If you are passionate about stargazing and you never want to miss any chance to observe the fascinating Universe, then you should know that the United Kingdom is amongst the countries with the largest dark sky areas on the continent!
From stars and galaxies to the Milky Way, you can observe a wealth of different celestial bodies, be it with the naked eye or with a telescope. The winter months belong to the best time of the year for stargazing, so you may start thinking about your next stargazing trip now.
Having said that, here you will find a brief overview of some of the most sought-after stargazing UK locations that you should put on your list.
Top 7 Best Stargazing UK Locations
1. The Llangorse Lakes
First of great stargazing spots in Brecon Beacons National Park on my list, the Llangorse Lakes, are amongst the lesser-known stargazing locations in the UK, yet one of the most accessible and beautiful ones. If you fancy the Milky Way and you never get enough of watching it, then you should know that the Lakes offer a breath-taking view of it – besides, you can observe it with the naked eye. All you need is a comfortable blanket and an entire night to spare!
2. The Galloway Forest Park
The Galloway Forest Park has made a reputation for itself as one of the parks with the darkest skies in Scotland, just perfect for stargazing. As a matter of fact, Galloway ranks #1 on the Darkest Sky Parks list in the UK, therefore if you aim for a pitch-black sky, look no further!
No less than 7,000 different stars and planets are visible from the Galloway Forest Park, which sums up more than 70,000 hectares of land – you can have a closer look at celestial displays that are present throughout the whole year, or that are only visible during certain seasons. The Galloway Forest Park is located right in the heart of nature: pollution-free, serene and welcoming, the Park is a safe retreat for those who want to take a short break from the hustle and bustle of the city and spend hours stargazing.
3. The Usk Reservoir
If you are looking for a light pollution-free stargazing location where you can truly enjoy everything the night sky has to offer, then you should definitely take the Usk Reservoir into account. Located in Brecon Beacons National Park, you can easily get here from the Trecastle area. Not only is the Usk Reservoir perfect for amateur and professional stargazers alike, but it is also an outstanding picnic location!
4. The Breacon Beacons
After having ranked the world’s fifth International Dark Sky Reserve two years ago, the Breacon Bacon has received a lot of attention from the stargazing community in the United Kingdom – and for a good reason! The Breacon Bacons stand out through its exceptional starry nights and nocturnal environment, this is why it is often visited by those who are interested not just in the vastness of space, but also in natural science. The Breacon Beacons is protected for cultural and educational purposes, as well as for the joy of the public.
If you live in Scotland, then you should know that Pertshire is undoubtedly one of the most appreciated stargazing locations in the area, not just due to the lack of any light-induced pollution, but also because of its fine arboreal landscape. There are several locations that truly stand out from the rest, such as the Tay Forest Park or the Rannoch Moor and Loch Rannoch. The entire area is marvellous and worth visiting, not just at night but also during the day!
6. Exmoor And The Surroundings
The Exmoor area was granted the International Dark Sky Reserve status four years ago, back in 2011, and it has definitely managed to rise up to it! The Exmoor area is mainly frequented by amateur stargazers, although everybody can enjoy the starry night sky. Unfortunately, the amount of light pollution in the Exmoor area is slightly above average, this is why you will need a telescope in order to observe the night sky and make the best of it.
7. The Pontsticill Reservoir
This is yet another outstanding stargazing location in the United Kingdom that is worth mentioning. Extremely popular both amongst amateur stargazers and picnickers, the Pontsticill Reservoir can be easily accessed from Merthyr Tydfil and it has plenty of parking spots, too! The Reservoir is the perfect place to go if you plan to take your pick-up truck, a few blankets and pillows and watch the ever-fascinating night sky from the back of your truck.