Our Dark Skies
Stars under the jetty | © Neil Denham

Our Dark Skies


The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre

The Sill under the stars (Wil Cheung)

Look up into the night sky of Northumberland’s International Dark Sky Park and marvel at up to 2000 stars at any one time. The Northumberland International Dark Sky Park is one of Europe’s largest, stretching across 1470 square kilometres of breath taking scenery combining Northumberland National Park with Kielder Water & Forest Park. Due to its unspoiled skies and minimal light pollution it was awarded gold tier designation by the International Dark Sky Association, making it officially the best place in England for people to go to enjoy the night sky.

Autumn offers the prime viewing time; the nights are longer and darker, the Milky Way can be seen overhead and you might even be lucky enough to spot mesmerising Meteor showers.  As the temperatures drop during the crisp winter months, the sky becomes more transparent, making it even easier to see the glittering skies above us. 

Holy Island

Holy Island Causeway (Calum Gladstone)

It’s not just the Dark Sky Park where you can experience the beauty of the night sky.  Head to the Northumberland Coast and, with the right weather conditions, you might be lucky enough to see the amazing Aurora Borealis.  Commonly known as the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis is a spectacular natural light display that causes green and red swirls to dance across the sky.

You don’t need an expensive telescope to enjoy Northumberland’s dark skies, just wrap up warm, pack a pair of binoculars, a hot drink and bite to eat and head off to enjoy a star studded show.  If you’d like to learn more about the night sky there is an exciting range of Northumberland Dark Sky Events including regular events at The Sill National Landscape Centre on Hadrian's Wall, Kielder Observatory, Battlesteads Observatory and throughout the Northumberland National Park.

Battlesteads Observatory, located at a Dark Sky Discovery Site in Wark and under very dark skies, offers the perfect compromise between the beautiful majesty of dark skies and the facilities offered by a 21st Century Countryside Village location. Benefiting from good access by road, the observatory is accessible whatever the weather and even on a cold night you'll be cosy in the observatory warm room. If you'd prefer to stay the night the adjacent Battlesteads Hotel & Restaurant offers luxury accommodation and superb meals.

Kielder Observatory is an astronomical attraction based at Kielder Water & Forest Park, offering a permanent facility for astronomers in the heart of Northumberland. Possessing a similar design to the deck of a ship sailing above the landscape, the Observatory is part of the art and architecture programme that has turned the park into an open air gallery over the last ten years. A number of events take place here, from observing evenings to specialist science events, and visitors can also enjoy the Kielder Sky Space which is illuminated by a combination of natural and artificial light at different times of day. 


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