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 a venue for ...|
|Northumberland Dark Sky Park, Kielder(Great Outdoors)|
|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)|
|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
Disclaimer: my visit was in March 2017, not August as stated (sorry). Booked in advance with hopes of seeing the northern lights but alas it was very cloudy and raining heavily. However I was SO impressed with the staff and activities that we did instead. I learned so much from the presentations prepared by the staff. It was so apparent that they were passionate about astronomy that it was infectious - certainly made me want to learn much more! So even though it was a bit of a disappointment that no northern lights or stars/planets were seen on that day, which I knew was a risk anyway because you never know with the weather, I felt that it was a fantastic trip. The hot chocolate was such a pleasant bonus. I will be back again for more events and would recommend Kielder Observatory to anyone who asks me.
Went there in the hope of learning more, but it was shut and no information was forthcomming. Disappointed as I'm sure it is good but there must be more to it than just dark skies. Will try to plan better next time if possible.
Amazing but do your research!
CFTphonehome, London, United Kingdom
I loved this place. The volunteers and staff were very helpful/friendly/funny and knowledgeable. Was worried about going in winter as poor vision and weather. Picked a perfect night in the summer but it never got truly dark. Made mandatory Uranus jokes 🙌🏻. Saw Saturn, Jupiter and Venus perfectly. Was really cold. More than even expected as 28 degrees days, felt like 6 on top. I took away a point as called prior to ask about dog, but dogs are definitely NOT invited. Magical part of this world.
We were so lucky with the clear skies
Annabel T, Brighouse, United Kingdom
Our evening at the Observatory in the Kielder Forest started with a 2 mile drive up a gravel road through the forest! Wow quite an adventure. On arrival we were greeted by the team of about 8 and the most amazing views of Kielder and the surrounding countryside. In the classroom they explained what would happen during the evening and we learned a little about Jupiter and its 4 moons and saw some of the photos taken by various scientific craft over the years. We were then split into groups and got a chance to look through the telescopes and look at Jupiter, the Moon and later Saturn. It was fabulous - the staff were very enthusiastic, knowledgeable and happy to help whatever our individual level of knowledge. The hot chocolate was lovely too. What an amazing experience - wonderful. They were really good with two children there with their parents.
Definitely worth a visit (at least one!)
Sue C, Johannesburg, South Africa
Truly wonderful experience! To think it is on my old family doorstep - visiting from South Africa, where I now live, I found it awe-inspiring. The team was knowledgeable and friendly, happy to answer questions. More importantly, they were enthusiastic! And seemed to love what they were doing, bringing some of their presentations down to almost idiot level, so we could understand. We touched the moon! And were lucky enough to have semi-clear skies, so we could see Jupiter with 4 of its moons and two rings, and the very unfriendly, but very bright Venus. Fabulous and definitely worth a visit!