Stars Align for Latest Holiday Home

Holidaymakers and astronomy enthusiasts on the Isle of Wight can now enjoy a magical getaway to the “moon and back” thanks to residents Janet and John Slinn, who have constructed observatories at their holiday home.

Janet and John have built the observatories containing astronomical telescopes and other scientific equipment to observe the night sky, in the back garden of Stargazers Cottage, a 200-year-old converted barn in Godshill, near Ventnor.

John Slinn

Janet and John moved to the Isle of Wight from West Sussex in May 2017, mainly because of the Island’s Dark Sky status, to enable John to further his passion for astrophotography, a specialised type of photography for recording photos of astronomical objects and areas of the night sky. Realising the property’s rural setting, the husband and wife decided to erect the observatories as an exclusive attraction to astronomers and holidaymakers alike.

Janet comments: “John has been a big fan of astronomy since his school days. Over the past decade, John has photographed the night sky, which has seen him being shortlisted in the Royal Greenwich Observatories Astrophotographer of the Year competition in the Newcomers category. His work has also been published in several atronomy magazines.

“As we edged closer to retirement age, we made a decision that we had to embark on a slower way of life. With John working as a builder, we also realised that he couldn’t carry on with such manual labour. The Isle of Wight offered all that we were looking for and we couldn’t be happier with our decision to relocate here.”

As an ex-builder, John erected the observatories himself, taking just three months from start to finish to build and kit out fully. Guests now have access to power and a fixed-mount in the garden, which they can put their own telescope and/or camera on with all guests welcome to use the equipment in the observatories, with John’s guidance if needed. Novices can have an astrophotography lesson from John to learn more about capturing images of the night sky.

Janet continues: “We chose as our selected holiday let partner after a personal recommendation from a friend, who also lets out a property with them. They suggested we go with them to ensure we get the best return on our investment. After our first meeting with the company, we were satisfied that we would be in capable hands!”

Commenting on this exciting new addition to the portfolio, Area Manager Rob Clarke, added: “Stargazers Cottage is a one of a kind holiday home, offering something completely different, so we are delighted to have them join the portfolio. John’s passion for astronomy is infectious and the care he has taken in building the observatories is evident in the finished product. The location couldn’t be more perfect for stargazing with the property’s rural setting away from the bright lights.

“As guests can not only enjoy a fantastic break away from it all, but also learn a new skill or develop a deeper understanding of astronomy, we have no doubt that holidaymakers will have a magical getaway.”