Isle of Sark have been designated as Dark Sky communities.
In our busy, frenetic and crowded world it is heartening to realise there are so many areas where sheep out number people, where flora and fauna flourish and where you can raise your eyes skywards after a day’s activity and feast your eyes on infinity and beyond!