England’s best spots for stargazing

14th November 2019

When was the last time you saw a truly dark, star-filled night sky? There’s something very special about standing beneath the hundreds of points of light with their subtly different shapes and colours, the gently glowing Milky Way suspended above the landscape.

We think everyone should have the chance to experience the full wonder of the night sky, free from light pollution. That’s why we’ve created the most detailed ever maps of dark skies in England, and why we run an annual Star Count, helping to find the best stargazing spots in the country.

Here are some of the best places in England to enjoy our starry skies.

Exmoor National Park

 

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Exmoor became Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve in 2011, with its rugged moorland landscapes transforming at night into star-filled scenes. Top spots for stargazing include Brendon Two Gates, Webbers Post, Ansley Gate, Haddon Hill Wimblehall Lake and County Gate.

Northumberland National Park

 

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Northumberland National Park has been awarded gold tier status by the International Dark Sky Committee. This means that there’s a full range of amazing sights visible from the park, including the Milky Way, meteors and even, sometimes, the Northern Lights. Our Night Blight maps found that a remote hillside on the nearby East Kielder Moors is the least light polluted spot in England, with the starriest skies in the country.

 

South Downs National Park

 

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The South Downs is England’s newest national park and was awarded International Dark Sky Reserve status in 2016. Two-thirds of the park has skies so dark that you’ll get brilliant views of the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy. Stargazing hotspots include Devil’s Dyke, Ditchling Beacon, Birling Gap and Old Winchester Hill.

 

North York Moors National Park

 

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It’s said that the north east’s drier climate means clearer skies for stargazing, and the uninterrupted views from clifftops between Saltburn and Scarborough certainly provide panoramic views of the night sky. Other great sites for stargazing include Danby, Sutton Bank and Dalby Forest.

 

Yorkshire Dales National Park

 

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There are four Dark Sky Discovery Sites in the national park: Tan Hill Inn, Buckden National Park car park and Hawes and Malham National Park Centres, so there’s no excuse not to look to the skies and get constellation spotting. Yorkshire Dales National Park is aiming to achieve International Dark Sky Reserve status by 2021.

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Man stargazing with telescope