Destination Darkness is a New and Innovative Staycation Like No Other

Destination Darkness - A Unique Staycation from The Sexton and Travel Matters

The Sexton has partnered with Travel Matters to create a unique seven-day tour called Destination: Darkness that takes holidaymakers to the darkest locations across the UK, providing the perfect conditions for moonlit tourism and night-time inspired cocktails.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Nothing is for certain,” and that couldn’t be truer when it comes to the UK’s overseas travel list. The recent news that Portugal is now off the UK governments green list will leave many British holidaymakers aghast. After all, it was probably the only country on the travel list that would be considered a true holiday destination.

However, all is not lost for British holidaymakers as the UK hospitality industry is serving up some exciting and unique options, and one of these is Destination: Darkness.

The beautiful English countryside at night showing an amazing array of stars

About Destination: Darkness
Destination: Darkness is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that satisfies the most restless spirits with an unconventional holiday designed by an unconventional single malt. This year, instead of a crowded, noisy beach, why not experience the most glorious vistas of shooting stars and moonlight in the most beautiful dark sports around the UK.

The Destination: Darkness experience has been created only for the most curious amongst us because The Sexton knows darkness is where curiosity comes alive and magical things happen.

The adventure begins with nocturnal-themed cocktails at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. From here, you will be taken to Kielder Forest in Northumberland, the darkest location in the UK, where those brave enough to embrace the night-time and all the magical things that happen in the dark will be treated to a spectacle beyond their wildest imaginations.

Inside Langley Castle at night

Guests will start off spending three nights at Langley Castle, a luxurious 13th-century property. Here, activities include a visit to the Kielder Observatory (below) located in Europe’s second-largest dark sky protected reserve.

A time-lapse photograph of the stars above the Kielder Observatory

In addition, guests will enjoy a unique stargazing experience-cum-cocktail masterclass led by an experienced team of astronomers and a bespoke guided tour to the Universe while leading guests on a unique cocktail experience inspired by the stars.

From Northumberland, travellers will then head to Wales and the Snowdonia Dark Sky Reserve to witness some of the UK’s least polluted skies.

Viewing the stars in England without light pollution

Covering over 18% of Wales’s land area, travellers will spend the next two nights in the charming village of Betws-y-Coed – the gateway to Snowdonia. Staying in one of the Royal Oak Hotel’s highly coveted four-poster bedrooms, the town provides the ideal base to discover the mountains and coasts of beautiful North Wales, providing amazing nighttime views of this stunning skyscape.

The light shining down into Llechwedd Deep MineAs night turns to day, those looking to retreat from the Sun will be treated to a guided tour of Llechwedd Deep Mine. Sending guests 500 feet down into the belly of Llechwedd’s imposing mountain, the experience will transport you back 160 years to experience the sights and sounds of complete darkness.

From North to West Wales, holidaymakers will be chauffeured to their final destination in the Brecon Beacons.

Nestled at the foot of Sugar Loaf Mountain, at the very heart of the Black Mountain Range, is Gliffaes Country House – a fitting accommodation for the final evening of the trip.

Those booking the trip will spend their final evening doing a spot of bat watching and searching for the elusive Greater Horseshoe Bat, one of the rarest breeds in the UK, before returning to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich from whence this greatest of adventures hath begun.

For those unable to take this once-in-a-lifetime trip, don’t worry, The Sexton has created ‘Moon Safari’, a cocktail inspired by the astrology of the night skies. The cocktail includes The Sexton Single Malt, amaro and orange ginger ale. This concoction is a perfect accompaniment to stargazing, whether it be from one of the UK’s dark sports or from the confines of your back garden… Looking up at the sky has never tasted so good!

A bottle of Sexton Irish Whiskey

The Sexton will also make a limited number of cocktail kits inspired by Destination: Darkness available to win on social media. The kit, including all the ingredients to create two ‘Moon Safari’ cocktails, will be available to followers of The Sexton’s Instagram account. To win, followers simply tag who they would take with them for this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Karen Simmonds, Founder at Travel Matters, said: “We’ve all spent the last twelve months sitting at home planning our next great adventure; but with limited travel options abroad, Destination: Darkness is a bespoke once-in-a-lifetime holiday that will be the envy of all your friends, providing those Instagram-ready moments which will rival any country that lures you to discovering the untouched and unexplored.”

The exterior of the Kielder Observatory at night

Ellie Macdonald, Astronomer at Kielder Observatory (above), said: “Hidden away atop a hill in the most remote part of the North East of England, Kielder Observatory opens its doors, and its telescopes, to the public every night. As darkness pushes in, bright stars pierce the sky until, before you know it, the sky is awash with them. A sea of stars stretching horizon-to-horizon.

At Kielder, we firmly believe that we see best when darkness finally sets in. Here you can see more than the world; you can see the Universe.”

For more information on The Sexton or to find out more about Destination: Darkness, please visit The Sexton Whiskey Instagram page. To book your spot on this once-in-a-lifetime trip, please visit

Destination Darkness is a New and Innovative Staycation Like No Other 2


Editorial Team

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