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.
The observatory runs a wide variety of events every evening with extra at weekends and school holidays; from main evening observing evenings to shorter educational family events and specialist science events. Check www.kielderobservatory.org for all event listings and to book places. Please note pre-booking is essential. 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.
To reach the observatory, follow signs up the forest track and park at the top car park. The track will be opened approx. 1 hour before the start of your event, access is only for those with tickets for that event. Those wishing to visit during the day to enjoy views down to Kielder Water (facility will be closed) can park in the car park for Skyspace* just off the main road and walk up the hill (50 minutes). Please note that there is a vehicular barrier beyond the bottom 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.
*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.
Sat-nav users beware, the observatory does not have a postcode.
Coming northbound from Bellingham the turn off for the observatory is about 1/2 mile before Kielder Village (NE48 1ER), the track is clearly marked with a brown road tourism sign labelled "Kielder Skyspace and Observatory".
Southbound from Scotland drive straight past Kielder Village (NE48 1ER) then the turn off for the observatory is about 1/2 mile after the village, the track is clearly marked with a brown road tourism sign labelled "Kielder Skyspace and Observatory".
The track will be opened to vehicles 1 hr before the event starts and it is a further 2 miles through the forest to the observatory visitor car park. If the track is not open when you arrive please wait for a staff member to arrive, the track is suitable for most vehicles but do not exceed 15mph. Disabled visitors may park beside the observatory building. We have no waiting area so if you arrive very early please wait in the decking area or in your vehicle.
|Kielder Observatory is a venue for ...|
|Northumberland Dark Sky Park, Kielder(Great Outdoors)|
|Kielder Observatory - Main Evening Event, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Kielder Observatory - Family Events, Kielder(Family event)|
|Kielder Observatory - Specialist Events, Kielder(Talk/Lecture)|
|Kielder Observatory - Weekend Late Night Event, Kielder(Star gazing 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)|
|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
Great night despite the weather
RitchieGrange, Peterlee, United Kingdom
Visited the observatory with friends and family. We had poor weather so we did not see anything live but we did find the presentations by the obviously passionate and knowledgeable staff fascinating. I am quite surprised at people complaining about the weather as if it was the fault of the observatory staff. I once bought a rain coat for a trip to the lakes it did not rain but I never asked for my money back. We all enjoyed it and thought the staff who are self confessed sky nerds were witty and went out of their way to compensate for lack of views. We will visit again
We booked to attend the leonids meteor shower. After arriving we were shown a presentation and shown around the telescopes. Unfortunately due to clouds we didn't even go outside or see one star. We were offered a hot chocolate and a fridge magnet as "bad weather gifts" definitely not worth the £57.21 we paid. We appreciate that you cant control the weather but It would have been nice to receive either a discount or possible reduced return visit. As it stands we wont be returning.
This is the most amazing venue to visit, very spectacular and with truly knowledgeable, informative and enthusiastic staff and volunteers on site who cannot do enough to make your visit as memorable as possible. We were lucky enough to have clear skies to see the stars! We felt so very welcome with staff making us all hot chocolate to make our visit more special. One tip: wrap up well! It gets very cold on site! Thoroughly recommended to visit this amazing venue!
Take note of previous negative reviews
Spottydog2013, Sheffield, United Kingdom
Are you a serious gambler and don't mind loosing money if so book for this event. The bottom line is you really are at the risk of the elements and if you get bad weather the night is a waste unless you are a real enthusiast and don't mind having a lecture when you should be in bed. My daughter bought me this experience as a birthday present as a surprise, unfortunately we got rain and clouds and so got a slide show instead which is not worth the money. I would not recommend this gamble as there is no appropriate compensation, basically you get a hot chocolate in a plastic mug - great!! You have been warned - don't try and negotiate afterwards it falls on deaf ears - they have your money.
annrP122AS, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
We were booked in for the introduction star gazing but it was a rainy evening. Went up the long track in heavy rain thinking this was NOT a good idea. How wrong can you be? The talk about the planets was good but the amazing part was yet to come. We did see some stars using the telescope when the clouds parted for a short time. I would recommend the evening even in the cold and wet. The presentations by were amazing. Very professional and we all learnt a lot. I would recommend this for anyone over 7 and over. I think a for anyone younger it may be a bit difficult to understand, Well worth the effort of finding it.