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Northumberland hotel and restaurant Battlesteads, near Wark, has been shortlisted for what is widely considered the Oscars of the hospitality industry – the Cateys 2019.

Battlesteads has been shortlisted for the Sustainable Business Award and will be going up against the best of British hospitality at the awards ceremony, held on 2 July at London's Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott hotel.

The Cateys, now in their 36th year, recognise the most talented individuals, biggest brands and strongest performers in the hospitality industry. The shortlist was chosen by a panel of industry judges selected for their expertise and industry knowledge, making the Cateys the ultimate accolade in peer group recognition.

Owner of Battlesteads Hotel & Restaurant, Richard Slade, said: "The Cateys represent the best of the best in the hospitality industry, so I am absolutely thrilled that Battlesteads has been shortlisted this year. Over the past 10 years we have been striving to be the most sustainable hotel in the country, as well as championing tourism in Northumberland, and it feels fantastic to be recognised for this by the judges. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for the ceremony in July, and hoping we bring back the trophy!"

Battlesteads Hotel offers a sustainable tourism experience combining a warm Northumberland welcome, accommodation including five eco-lodges, a restaurant showcasing the best local produce and home-grown ingredients, and a Dark Sky Observatory where visitors can discover the magic of the night skies.

The hotel has previously been recognised for its sustainability by the Good Hotel Guide, the AA, and at the Visit England Awards for Excellence.

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Battlesteads Hotel & Observatory in Northumberland has become the first place in the UK to install a light-measuring photometer camera, as part of a Europe-wide initiative to tackle light pollution.

The eco-friendly hotel has joined the EU-funded "Stars4All" initiative, which has created a network of several hundred devices monitoring the quality of the night sky across Europe.

Specially-designed cameras have been built by astronomers and calibrated in the LICA lab at the Complutense University of Madrid, which will measure how dark the night skies are, how clear or cloudy it is, and what the ambient temperature is. Stars4All will use the information gathered to support a campaign to introduce a new European Sky Protection legislation.

Located on the edge of Northumberland National Park, Battlesteads is the only hotel in the UK with an on-site observatory and has been awarded Designated Dark Sky Discovery Site status, meaning it’s one of the best places in the country to see the stars. Battlesteads is the only place in the UK with a calibrated photometer, leading the country’s research into light pollution.

Roy Alexander FRAS, head astronomer at Battlesteads, said: "This is a fantastic research programme for us to be involved in and will give us really useful data about the dark skies in and around Wark. Light pollution is an ever-growing problem, especially in rural communities. It not only adversely affects nature and wildlife, but more and more research is emerging which suggests that it can contribute towards health problems in humans, by affecting our natural sleep cycles. The darker the skies become, the healthier we will get and the better it will be for wildlife and stargazers."

Part of the Northumberland Dark Sky Park, the largest protected area of night sky in Europe, Battlesteads Observatory offers stargazing experiences for astronomers of all abilities, from getting to know your telescope to aurora hunting and astrophotography.

Real-time data from Battlesteads photometer can be seen at the stars4all portal.

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Eco-friendly Northumberland hotel and restaurant Batlesteads has strengthened its international travel trade relations as it joins a new collection of National Park experiences.

Battlesteads has been successful in applying to be one of the exclusive experiences in The English National Park Experience Collection. This brand-new collection of bookable experiences tells the stories of England’s National Parks and their people, to attract new visitors from overseas.

Located on the edge of Northumberland National Park, Battlesteads is the only hotel in the UK with an on-site observatory, which has been awarded Designated Dark Sky Discovery Site status, meaning it’s one of the best places in the country to see the stars.

Part of the Northumberland Dark Sky Park, the largest protected area of night sky in Europe, Battlesteads Observatory offers stargazing experiences for astronomers of all abilities, from getting to know your telescope to aurora hunting and astrophotography.

Katie Meyrick-Scott, general manager of Battlesteads, said: "We're delighted to be joining The English National Park Experience Collection, which brings together more than 60 of the best experiences across nine of England’s National Parks. This new initiative will help us reach a much wider overseas audience and help to support Northumberland’s thriving year-round tourism industry."



Eco-friendly Northumberland hotel and restaurant Batlesteads is offering an evening of Burns Night celebrations in the most traditional Scottish style.

