Northumberland National Park is out of this world for stargazing and astronomy. It officially has the darkest skies in England. On a clear night, you can see millions of stars, the Milky Way and even the Andromeda Galaxy (2.5 million light years away) with the naked eye. Every night, there is something different to see, from meteor showers to the Northern lights.
International Dark Sky Park
It includes the whole of Northumberland National Park and 67% of Kielder Water and Forest Park, totally 572 square miles or nearly 15,000 square kilometres. The International Dark Skies Association (IDA) has given it Gold Tier status, its very highest level of award.
Dark Sky Discovery Sites
Some specific places have been designated because of parking and facilities such as toilets and nearby pubs. Take a look at the full list of Dark Sky Discovery Sites. There is one at Alwinton, less than 2 miles from Drakestone Cottage:
Alwinton Car Park
Alwinton is located on in the Upper Coquet Valley in the northern half of the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park.
The site is located on a quiet road: Gallow Law, Alwinton, Morpeth NE65 7BQ, UK
Your guide to the essentials you’ll need to have for looking at our Dark Skies at sites like Alwinton. View the Beginner’s Astronomer’s Checklist, which we have printed out for your use at Drakestone Cottage where you will also find a stargazing kit for use during your stay, including binoculars, red-lens torches and stargazing books/information.
There is a lot more information on the Northumberland National Park website.
Kielder Observatory is one of the most remarkable places to visit in the whole of the UK. A public astronomical observatory which is second to none, under some of the darkest skies in the world where you’ll find “infinite inspiration” and wonders you could never have imagined!
The observatory gets very busy so it is essential to book a visit in advance.