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 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
Visited this Tuesday was a bit cloudy but kept clearing to view a magical scene of stars and galaxy's I would imagine on a clear night it would be even more spectacular the staff are so knowledgeable and enthusiastic and manage to explain the intracasies of the night sky so I was able to understand some of it and advice is to wrap up warm and take it easy on the approach road well worth the money will go again
Out of This World
saltea1, Manchester, United Kingdom
Wow, wow, wow! Buckle up & prepare to be blown away & not necessarily by the weather! However, warm clothing IS very strongly advised as everything is outside & it can get very chilly. Only warmth is a log burner during pre-gazing talks & your complimentary & very welcome hot drink. The staff are amazing, incredibly enthusiastic, funny & so knowledgable you get every conceivable Q&A solved. Photography experts on hand as well as Astrophysicists. All 3 telescope stations staffed at all times & moved regularly so nobody gets bored. They have huge Star Wars like lasers to point out the night sky & each individual constellation’s shape. Everywhere is level access (great for wheelchairs) as only lit by dim red light, so steps would be a trip hazzard. Accessible facilities too, which are quite a novelty being off grid but kept perfectly clean & certainly NOT offensive. Highly recommend. Will certainly be going again on next visit.
No view but still very interesting.
Unfortunately nothing to see when we went. Although we did still learn a lot. The two guys were nice and very knowledgeable. Apart from the fact there was nothing to view, the real issue is the road to get there. I know this can’t be helped at all. What I will suggest is that if you’re going on an evening, head over to kielder early and see other things in the area. Or it’s a long way to go for a look at nothing if the clouds come. Will try again for on a clear evening.
Great Night Stargazing!
Mike_JPL, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom
Really enjoyed our informative and educational night here. Very friendly and knowledgeable staff. Well worth getting up and staying awake till the early morning. Will definitely return.
Enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff
Cody13_12, South Shields, United Kingdom
We attended one of the organised nights at the observatory. It began with a 45 minute talk/lecture about the universe and the man leading the talk was a great presenter. We then had a choice of hot chocolate, tea or coffee and then broke into three groups to go to different viewing areas. The staff guiding us when using the telescopes were really enthusiastic and happy to answer any questions. We managed to view Mars, Saturn and a great view of an almost full moon. We visited at the end of August and it felt frosty up at the observatory. Make sure you wrap up warm.