Kielder Observatory is an astronomical attraction at Kielder Water & Forest Park run by the Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society. Please visit www.kielderobservatory.org for all event bookings.
Famed for having the darkest night skies in England thanks to minimal light pollution, Kielder Water & Forest Park is a star gazers' heaven and the Observatory offers exciting opportunities for those with an interest in learning more about the night sky.
Like the deck of a ship sailing above the landscape, the Observatory provides astronomers with a permanent facility in the heart of Northumberland. It is part of the art and architecture programme that has turned the park into an open air gallery over the last ten years.
Anyone can visit the Observatory at any time and walk around the decking. However, the turrets and astronomical equipment can only be operated by fully qualified members of the Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society (KOAS) during specific events. Check www.kielderobservatory.org for all event listings.
Those wishing to visit during the day can park in the car park for Skyspace* (signed posted from Kielder Castle) and walk up the hill (50 minutes) - there are also excellent views of Kielder Water.
The Observatory is fantastic to visit all year round - the spectacular views are best in summer while the winter nights are darker and better for star gazing.
As part of the process of developing the Observatory project, artist Alec Finlay created 'One Hundred Year Star Diary', an astronomical diary cataloguing all major astronomical events from 2008-2108 with space for owners to write their own notes and observations on the events that they have witnessed. Finlay researched the book with professional astronomers and developed a series of visual representations for each type of event. Please see Star Diary's separate entry for more information. Information about Alec Finlay's work can be found at www.alecfinlay.com
*Skyspace is a circular room which is illuminated by a combination of natural and artificial light at different times of the day. During dawn and dusk, the changing light conditions create a rich and unforgettable display of tone and colour. Both Skyspace and the Observatory are part of the art & architecture programme at Kielder Water & Forest Park.
To reach the observatory make your way to the additional car park for the Skyspace (see map) and begin your walk from there. Distance 1 mile to the Skyspace, a further 0.5 miles to the Observatory. Please note that there is a vehicular barrier beyond the additional car park and although you can obtain a key from the Forestry Commission shop to make it possible to drive as far as the Skyspace, vehicular access after this point is restricted to times when astronomy events are being held.
The Observatory is run by the Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society (KOAS) who have developed an access programme to enable people to find out more about astronomy, visit the building and use the astronomical equipment. This programme covers all levels of interest and includes both night and daytime events.
|Kielder Observatory is part of Kielder Art and Architecture and so are...|
|Minotaur - Nick Coombe and Shona Kitchen 2003, Kielder (Garden)|
|Janus Chairs Viewpoint, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Cat Cairn: the Kielder Skyspace - James Turrell 2000, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Kielder Observatory, Kielder (Science and Technology)|
|Kielder Column - John Maine 1999, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Mirage - Kisa Kawakami 2006, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Silvas Capitalis - SIMPARCH 2009, Hexham (Great Outdoors)|
|Janus Chairs - Ryder Architecture 2009, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Viewpoints - Tania Kovats 1998, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Mapping mini golf, Kielder (Sport and Leisure)|
|Play Garden - Zone Architects 2006, Kielder (Sightseeing and Leisure)|
|Shadow - Julia Barton 1995, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Freya’s Cabin - Studio Weave 2009, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Belvedere - Softroom Architects 1999, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|55-02 - Sixteen (makers) 2009, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Wave Chamber - Chris Drury 1996, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Stell - Colin Wilbourn 2006, Falstone (Great Outdoors)|
|Type||Entry for||Guide price|
Car parking available
Events must be booked in advance
Open all year
Ticket booking essential
Night Sky Visit
V8665ETMichelle_S, Leeds, United Kingdom
We were really lucky as the sky was clear and we were able to view planets with various telescopes. It is cold so make sure you wrap up! The introduction and talks are informative. The staff are super enthusiastic and try their utmost to give everyone the best experience.
Very informative, but wrap up warm
paulmN1241TE, County Durham, United Kingdom
So glad we made the trip, although it was cloudy and we couldn't see the stars we did manage to see the moon with it's craters with the powerful telescopes' on site. The talk given by Gary Fildes was both amusing and informative, when we split into our three groups the remaining personnel were equally as informative. Would highly recommend a visit, especially the hot chocolate (wait for the sales pitch - it was great).
Kielder Observatory replied: Many thanks for your review and so pleased that you had such a good night despite not seeing the stars ! We hope to see you back again before too long. Best wishes
Crinan03, Northwold, United Kingdom
We had two consecutive visits to the Observatory. Unfortunately the first visit was under overcast skies but the staff at the Observatory coped very well and kept the visitors entertained even though we could not make use of the telescopes to view the night sky. However on the second visit there were clear skies meaning that we could use both the large indoor telescopes iand those that had been set up outside. The staff are very knowledgeable and will endeavour to find that "star" in the sky for you.
Kielder Observatory replied: Many thanks for your feedback and we are so glad that you persisted for your second night ! Kielder really is an amazing place and no two nights are the same as you discovered. We hope to see you again in the future Best wishes
NigelMorton, Hexham, United Kingdom
It makes me happy just that such a place exists. First, the warnings: the observatory is remote and you need to allow plenty of time to get there. There are few signs and they are, I think, the yellow signs erected by the AA. The weather in the North of England isn't always wonderful so you might see nothing and it's your risk. You can't expect the observatory to hand out refunds for the weather. Having said that, just go anyway if you have even the faintest interest in astronomy. If the weather is poor then the staff, many of whom are volunteers, do their best to fill in the time in an interesting manner and you can still see the two large telescopes even if you can't use them. If the weather is clear then you will be rewarded with some spectacular sights that most people just can't see in their light-polluted skies.
Kielder Observatory replied: That's great Nigel and thank you for your feedback. We are so glad that you had such an enjoyable night and hope that we can welcome you back again soon. Best wishes
Fantastic Place to visit
Linda M, Leeds, United Kingdom
What a place to visit!! The staff were so knowledgeable and passionate about the night sky that we were mesmerised by what we saw. Our knowledge of planets and stars before the visit was very limited but even so we found the whole subject so interesting due to the way it was put across. We were also so lucky you see the Northern Lights whilst we were there but even if we hadn't seen them we would still recommend a visit just for the experience. One not to be missed
Kielder Observatory replied: Many thanks for your feedback Linda and delighted that you managed to see the Northern Lights which is a magical experience. We hope to welcome you back again and can I encourage you to keep an eye on our website for news of future plans and events.