Top spots for stargazing
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.