When September fades and autumn falls over the county, the darkness begins to creep in earlier and earlier. Others might grumble, groan and close the curtains in disdain, but here in Northumberland, we welcome the long nights with open arms. They can only mean one thing; it’s dark skies season, and Northumberland is home to one of the largest areas of protected dark sky in Europe.
2019 is the sixth anniversary of the designation of the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, which is 572 square miles (1,483 square kilometres) over the Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water & Forest Park. Due to its pristine skies it was awarded gold tier designation by the International Dark Sky Association, making it officially the best place in England for people to stare at the stars and gaze into the galaxy.
Officially voted the best UK Holiday Destination in The British Travel Awards 2018 and The UK's Seaside Staycation of the Year in The Staycation Awards, Northumberland is the best place to be, day and night. By day, step into your walking boots and admire the autumn colours that illuminate the cobbled market towns and their peaceful parks, the dusting of frost that glistens across the vast and rugged landscape, and maybe even the pristine snow that often covers the county. By night, take to a telescope and stargaze at dedicated Dark Sky Discovery Sites, explore fairy-lit Christmas Markets and warm your toes by an open fire in your cosy cottage accommodation. You can even keep your eyes peeled for the dazzling Northern Lights that have been known to dance across the dark sky over Northumberland’s coastline.