Top spots for stargazing

Night sky

Big open skies are a defining feature of the countryside and on a clear night you can see some 4,000 stars sparkling in our universe all year round. Take a look below at our suggestions for great stargazing spots.

Light pollution is a growing issue for amateur astronomers, but with many of our sites far away from towns and streetlights you can still get a wonderfully clear view of the night sky.

Some of these spots have recently been awarded Dark Sky Discovery status and are now part of the Dark Sky Discovery network, an online map of all the fantastic places that more and more people have easy access to for a good view of the night sky.

Tips for budding astronomers

  • Stargazing is best done before the moon is full, so it might be worth looking at the next new moon dates before you book your trip.
  • See if you can spot the glow of the Andromeda Galaxy. Two million light years away, this is the most distant object the human eye can see. If you use binoculars you should be able to see Andromeda’s elliptical shape.
  • Make sure you take warm clothes. Even on a balmy summer evening, with clear skies above, stargazing can get chilly all year round. Take a hot drink to keep you warm.
  • Safety first - check the weather forecast before you go and make sure you know how you're going to get home. Don't stray far from the path and always keep a torch handy.
  • Stargazing is perfect for kids, especially in winter when the sun sets early. It's also one of our 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ activities.
Countryside around Allan Bank and Grasmere

Allan Bank and Grasmere, Lake District 

Take the children on an evening adventure to Allan Bank, the former home of William Wordsworth and National Trust founder Canon Rawnsley. With low light pollution, the surrounding countryside of Grasmere is a fantastic place to go stargazing. Also in the north west: Low Wray, Langdale and Wasdale campsites are wild, natural and dark at night - perfect spots for viewing meteor showers.

Broad Haven beach

Broad Haven, Pembrokeshire 

Part of the former grand estate at Stackpole, Broad Haven beach in Pembrokeshire is a perfect Dark Sky Discovery spot for stargazing. The car park above the beach provides a great vantage point for watching the night sky.

The view across the Shropshire Hills from Long Mynd

Carding Mill Valley & Long Mynd, Shropshire 

Carding Mill Valley & Long Mynd is a perfect spot for budding stargazers. The area has Milky Way status as a Dark Sky site, meaning it has minimal light pollution and beautifully dark skies. There are a number of small car parks on the top of the Mynd.

Looking towards Belfast from Divis Mountain

Divis Mountain, Northern Ireland 

Standing at 478m on the edge of Belfast, the view from Divis Mountain is breathtaking. As well as the stars above you, you'll see the lights of Belfast twinkling below. If you don't fancy a climb, the Divis Mountain car park is open all year and provides a good place to stargaze.

Sycamore Gap during the night

Hadrian's Wall & Housteads Fort, Northumberland 

Northumberland International Dark Sky Park is Europe’s largest area of protected night sky. It's the perfect place to admire the stars - with the darkest skies in England.

Wicken Fen Sunset

Stargazing in London and the South East 

The South East has several great spots for stargazing, including a 125 acre park on the edge of London. Wrap up warm and see what you can discover about the night sky

Stary skies at Lacock Abbey

Stargazing in the South West 

From Cornwall to Stonehenge, the South West offers hundreds of opportunities to get away from the bright city lights and discover the night sky.