Places to sleep under the stars

It’s perfect for a camping trip, but you can’t take it with you. There’s enough of it for everyone, but only a few know how to get it. It’s always there, but you can’t always see it. What are we talking about? A starry sky of course.

Sleeping beneath the stars can be magical, but these days light pollution makes it tricky to find good stargazing spots. Luckily, our outdoor experts know of a few campsites and remote cottages with access to the greatest star-spangled views in the UK.

Cribyn, Brecon Beacons, Powys

Brecon Beacons, Wales 

Very few areas of the UK get such dark skies and bright stars as the Brecon Beacons. Indeed, in 2013 the area became the fifth place in the world to be awarded Dark Sky Reserve status. For spectacular views of the Milky Way you can camp on Blaenglyn Farm, in the Tarell Valley. Facilities are basic, but include water and toilets. For more information please contact Mrs Prosser on 01874 625072.

If you’re thinking of taking a trip with a large group take a look at Dan y Gyrn bunkhouse. This wonderfully equipped and modern bunkhouse sleeps up to 15 people, and is the perfect spot for walks, barbeques and watching the world turn.

Visitors sitting outside camping pod

Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire 

At night the absence of light pollution near Clumber Park provides an excellent opportunity for stargazing or the chance to see nocturnal wildlife. When the main gates close to the public anyone who is camping has the park to themselves, much like the Dukes of Newcastle in years gone by.

Wigwams and camping pods await you at Clumber Park. This glamping adventure is set in the heart of Sherwood Forest, with traditional camping available too.

View across the fens at Wicken Fen

Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire

See the night’s sky from our oldest nature reserve. The wetlands of Wicken Fen are an ideal spot for stargazing, with incredibly low levels of light pollution. Get back to nature in one of Wicken Fen’s rustic log shelters, each sleeping six adults or eight children and equipped with a fire pit, an eco loo and surrounded by an abundance of wildlife.

During the day you can hire bikes, go geocaching, explore the nature trails or go on a boat trip.

* Please note that camping is restricted to the wild campsite. Only wildlife can sleep on the reserve.

Family sitting in front of one of the camping pods

Castle Ward, Downpatrick 

Tucked away in a stunning 820 acre estate are four eco-friendly camping pods, a caravan park, a bunkhouse and a campsite. In the day you can explore 35km of winding trails through woodland, gardens and parklands.

Standard pods or family pods are available, with lockable French doors and heating for cooler nights. Visitors are always telling us how wonderful the stars look from Castle Ward at night, so this is a great location for any would-be astronomers.

Gumber Farm and Gumber Bothy

The South Downs 

Gumber Bothy campsite is in the South Downs National Park, which is currently applying to become an International Dark Sky Reserve. This would grant the park official protection and kudos as one of the world’s top places to see the stars.

Gumber Bothy campsite offers a peaceful retreat in a converted flint barn. You can stay in one of the barn’s three dorms and use the kitchen and hot showers. Or if you prefer, you can camp out in the starlight.


Lake District campsites, Cumbria 

The Lake District is a stargazer’s paradise. With unusually low levels of light pollution and many mountainous peaks, it’s a great place to get closer to the stars.

We have a wide range of camping options within this region. Wasdale campsite sits in the shadow of England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike. If you’re after a peaceful spot to enjoy the outdoors and a dark sky then this is it. Glampers are spoilt for choice at Low Wray with its selection of wooden cabins, lakeshore yurts and American Indian Tipis.

People walking on the path around Tarn Hows

Coniston, Cumbria

If you fancy a bit of luxury, why not stay at Rose Castle Cottage with its breathtaking views of the Lake District. This delightful and simple 19th-century cottage is situated high above Tarn Hows, the iconic Lake District spot.

This is truly a tranquil location with no neighbours on the horizon and few of the trappings of modern life. It's ideal for walkers with fantastic walks right from the doorstep, and its rural location makes for some excellent stargazing.

High Lidmoor Farmhouse, North Yorkshire

Bransdale, North Yorkshire Moors

On the east slopes of Bransdale with outstanding views down the valley, High Lidmoor Farmhouse sleeps 5 and is the perfect, isolated holiday retreat. Surrounded by open moor land, this 18th-century farmhouse is ideal for exploring the North York Moors and coast and a perfect space for spotting stars.