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When darkness falls this winter, lace up those dusty walking boots, don the thermals and step out into the inky night to enjoy a mosey beneath the twinkling canopy of stars that litter our enchanting night sky. The UK is blessed with some of the darkest and most sought-after skies in Europe, including two specially-appointed Dark Sky Reserves within the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Exmoor National Park.
Due to the popularity of our previous stargazing post, which pays homage to three of the country’s leading astronomy hotspots, we thought it wise to pick up where this starry-eyed post left off and touch upon a few of the UK’s other top destinations for stargazing. After all, a mere 10% of the UK’s population has access to a fully-fledged, velvet-black night sky, with the rest being subject to the uninspiring glow of street lighting night after night.
Here at Sykes Cottages, we want to change all that, and to prove it, we’ve come up with another helpful guide on where to find the best stretches of dark sky in the UK. A stargazing holiday is a great way to spend time with loved ones, so embrace the darkness and rediscover the beauty of the night sky this winter with Sykes Cottages.
The Lake District may seem an obvious choice of destination for enjoying all things small and twinkling, and you’re right, it is. The region’s protected landscape ensures that the night’s sky remains admirably free from pesky light pollution, and gives visitors the chance to crane their necks and enjoy the sparkling heavens wherever they may be. That said there are a few specific spots within this treasured National Park that are a cut above the rest when it comes to admiring the wonders of the night sky. Grizedale Forest, located on the fringes of both Lake Windermere and Coniston Water, offers inspiring nocturnal vistas, and is ideally placed for spotting the seasonal constellations of Pegasus, Cassiopeia and The Plough. And the same can be said of Friar’s Crag, a headland jutting into the tranquil Derwentwater, which provides the ideal place for an evening beneath the shimmering heavens.
Another wild and wonderful portion of Northern England which boasts supreme stargazing credentials is the North York Moors, an area of intense rural beauty in the outer reaches of North Yorkshire. Along with its heather peppered peaks and dramatic heritage coast, the North York Moors is also famed for its wide, imposing skies, which prove a sanctuary for stars when the sun goes down. Experience this nightly spectacle for yourself within the ancient pine woodlands of Dalby Forest, or atop the craggy cliffs near Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay. Or, take a stroll beyond the limits of the popular North Yorkshire town of Helmsley, and embrace the night’s sky within the shadow of the tranquil ruin of Rievaulx Abbey; the perfect backdrop to a stargazing break in Yorkshire.
Looking for a glimpse of the cosmos down South? Unfortunately, much of Southern England is plagued by light pollution due to the expansive metropolis of London and its surrounding urban sprawl. But fear not for there are a few places where the night sky can still be seen in all its astronomical glory. Head to any of the unpopulated areas of Devon or Cornwall and you’ll find plenty of exposed blackness to aim your telescope at. Indeed, the arresting Bodmin Moor proves as beautiful by night as it does by day, and the Lizard Peninsula reveals miles of stunning Cornish coastline with nothing but the moon and the stars to illuminate this stirring panorama.
If you feel inspired to give astronomy a go, why not book a stargazing break in the UK with Sykes Cottages? We’ve hundreds of cosy cottages throughout North Yorkshire, Cornwall and the Lake District, many of which include private gardens making them ideal for an enchanting evening of star spotting. Plus, our winter short breaks make it easy and affordable to enjoy an impromptu weekend beneath the stars, so visit our website and find your perfect holiday cottage today!
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