Northumberland International Dark Sky Park

Hang out with the stars
It's safe to say that Northumberland is the best place to stargaze in the UK. 572 square miles of the county have been awarded Gold Tier status for their pristine dark skies, and our International Dark Sky Park is the largest in the UK. So get ready for a star-studded show.

A reason to stay out after sunset

Stargazing is more than seeing a smattering of stars from your front lawn. It’s the spine-tingling moment when you see an official ‘dark sky’ as recognised by the International Dark-Sky Association. Gaze at galaxies in Northumberland’s Dark Sky Park and spot constellations in the night skies above our coastline.

Northumberland is fortunate enough to have extremely low levels of light pollution, which means we have the most ‘pristine dark skies’ in England (CPRE Night Blight Report 2016). This makes it one of the best places in the country to discover the night sky and go stargazing.

The whole of Northumberland National Park and most of Kielder Water & Forest Park make up our International Dark Sky Park, a status that is awarded by the International Dark Sky Association. This means that on a clear night, once the sun has set and you're in a remote spot away from street lights, you can look up into the night sky and see thousands of stars, the Milky Way, and the Andromeda Galaxy (2.5 million light years away) with the naked eye.

Elsewhere in Northumberland, you’ll still be blown away by our dark skies. The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with its brooding moorland scenery and picturesque dales, offers outstanding starlit skies. Not to mention the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with its views to the eastern horizon where the Northern Lights have been known to grace the night sky.

When and where to stargaze

You can stargaze all year round, but the best time is autumn and winter.  When temperatures dip, the sky is at its most transparent and the darker nights make these seasons the prime viewing time. That's when the shivering river of stars that is the Milky Way can be spotted overhead.

Discover Northumberland's Dark Sky Park in Kielder and our National Park and reap the rewards of staying out after sunset on the cold nights. Take some tips from our blog and discover Northumberland's other winter attractions.
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