Galloway Forest Park
Covering around 300 square miles of undulating terrain, Galloway Forest Park in southern Scotland offers some of the best star spotting opportunities in Britain. Thanks to its remoteness and lack of light pollution, the area has been designated a Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Skies Association (IDA). Enthusiasts from around the world flock to this stunning location to view everything from stellar nurseries to the Andromeda Galaxy. If you’re really lucky when you’re stargazing in Galloway Forest Park, you’ll even get the chance to witness the awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis. Loch Trool is an especially popular destination among astronomers and, according to the Wigtownshire Astronomical Society, the Machars peninsula is a great viewing area too.
Northumberland National Park
Just south of the Scottish border, the Northumberland National Park is another renowned star watching location. Stretching out for nearly 600 square miles, this spectacular terrain is also a Dark Sky Park. In fact, it’s the largest area of protected night sky in the whole of Europe and in December 2013, the IDA awarded it Gold Tier Dark Sky Park status. As well as turning your own telescope or binoculars to the skies in the park, you can check out the equipment on offer in the Kielder Observatory. Since opening seven years ago, the observatory has attracted tens of thousands of visitors with its program of astronomical events.
Exmoor National Park
Further south, you’ll find Exmoor National Park. Another first-rate star watching spot, it has been designated a Dark Sky Reserve and it boasts an array of prime viewing locations for keen astronomers. Within the park, the areas of Haddon Hill, Holdstone Hill, Brendon Two Gates, Anstey Gate, Webbers Post and Wimbleball Lake are especially good for stargazing. If you’re not sure where to go, you can get hold of a special pocket guide that shows the best sites.
Stargazing is something that many people do solo, but if you prefer to be in company when you’re staring skyward, Norfolk could be the ideal destination for you. Situated in the north of the county, the Kelling Heath Holiday Park is the setting of twice yearly ‘star parties’. The events, which attract hundreds of astronomers, offer the perfect chance to meet and greet fellow enthusiasts.
Of course, these are just some of the superb stargazing spaces on offer across the UK. There are many more for you to explore too.
(Photo by blyzz via Flickr)
Article written by Gail