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Top 5 Stargazing Locations in the UK

Top 5 Stargazing Locations in the UK

5 October 2017 | Kate Plummer

Humans have always been in awe of the beauty and vastness of space, but despite our huge leaps in space exploration and research, for the majority of us, the stunning views that come with the night sky are very much a glorious mystery. Sadly, with the rise in light pollution across populated areas, it can be hard to view the stars in all their wonder, so to celebrate 'World Space Week' we’ve put together a guide for where to enjoy the best celestial sightings in the UK.

Brecon Beacons
 

Image credit: Martin Brigden
 
Boasting some of the lowest light pollution in the UK, the Brecon Beacons provide breathtaking sights, from the Milky Way to meteor showers, in a stunning secluded setting. As the first Dark Sky Reserve in Wales, the national park works hard to keep the night sky as perfect as possible for naked-eye nebula novices and telescope-toting enthusiasts alike. With so much unspoilt countryside viewing areas to choose from, enjoy a picnic at dusk at the Usk Reservoir, or take your telescope to the incredible ruins at Carreg Cennen for some truly starry nights.
 
Brecon Beacons National Park is located in mid-Wales. For more information, please visit the Brecon Beacons website.
 

Galloway Forest Park
 

Image credit: hjcoliver
 
Tucked in the southwest of Scotland, just a couple of hours from Glasgow, over 7000 stars can be spied with your little eye from the UK's first Dark Sky Park in Galloway Forest. With less than 10% of people in the UK able to see the Milky Way from where they live, Scotland is a great weekend getaway to chase down some stars and soak up some wilderness whilst you’re at it. Some of the most popular parts of the park for astronomical appreciation are the beautiful Loch Trool and Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre, which runs stargazing events and has breathtaking views over the darkest part of Galloway Forest Park.
 
Galloway Forest Park is located in the heart of Dumfries and Galloway, south west Scotland. For more information, please visit the Galloway Forest Park website.

 
Norfolk Coast
                                  

Image credit: Kevin Millican
 
If you’re looking for a chance to stargaze without having to travel into the wilderness, then the north coast of Norfolk is the perfect solution. The sandy beaches and accessible countryside of Norfolk are always a popular escape, and it’s no exception for a spot of astronomy. Just an hour’s drive from Norwich, take a trip to Kelling Heath to enjoy some of the best views of the night skies in the UK, where twice a year Star Parties are held to celebrate the love of stargazing and astronomy. On a clear night a whole host of skyward attractions can be seen, from the Milky Way to interstellar dust clouds and elusive glimpses of planets and galaxies far, far away.

For more information, please visit the Norfolk Coast Partnership website.


Exmoor
 

Image credit: Adrian Cubitt
 
Exmoor National Park is eagerly anticipating its first Dark Skies Festival this October and it’s easy to see why. The Exmoor Dark Sky Reserve boasts spectacular views of the heavens with about 3000 stars visible on a clear night, with Holdstone Hill and Wimbleball Lake amongst the many great spots to gaze into the inky night. The festival also celebrates the area as being the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Europe, where families and enthusiasts can enjoy screenings, a mobile planetarium, talks on astro photography and, of course, lots of opportunities to stargaze.
 
Exmoor National Park is located at Exmoor House, Dulverton TA22 9HL. The Dark Skies Festival runs from Thursday 19 October - Sunday 29 October. For more information, please visit the Exmoor website.

 
Wasdale, Lake District
 

Image credit: Richard Walker
 
Climb to the top of Scafell Pike and you may feel like you’re nearly high enough to reach for the moon. However, for those who don’t fancy trekking up a mountain for a celestial sighting, Wasdale Valley also has the luxury of being both beautiful to behold and a prime stargazing location thanks to its minimal population. An excellent campsite (open all year round), is also available for those wanting to fully immerse themselves in one of the most wondrous and wild landscapes in the UK.
 
Wasdale is situated in the western part of the Lake District National Park in Cumbria, UK. For more information, please visit the Wasdale website.
 

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