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The best places to see the stars

Discover the UK’s stargazing hotspots

Explore the night sky

The days are getting shorter and the nights are drawing in. What better way to spend the darker evenings than by looking up at the stars?

From observatories and planetariums to parks and nature reserves in areas with International Dark Sky Reserve status – discover our pick of the best places to see the stars in the UK.

Arlington Court, Devon

Arlington Court is located on the edge of Exmoor, which was named as Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve. The mansion is surrounded by extensive parkland – its rural location makes it a perfect host for events as part of the Exmoor Dark Skies Festival.

Dalby Forest Park, North Yorkshire

Situated on the southern slopes of the North York Moors, Dalby Forest is a designated Dark Sky Discovery Site where you can experience the magic of the Milky Way with the naked eye. Enjoy a free public stargazing session, hosted by local Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society.

Kielder Observatory, Northumberland

Enjoy a magical and unique experience under the finest dark skies in England with a visit to this public astronomical observatory. Nestled deep in Kielder Forest, the Observatory is under some of the nation’s least polluted skies and hosts a variety of events.

Mills Observatory, Dundee

Mills Observatory is Britain’s first purpose-built public observatory and enjoys an impressive setting on the summit of Balgay Hill. Take in the fascinating space exploration and astronomical displays and watch the stars and planets through the Victorian refracting telescope.

National Space Centre, Leicester

With six interactive galleries, the UK’s largest planetarium, and the iconic 42m high Rocket Tower, the National Space Centre is an out-of-this-world experience for the whole family. An award-winning planetarium show is included in your visit, allowing you to travel to the edges of the universe.

Royal Observatory, Greenwich

The Royal Observatory is the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the Prime Meridian of the world and London’s Planetarium. Watch a show at the Peter Harrison Planetarium and, if your curiosity has been sparked, book onto a talk to learn more about the basics of astronomy.

RSPB Coll, Argyll & Bute

The Isle of Coll may be remote, but a visit is more than worth it for some truly spectacular stargazing. The Hebridean island was designated as a “Dark-Sky Community” in 2013 – its unpolluted skies mean the Northern Lights are sometimes visible in autumn and winter.

Stackpole NT, Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire is renowned for the quality of its skies, and the Stackpole Estate is one of its Dark Sky Discovery sites. The National Trust host stargazing events in a mobile planetarium within the Stackpole Centre, where visitors are taken on a journey across the night sky using the latest technology.

The Observatory Science Centre, East Sussex

The former home of The Royal Greenwich Observatory, the Observatory Science Centre is home to six historical telescopes. The Centre hosts an annual Astronomy Festival, along with stargazing evenings throughout the autumn and winter.

Thinktank – Birmingham Science Museum, Birmingham

Thinktank’s state-of-the-art planetarium means you can tour the night sky without stepping outside. The new 4K system boasts brighter, sharper images and crystal-clear surround sound, enabling visitors to get up close to constellations and travel through the solar system.

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