People have been fascinated by the night sky, for the entirety of recorded human history. Whether you are seasoned astronomy enthusiast or a casual stargazer, it is effortless to remain fascinated by the beauty of a clear night sky. On a clear night, you can see millions of stars, the Milky Way and even the beautiful Andromeda Galaxy.
If you think the United Kingdom is not the right place to stargaze, you need to know that the UK is amongst the countries with the largest dark sky areas in Europe.
There are tempting dark skies all over Britain. Locations like national parks offer magnificent stellar views that are spectacular through the whole year.
Here a small overview of some of the most beautiful stargazing UK locations and events put on a list for you.
- Toys Hill in Kent is breath-taking king day and night. It is one of the highest points in the Country, and it’s the perfect spot for stargazing.
- Wicken Fen is ideal for exploring on a family stargazing trip. The area is also full of wildlife.
- Headley Heath is a popular spot with local astronomy groups. Headley Heath is considered one of the best places in Surrey for stargazing.
- Black Down is situated on the highest point of the South Downs. Black Down is an ideal spot for observing the stars.
- Yorkshire Dales National Park is unique for many reasons, both during the day and especially at night, as it is the third darkest sky in the UK. Under this really dark sky, you can see up to 2,000 stars, and we can even see our own galaxy and The Milky Way stretching across the sky.
- Elan Valley is an International Park. In 2015, the Elan Valley Estate achieved International Dark Sky Park status and became the first privately owned but publicly accessible park in the world to do so.
- Dark Skies Festival Exmoor. National Parks remain some of the darkest places in England, and we are excited to celebrate this with our Dark Skies Festivals.
- Dark Sky stargazing at Grizedale is an unforgettable night under the stars in Lake District
You will be guided experience an incredible journey through the Milky Way’s stars and constellations. Local astronomers will show you all these wonders by operating powerful telescopes and binoculars.
- Brecon Beacons National Park is the first International Dark-Sky reserve in Wales. On a clear night, you can see the Milky Way, the major constellations, the bright nebulas and even meteor shower.
- Kielder Observatory is one of the most remarkable places to visit in the whole of the UK. A public astronomical observatory which is second to none.
- Although the Isle of Wight doesn’t have a full dark-sky designation because of the bright cities, the rest of the island is perfect for stargazing. The island Planetarium organises stargazing weekends.
- Family Stargazing Night is a fantastic opportunity to get started with astronomy.
- Live Science shows: To space, and Beyond is a new interactive science show, where you can learn all about the history of space exploration as well as what it means to travel to space today.
- Lovell Lecture: The Covell telescope at 60. This unique event celebrates the 60 years anniversary of the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank
What is an International Dark Sky Park?
An IDA International Dark Sky Park (IDSP) is a land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment. The land may be publicly owned, or privately owned provided that the landowner(s) consent to the right of permanent, ongoing public access to specific areas included in the IDA designation.