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Best dark sky spots for stargazing (and where to stay nearby)

Escape the bright lights of the city and marvel at the vast expanse of stars above in the UK’s best dark sky spots. If you normally glance skyward from a suburban back garden you’ll be amazed at the difference a lack of light pollution makes. On clear nights you can see constellations, meteor showers, and even the Northern Lights on occasion. Awe-inspiring spectacles deserve to be witnessed from unique accommodation, so book one of our remote glamping places for a front-row seat to the celestial displays. To make the most of your trip, check out our seasonal stargazing tips from astrophysicist, Dr Becky.

Ty-Twt in Snowdonia

Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park in North Wales is one of only 18 International Dark Sky Reserves in the world, and on clear nights you’re likely to see nebulas, shooting stars and major constellations. Stay at Ty-Twt cabin where the rocking chair on the deck is the best place to start and finish each day — sipping coffee in the morning and stargazing by night. In between, dangle your feet in the river that runs below the cabin, whip up al fresco feasts in the wood-fired pizza oven and get stuck into the collection of board games and musical instruments. The local scenery is spectacular with endless outdoor adventures including bike rental, long hikes in the Snowdonian wilderness and canoeing trips. Take a look at more stargazing cabins in Wales.

 Ty Twt cabin with outdoor seating
 Ty Twt outdoor evening with dog

Raven Tower in Northumberland

The skies feel bigger in Northumberland’s vast, expansive landscape. Northumberland National Park and most of Kielder Water & Forest Park became England’s first International Dark Sky Park in 2013. In these perfect conditions it’s possible to see the Andromeda Galaxy (2.5 million light years away) with the naked eye. Sleepover in style at Raven Tower, a four-storey feat of design, with a retracting star-gazing roof above a huge wooden bathtub. The owners even provide a complete stargazing kit to guide you on your celestial adventures. When the sun’s out and you’re ready to explore, head out on walking trails through Hesleyside’s ancient woodlands or visit Hadrian’s Wall and Alnwick Gardens.

Raven Tower at night in woods
Raven Tower inside skylight

Shepherd’s Rest in Yorkshire

Local residents of Yorkshire’s national parks take for granted that they’ll look up at night and see the brilliance of the Milky Way or a meteorite streaking across the sky. The Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors are now an International Dark Sky Reserve, which also means extra protection for nocturnal wildlife. Blend in with the natural landscape — and the multitude of sheep — in peaceful seclusion with a stay at Shepherd’s Rest, a cosy hut run on solar power. The minimal lighting means the stars look beautifully bright. Go for long hikes on the moors, pop into The Fox and Hounds in Ainsthorpe for a hearty meal then come back to stargaze from the hot tub.

Shepherd’s Rest
Shepherd’s Rest

Skylark in Exmoor

Escape to the Devon countryside in Exmoor, Europe’s first dark sky reserve. The whole area is so geared up for stargazing that you can hire telescopes year round from the National Park Centres of Dunster, Dulverton and Lynmouth. Stay in rustic luxury in the heart of the wild at Skylark, a cabin with a stargazing skylight over the king-size raised bed. There’s a big squishy sofa strewn with sheepskin throws, a cosy wood burner and a deep outdoor tub on the veranda. Spend invigorating days earning those relaxing evenings with walks along the south-west coastal path, visits to the beach at Woolacombe and kayaking excursions at Combe Martin Bay.

skylark with firepit and outdoor seating
outdoor bath with view

The Snug in Brecon Beacons

Gaze out into the far reaches of the universe from the Brecon Beacons National Park, a huge area dotted with Dark Sky Discovery Sites. If you’re a budding astrophotographer, look out for events at the Libanus Mountain Centre where experienced astronomers sometimes run workshops packed to help you hone your skills. Stay on the edge of the National Park at The Snug, a stylish shepherd’s hut with a wood burner, beautifully appointed kitchen and fairy lit outdoor copper tub. There are walking trails in every direction or you can admire the scenery from the tranquillity of a boat trip along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. End each relaxing day with a feast at the table by the firepit in the field, then wait for the sun to set and the stars to appear.

The Snug  firepit and outdoor seating
The Snug outdoor bath area with fairy lights

The Roundhouse in Cornwall

It’s an otherworldly experience at The Roundhouse in Cornwall where the lack of light pollution means you can spot shooting stars and The Milky Way while relaxing by the firebowl. For an even better view of the vast sky, take a moonlit walk up Mulfra Hill with your telescope. It’s hard to believe the modern world still exists when you’re sleeping in an Iron Age Roundhouse built around a living tree. It’s little clues, like the Egyptian cotton sheets and duck down duvet, that act as pleasant reminders of the glamping luxury that complements the ancient woodland site. A visit to Bodrifty Iron Age Village is a must as is a hike across the moors to one of the many incredible beaches of West Penwith.

The Roundhouse at night with starry sky
The Roundhouse fire bowl