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)|
|Astro Photography, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Aurora Night, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Family Astronomy, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Night Sky Safari, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|A Universe Full of Stars, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Late Night Dark Skies, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Full Moon Party, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Orion; Dark Sky Hunter, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Space Kids, Kielder(Family event)|
|Late Night Explorer, 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)|
|Mirage - Kisa Kawakami 2006, 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
kevin s, Grimsby, United Kingdom
We had a great evening on Saturday 13th January. It was cloudy unfortunately, but the whole team made up for that. The enthusiasm exuded from them was very contagious! The presentations were great and I would highly recommend to anyone. We will be coming back for another visit. Hopefully the weather will be better.
Learnt a lot
After a long drive from wark we were greeted by the staff and were taken up with there 4x4 as our car wouldn’t of got up the hill from all the ice and snow! All the staff were friendly and had excellent knowledge. The skies were mainly clear so we were very lucky to see the Milky Way, andromedas galaxy, Uranus and some other constellations through the telescopes. It was slightly repetitive, as in we saw the same things through all the telescopes. The talk about the aurora was very interesting so we learnt quite a bit in the three hours that we were there. Was very cold, so I recommend layers of clothing and thermals. I would recommend anyone that’s into astronomy to attend. It was a nice experience. It was a Shame we didn’t get to see the aurora but being a novice to all this I didn’t know that they don’t always get to see it. Do ur research first, if u want to see planets and the aurora u need to time it right. Maybe Check out space weather before booking if u can.
Superb Stargazing Experience in this wonderful location.
Located in the darkest place in Europe, this observatory has a mind blowing view of the darkest sky for literally 1000’s of miles! We did the night viewing, around midnight until 3.00am. We had a clear freezing cold night, fabulous for stargazing. The team of enthusiastic staff are experts, and are engaging and interesting, and any question is answered with addictive enthusiasm for the wonder of gazing into the cosmos. After viewing the moon and various stars, nebula, gas clouds etc we were given hot chocolate and an illustrated talk with one of the team who explained the Big Bang, all very interesting and informative. Overall and superb and memorable night!
Fab night at the 'aurora spotting'
llxpink, Durham, United Kingdom
We went to the Aurora spotting in December one Saturday night 11.30-2.30 and although the clouds came towards the evening and we didn't see the Aurora, we still had a fab night. Got to use the telescopes to see the moon and stars before the clouds arrived. The staff clearly love what they do and their passion comes across, we found the whole thing really interesting! It was absolutely freezing (-6) so the hot chocolates were a welcome treat. Luckily we had wrapped up with lots and lots of layers and thermals. The drive there wasn't as bad as I was expecting either given the frost. We also stayed over at a place nearby which was good as we were really tired and the drive home would have been a couple of hours. We'll definitely be back - hopefully on a clearer, warmer night :)
Kielder Observatory replied: Many thanks for your review and delighted that you had such an enjoyable night at the observatory and visit to the Kielder area. We hope to welcome you back again in the future perhaps when our new observatory opens in the Spring.
Sandra D, Weston, United Kingdom
A fantastic evening despite the exceptionally cold weather ( minus 7 ) but the enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff warmed your soul. Loads of stars, comets, the Milky Way , planets . A wonderful experience.
Kielder Observatory replied: Many thanks Sandra and delighted that you had such an enjoyable night despite the temperatures ! We hope to see you back again in the future. Best wishes