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
Aurora Night in June!
SaffyDog, Caythorpe, United Kingdom
Had wanted to visit last year but was fully booked when I tried. So as soon as I knew we were going to be in the area I booked our spaces. Starts with a long drive up a single track road, which was fine for us going up although one of the other guests did meet a car coming down. ( We we were due to leave at 2330 someone had held the vehicles arriving for the next session, down in the bottom parking area until everyone had driven down, which was a relief.) Stunning views from the viewing platform. The staff were all friendly, informative and knowledgeable. Aurora Talk was really interesting and we now know what to and where to look to find out the likely hood of seeing the Aurora. ( Sadly we are in a bit of a lul at the moment for the next 4-5 years) We did get to see the moon as it dodged in and out of the clouds, but then it disappeared altogether. We also got to see Jupiter and its moons. Refreshments are served too, go for the hot chocolate it is yummy. Make sure you wrap up warmly, even in the summer as it can be quite chilly, even in June! Will certainly be returning to learn more in the future.
alanbrown63, Thornaby on Tees, United Kingdom
This was our second visit to Kielder Observatory as a gift from a colleague as they knew how much we loved our previous visit in 2017. This time we attended an aurora night. I realise this time of year the skies arent dark, nor were we going to be able to see the northern lights. However the lack of professionalism and honesty in the event we attended was incomprehensible given our experience of our last visit here. The young, seemingly inexperienced and unapproachable staff were clearly unprepared for a cloudy night. The event felt hectic and unorganised. On arrival, we were given a brief introduction to the nights event by Dan who proceeded to then tell us even if it was clear we wouldn't see the Northern Lights, if so then what have I paid for? We were then subjected to death by powerpoint and as the presentation wore on it became clear it was more about Dan than his guests. We got to see the telescopes which was interesting but the best observatory seemed to be nothing more than a cafe! The staff led by Dan, continually whispered to one another and giggled during talks and tours. This felt more like a student union than the observatory I once visited. They seem to have had a change of staff since we last visited, can't remember the guys name but he was a lot older with long hair and he knew how to hold his audience and delivered a fascinating evening which is what we hoped we'd get this time around. Unfortunately not, however. In summary, what a difference two years has made. Boring, unorganised and a waste of our time, not to mention vastly overpriced. Won't be returning anytime soon.
Still as good as ever
John_Lickman, Harlow, United Kingdom
I've been to the Observatory twice before. It's as excellent as ever. Alas, this time the weather closed in and we had rain and low cloud all night, so there was no stare gazing. However, the lectures were as engaging and entertaining as ever. We arrived at 8pm and didn't leave until nearly midnight because we were so engrossed with the subjects discussed. Even my wife, who had no interest in astronomy, prior to this visit was completely enthralled by the evening.
Kielder Observatory - I Will Never Look at the Night Sky in the Same Way Again
915janetg, County Durham, United Kingdom
My husband and I visited the Kielder Observatory in May, 2019 after being gifted the visit from our son and his girlfriend after they’d enjoyed a recent visit there. The presentations by the Astro Physicists are fascinating and the samples and displays are amazing. There were a number of children present also who enjoyed it. The whole evening, which lasts approximately three hours is very well organised with refreshments served. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening and I will never look at the stars in the same way again! Well done Kielder Observatory and thank you.
Scottfamily456, Goole, United Kingdom
The night we booked in early May was unfortunateley cloudy so no telescope time.The time passed so quickly though with three presentations from the young Astro phycisists with some interesting material to look at touch and listen to.Very informative and thought provoking.One thing to remember is you will need a torch as this is designated dark sky you cannot see two feet in front of you in the dark.