On Saturday 26 January, the Wark hotel will host a traditional four-course dinner, with an original 19th century menu by Scottish chef Meg Dodds that was prepared for the first ever Edinburgh Burns Club meeting in the early 1800s.

Known as 'the Scottish Mrs Beeton', Meg Dodds was the 19th century version of a celebrity chef, acclaimed for her Cooks and Housewives Manual of 1826.

Dinner will begin with King James' recipe for 'het kail cock-a-leekie soup', followed by the Scottish staple of rarebit haggis, served with 'neep purry' – a puree of swede, carrot and ginger.

The main course will be a het joint striploin with whole caramelised roast onion and rumbledethumps, a traditional side dish of crushed potatoes with onion, cabbage and leeks. For dessert, guests will enjoy 'ither – orra eattocks cranachan', a classic Scottish dish of raspberries with toasted oatmeal, honey and whisky cream.  

Traditional entertainment for the evening will come courtesy of Burns Night toasts and speeches, and a Northumbrian piper.

The Wark/Hexham area of Northumberland is closely associated with Burns Night – it was part of Scotland up until 1296, and Robbie Burns himself visited Hexham on his tour of the Borders in May 1787.

Battlesteads' Burns Night Dinner costs £30 per person, and starts at 7pm.

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Award-winning eco-hotel Battlesteads Hotel & Restaurant is increasing its sustainability credentials even further with the addition of a new wild mushroom farm on site.

Housed in a converted shipping container in the hotel’s gardens, the temperature and humidity-controlled farm allows the hotel to create the perfect conditions for growing wild mushrooms all year round.

Battlesteads has worked with Snowdonia-based Yr Ardd Fadarch (Welsh for "The Mushroom Garden") to create the mushroom farm, which maintains a steady temperature of 13ºC and humidity level of 85% to provide optimum growing conditions for the mushrooms.

Built in March, Battlesteads trialled growing grey oyster and shitake mushrooms first, and, after that proved a success, has moved onto growing both yellow and pink oyster mushrooms.

The home-grown mushrooms are now being used by head chef Eddie Shilton in the Battllesteads restaurant, featuring in dishes such as a demitasse of wild mushroom soup and a shitake and oyster mushroom tagliatelle with wild garlic pesto.

Richard Slade, owner of Battlesteads, said: "Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do, and we are always looking for new ways to produce more of our own home-grown ingredients on-site and reduce the food miles of our restaurant. We already grow 95% of the herbs, salads and green vegetables used in the restaurant in the Battlesteads gardens and polytunnels, and now with the mushroom farm we are able to offer the types of wild mushrooms usually only harvested in the autumn all year-round. It makes a big difference to the quality of our restaurant dishes too – fresh ingredients always taste the best, and it doesn’t get much fresher than coming from 30 seconds outside your door!"

Battlesteads is widely recognised as one of the most eco-friendly hotels in the country, having won numerous awards for its sustainability and reducing its carbon footprint to just one fifth of the industry average.

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Battlesteads Hotel & Restaurant is gearing up for the festive season with the return of its popular Christmas Wreath Workshops.

Taking place on Friday 30 November and Saturday 8 December at the hotel in Wark, starting at 9.30am, the workshops will include welcome morning refreshments, mulled wine and a three-course lunch, as well as the two-hour workshop.

During the workshop, you’ll be provided with aprons to protect your clothes, bags of holly, boxes of decorations and bundles of the best quality wire-edged fabric ribbon – along with step-by-step tuition from Northumbrian Wreaths and Flowers to help you create a stunning wreath for your house.

At 12pm, mulled wine will be served as the workshop ends, followed by a delicious three-course lunch featuring the very best local produce, including vegetables, herbs and salads grown in Battlesteads' very own kitchen gardens.

There will be wine to accompany the meal and tea and coffee to finish, before guests head home to hang their new home-made wreaths in time for Christmas.

Tickets for the wreath-making workshops can be purchased in advance online and cost £60 per person, including all wreath-making materials and protective clothing, and all food and drink. £30 is payable on booking as a deposit, and the remaining £30 is due on the day.

Spaces on these workshops are limited – so book now at here, email info@battlesteads.com or call 01434 230 039.

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