St. Cuthbert's House

northumbrian bed and breakfast

Dark Skies & Stargazing

Jeff & Jill enjoying a view of the Northern Lights in Bamburgh|Aurora at Bamburgh captured by Andrew Douglas, of Serenity Farne Island Tours|Milky Way over Kielder|| Jeff & Jill enjoying a view of the Northern Lights in Bamburgh|Aurora at Bamburgh captured by Andrew Douglas, of Serenity Farne Island Tours|Milky Way over Kielder|| |Andrew Douglas|Jason Underwood||

Northumberland is home to the largest Gold-Tier International Dark Sky Park in Europe, a designation conferred in December 2013.  But almost any part of this most-sparsely populated County in England gives awesome displays of the night sky.  And many places along the coast are just perfect.

We took this 'selfie' whilst watching the Aurora Borealis - the 'northern lights' from the beach at Bamburgh (sorry it's not a more pro shot!) 

There can be no doubt at all that Northumberland is the best place in England to enjoy the splendour of the heavens!

Most of the UK's population lives in 'light polluted' urban areas. Northumberland's vast, wide-open and superbly dark skies always bring comments from visitors, unnaccustomed to and unprepared for the majesty before their eyes.  You can expect to see up to 2,000 stars in the sky at any one time here in Northumberland.

The Milky Way can't be seen from urban areas, and most UK residents have never seen it.  But here, it can be seen in all its glory, looking like an elongated glow set amongst the stars. With binoculars we can see its 'arms' stretch out from a bright central core. It's mind-bending to reflect that this is 2.5 million light years away!

Our mid-summer nights don't get properly dark - another thing which prompts many comments!  So from early May to late July the sky is often dramatic and very beautiful - but you won't see many stars.  At other times of year, only the weather and the moon impact on our stargazing.  The moon will always make the fainter stars hard to see, and so the 'new moon' period marked in our diaries is the best time of all.

Here is a lovely time-lapse video commissioned by the Northumberland National Park Authority, to support the succesful Dark-Sky Park bid, which shows what's in store...

We do have a number of street-lights here in the village and around St Cuthbert's House, so it's best to head for a really dark spot to relax and view the night sky - such as from the beach, or a quiet spot just outside the village.  But it's a short  journey well worth making, in order to be transported into another world... 

We can lend you a pair of binoculars and a blanket or two if you like, and send you off with a hot flask!

There are tons of knowledgeable resources around the internet on this subject.  Here are just a few:

Sky Week – regularly updated digest of what's in the sky.

Pocket Universe – plenty of features and star maps.

ISS Detector and ISS Spotter – both will alert you when the ISS is due to pass overhead.

Stellarium – interactive planetarium programme. Easy to use and shows the night sky realistically. Free and available for Windows and Mac.


Featured Items

  • We're VisitEngland's 'Best B&B in England' for 2017!

    We're VisitEngland's 'Best B&B in England' for 2017!

    We were delighted to be shortlisted again, amongst the top 3 finalists from around the whole country, when we went to the VisitEngland 'Awards for Excellence 2017' ceremony at the Waldorf Hotel last week.

    But then we were absolutely thrilled to be awarded the top spot - the Gold Award, making us VisitEngland's 'Best B&B in England 2017' -  as we were in 2014 too.  To win this prestigious and highly-prized accolade a second time is very special indeed.

  • Clare votes us her No 1!

    Clare votes us her No 1!

    We've been enjoying reading Clare Balding's new book recently. She stayed with us here at St Cuthbert's House a while ago, but we were really taken aback when folks began to call to tell us that she mentions her stay at St Cuthbert's House in the book! Here's what she says, on page 201:
    'St Cuthbert's House went instantly to the top of my 'best ever B&Bs' list. I would describe it as a luxury small hotel with a family feel, but that might not fit on the signs.' Aw, thanks Clare!

  • Want to see what's so special about Northumberland?

    Want to see what's so special about Northumberland?

    Some time ago, we began work with our local Tourism Association to produce a video showing some of the things which make this area so very special.  Now the video is complete, and we are deeply grateful to the remarkable young film-maker Cain Scrimgeour for working patiently with us across the seasons, to create something very, very beautiful. This is 7 minutes long, and we urge you to settle back and watch...

  • Peter & Kathy recommend St Cuthbert's House

    Peter & Kathy recommend St Cuthbert's House

    Peter & Kathy told us that they'd really enjoyed their first stay at SCH, and so we asked them to tell you why...

    Reassure yourself - watch their one-minute video..

  • Check out our Tripadvisor Reviews

    Check out our Tripadvisor Reviews

    Check out our Tripadvisor Reviews, to find out what other guests have said about their stay.  But please - always book direct via our Book Online page to avoid fees.

    We're pleased to be included as members of the Tripadvisor 'Hall of Fame' - where entry is only available to businesses which have won Tripadvisor's coveted 'Certificate of Excellence' for five consecutive years.

  • Our Price Guarantee

    Our Price Guarantee

    You will ALWAYS receive the best possible price by booking direct with us - either by calling us on 01665 720456 or by following the Book Now menu item!  Beware that some large agencies charge you more - and they also take a large slice of commission from small independents like us.  Show your support for small businesses by booking DIRECT!

  • The Good Hotel Guide - Cesar Award!

    The Good Hotel Guide - Cesar Award!

    We're in the Good Hotel Guide!

    We are delighted once again to be included in the 2018 edition of the Good Hotel Guide, and especially proud to receive a Cesar Award from this proudly independent and highly respected Hotel review organisation.  They describe the Cesar Awards thus:

    We give our Cesar Awards to the ten best hotels of the year. Named after Cesar Ritz, the most celebrated of hoteliers, these are the Oscars of hotel keeping.

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If you have any questions, please call us on 01665 720456 or send us an email or a booking enquiry.

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And if you'd like to keep in touch about upcoming house-concerts and be the first to know who's coming, then please tick that box too! We send a house-concerts newsletter most months to keep you up to date on the musical front.

  • the peace and quiet

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St Cuthbert's House, 192 Main St, Seahouses, Northumberland NE68 7UB (00 44) (0)1665 720456