You don’t have to travel to the Atacama to enjoy spectacular stargazing – in the UK we have some of the best dark sky spots in the world right on our doorstep.
The small island of Sark, just east of Guernsey, made history when it was declared the first dark sky island in the world. Sark enjoys very little light pollution, thanks to a concerted effort by the 600 islanders to correct any visible home lighting and the fact that it is completely car free. Condor Breaks (www.condorbreaks.com; 01621 734111) offer three nights at La Sablonnerie Hotel on Sark Island from £459 per person, based on two sharing on bed and breakfast basis and includes return ferry from Portsmouth.
The Snowdonia International Dark Sky Reserve became the third of its kind in the UK when it was recognised for its unpolluted skies in December 2015. Armed with the necessary equipment, visitors can see the Milky Way, all major constellations, mesmerising nebulas and shooting stars. Located in the reserve, Moel y Geifr is a three-bedroom farmhouse with sweeping views across the Lleyn Peninsula and a telescope in the conservatory. Quality Cottages (www.qualitycottages.co.uk; 01348 837 871) offer seven nights at Moel y Geifr from £710, based on up to seven sharing on self-catering basis.
Carnewas & Bedruthan Steps
Carnewas & Bedruthan Steps is one of the most popular locations along the Cornish coastline thanks to the amazing stargazing opportunities this National Trust area has to offer. On a clear night, it is possible to see the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way from this Dark Sky Discovery spot on the coast of north Cornwall. Breaks in Cornwall (www.breaksincornwall.com; 01621 787704) offers three nights at the White Lodge Apartments in nearby Mawgan Porth from £255, based on two sharing on self-catering basis.
There are only 11 International Dark Sky Reserves in the world and Wales is the proud home of two of them – one being the Brecon Beacons. Located on the outskirts of the reserve is a private 3,000 acre estate surrounded by fields, which is home to the Maddle Brook Safari Tent. There are no other tents on the estate, so guests can admire the beautiful starry nights’ sky in total seclusion. Quality Unearthed (www.qualityunearthed.co.uk; 01348 830922) offers three nights at the Maddle Brook Safari Tent from £475, based on up to five people sharing on self-catering basis.
Sitting on the doorstep of the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park and surrounded by acres of open fields, Beacon Hill is one of the best places in the UK for stargazing. This area of protected night sky, just north of Newcastle, is the largest of its kind in Europe and Beacon Hill offers its own purpose built observatory, which guests can use free of charge. Premier Cottages (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01670 780900) offers four nights at Beacon Hill Farm Cottages from £392, based on up to four sharing on self-catering basis.
Text & photos provided by www.fourcornerspr.co.uk.