20 of the best places to stargaze in the UK

March 3, 2017

The National Parks Dark Skies Festival (18-26 February) is an ideal opportunity to try stargazing in some of the UK’s wildest areas. But here, we’ve also selected stellar sites that are good throughout the year

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The South Downs became an international dark sky reserve in May 2016, with 66% of the park having bronze-level skies (as assessed by the International Dark Sky Association), which means the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxy can be seen. It has seven stargazing hotspots: Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium, Old Winchester Hill, Butser Hill, Iping Common, Devil’s Dyke, Ditchling Beacon and Birling Gap. To celebrate its new designation, the park is taking part in the second annual Dark Skies festival (until 26 February), with star parties, night hikes, astrophotography sessions and comet-making workshops. A fitting place to stay nearby, open from April, is Big Sky Tipi Holidays near Eastbourne (three nights from £240, sleeps up to six, bigskytipiholidays.co.uk), a glampsite with very little light pollution, close to the Observatory Science Centre at Herstmonceux Castle.
southdowns.gov.uk

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