Thursday, May 30, 2024

‘Incredible’ National Park named best UK destination for stargazing spot

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While it’s a rare sight to see in the UK and the fact that it is so close to home it’s no wonder that it’s all people are talking about.

And if you have now caught the stargazing bug then you’re in luck as experts have shared the top UK spots for a stargazing holiday.

Jessops has looked at the UK’s dark sky reserves, this is where light pollution is at its lowest, to find out where you catch the stars for a themed getaway.

The study looked at several factors including viewing locations across the UK, stargazing events and accommodation choices.

They found Northumberland Dark Sky Park as the best place to visit if you want to get your stargazing boots on.

This is thanks to the number of observation points you can stargaze from and it is packed with several attractions that you can go and visit.

Where can I go stargazing in Northumberland?

While the park also has a low level of light pollution, the countryside charity CPRE has called Northumberland National Park the most “pristine dark skies” in England.

The National Park is made up of 572 miles and on a clean night, you can even see the Milky Way and even the Andromeda Galaxy, which is a staggering 2.5 million light years away.

In total, there are 20 observation points and 19 annual events which you can base your trip around.

One of the more popular spots for stargazing is the Kielder Observatory. It has a 4.5-star rating on TripAdvisor and a 4.8 Google rating. Opening in 2008, many visitors have taken to the site to stargaze.

One person wrote: “Absolutely amazing. We attended an event here and learned so much!”

Another commented: “A must-visit for astro enthusiasts!”

A third said: “Absolutely superb! Well worth a visit – a fabulous facility in an amazing location.”

Another place to visit is the Battlesteads Dark Sky Observatory. The site has a 4.8 rating on TripAdvisor and a 4.6 rating on Google with one visitor commenting: “This place is .”

Another said: “A super evening learning about the solar system, galaxy, constellations, and equipment used to see these.”

A third commented: “What a fantastic evening we had star gazing and looking at the moon through the telescope.”

How to get to Northumberland?

The best mode of transport to get Northumberland’s more remote parts is by car.

If you’re looking to go from the capital it is a six-hour drive to Northumberland National Park and a two-hour journey if you’re travelling from Carlisle or Edinburgh.

When is the best time to visit Northumberland?

While there are events taking place throughout the year, the best time to go stargazing is during autumn and winter. This is when the evenings start earlier.

However, if you want slightly warmer temperatures then the summer month of July is your best bet where the average temperature is 18°C. This is compared to a measly 7°C in December and January.

If you want to get ahead and start planning then you can take a look at the events on the Kielder Observatory and Battlesteads Observatory websites.

Here are the UK’s top 10 stargazing spots, according to Jessops.

  • Northumberland Dark Sky Park
  • South Downs Dark Sky Reserve
  • Exmoor Dark Sky Reserve
  • North York Moors Dark Sky Reserve
  • Yorkshire Dales Dark Sky Reserve
  • Brecon Beacons Dark Sky Reserve
  • Cranborne Chase Dark Sky Reserve
  • Bodmin Moor Dark Sky Landscape
  • Elan Valley Dark Sky Park
  • Snowdonia Dark Sky Reserve

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