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Top spots for stargazing

Visitors enjoying one of Bristol Astronomical Society's stargazing evenings at Tyntesfield, North Somerset
Visitors enjoying one of Bristol Astronomical Society's stargazing evenings at Tyntesfield, North Somerset | © National Trust Images/Steve Sayers

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. Take a look at the top spots for stargazing at the places in our care.

Finding the best spots

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

Some of these spots have been named Dark Sky Discovery sites and are part of the Dark Sky Discovery network.

Planning your stargazing

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. As one of our one of our ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾' activities, it's also a perfect outdoor activity for kids, especially from autumn when the sun begins to set earlier.

Remember 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.

Top places for stargazing

Black Down, West Sussex
Situated on the highest point of the South Downs, Black Down's sweeping skies make it an ideal spot for observing the stars. On a clear night, you can see a mass of stars sparkling in the sky overhead.Go stargazing at Black Down
Carding Mill Valley on the Long Mynd, Shropshire
A perfect spot for budding stargazers, the area at Carding Mill on the Long Mynd has Milky Way status as a Dark Sky Discovery Site, meaning it has minimal light pollution and the darkest skies. There are also several small car parks on the top of the Mynd.Go stargazing at Carding Mill Valley & Long Mynd
Carnewas, Cornwall
A Dark Sky Discovery Site, Carnewas offers panoramic views of the night sky. It's recommended that stargazers view the sky well away from the cliff edges – the grassy area next to the shop is the ideal spot.Go stargazing at Carnewas
Carrick-a-Rede, County Antrim
The site was granted Dark Sky Discovery status in 2014 and is currently one of only two sites in Northern Ireland, the other being Oxford Island on the shores of Lough Neagh.Go stargazing at Carrick-a-Rede
A starry night sky above Cragside, Northumberland
A starry night sky above Cragside, Northumberland | © National Trust Images/John Millar
Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland
Northumberland International Dark Sky Park is Europe’s largest area of protected night sky, making it the perfect place to admire the stars, with the famous Roman landmark in the foreground.Go stargazing at Hadrian's Wall
Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne, County Londonderry
Take in the stars shining over the rugged headland at Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne. The sound of waves crashing below this hilltop location makes for a relaxing evening of stargazing.Go stargazing at Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne
Pembrokeshire, Wales
Home to several Dark Sky Discovery Sites, Pembrokeshire is the perfect place to spend an evening under the stars. Many sites are on the coast, so you can sit and listen to the waves and you might even see the Milky Way.Go stargazing in Pembrokeshire
Wasdale, Cumbria
Surround yourself with the peace and quiet of the deserted lakes and focus on the sky above. A stay at the remote Wasdale campsite turns this trip into the perfect stargazing escape, away from bright city lights.Go stargazing at Wasdale
Family walking down the main drive with lady in a tramper at Shugborough Estate, Staffordshire - CTA crop only

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