Winter is the perfect time to wrap up warm and head outdoors for a night time adventure and see the night sky in all its glory. Look up to the sky and see amazing constellations of stars, planets and galaxies – and if you;re lucky enough – the Northern Lights or a shooting star. Here are just some of the best locations to go star gazing in the Lake District, Cumbria before the next full moon rises…
Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre, nestled between Ennerdale and Buttermere in the Lake District, is an accredited Dark Sky Discovery site and offers one of the best locations in Cumbria to observe the natural beauty and wonder of the night sky. This remote, mountainous setting away from the bright lights of surrounding villages, enables gazers on a clear night to see endless, illuminated bands of twinkling stars across the spectacular night sky. With organised events twice a year for keen enthusiasts, you really will be in star gazing heaven at this dazzling location.
Kendal Castle overlooks the market town of Kendal and boasts a great spot for star gazing. From within the ruins of this Tudor home which dates back to around 1200 and sits on top of a traditional mote-style hill, this easy to reach location offers the chance for enthusiasts to get closer to the stars and see an array of constellations, star clusters and galaxies in the night sky whilst being surrounded by a little bit of history. See the moon and its spectacular craters and dark seas of ancient, frozen lava; the infamous rings of Saturn or the beautiful Milky way.
Grizedale Forest is an all year-round destination for lovers of both the great outdoors and awe inspiring sculptures. Grab your winter woollies for an evening of stargazing with local astronomer Robert Ince who will take you on an incredible journey through the constellations and along the Milky Way, whilst also showing you how to find all sorts of heavenly objects for yourself. You’ll also learn about our dark skies and see startling images and videos of the objects you may get to see when exploring under the stars.
Head away from the bright lights of towns and villages and up to Church Fell near Sizergh Castle where on a clear night before a full moon, you can see infamous constellations such as the Plough and Orion’s Belt. With the chance to also see meteor showers and fast moving streaks of light, this great vantage point overlooking the beautiful Lythe valley will really make you feel like you can grab the stars out of the sky! Just remember to take your binoculars and a warming hot toddy for after.
Blea Tarn in Great Langdale is a secluded mountain water that begs to be explored all times of day all throughout the year. A clear winters sky in this part of the national park is truly something to behold, as shooting stars, deep clusters and planets all twinkle against the backdrop of the dominating Langdale and Scafell mountain ranges to the north. Just a short drive from Elterwater and Chapel Stile, Blea Tarn is a spot worth visiting for an keen stargazer.