One of the (many) wonderful things about holing up in the country is the lack of pollution: air, sound and, most crucially, light. Suddenly, all of nature’s twinkling lights peep out from the darkness, and you can spot whole constellations – even planets sometimes. Chile’s Atacama Desert – with its high altitude, dry climate, and lack of pollution – is widely considered the world’s best stargazing destination, with the Northern Lights, Canary Islands, Namibia and Iceland all hot on Chile’s heels. If you’re looking for something a little closer to home, here are the best spots for stargazing in the UK.
Where To Go Stargazing In The UK
Isle of Skye, Scotland
Best For: Delicious food with a view
Foodies have been visiting The Three Chimneys in droves, but it’s also a lovely spot for stargazing in the UK. The ideal location on the Isle of Skye within one of Scotland’s designated Dark Skies areas makes for breathtaking sights during night walks after a delicious dinner, including the occasional aurora show.
BOOK: Double rooms from £380 per night. threechimneys.co.uk
County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
Best For: Glamping lovers
Situated in the foothills of County Tyrone’s Sperrin Mountains, Sperrinview is a glamp-site situated in one of Northern Ireland’s first Dark Sky sites. Each pod, sleeping up to five, is kitted out with a full equipped kitchenette and private bathroom, as well as its own private ‘window to the stars’. By day, explore the nearby Beaghmore Stone Circles and local walking and cycling trails; by night, gather round a crackling campfire watching stars shoot across the sky, or lie back in your private pod gazing through the dedicated viewing window.
BOOK: From £105 per pod per night. sperrinviewglamping.com
Blyth Rise Stays
Best For: Lakeside retreat
Situated in the heart of Suffolk, Blyth Rise is a collection of 12 adult-only, lakeside lodges and ‘igluhuts’, set across ten acres of replanted land, thriving with trees, shrubs and flora, providing an immersive countryside retreat ideal for stargazing. Much of the East Anglian countryside and Suffolk’s pretty towns are within reach – but you’ll want to make sure you’re back by nightfall to watch the stars emerge from your private terrace, wrapped in a cosy, recycled-wool blanket.
BOOK: From £445 for a three-night weekend or four-night mid-week stay. blythrisestays.co.uk
Best For: Beachfront stargazing
The Pierhouse offers a secluded beachfront retreat, situated close to the quaint fishing village of Port Appin. The remoteness reveals constellations, planets and galaxies in the night sky, with the added benefit of the dark waters of the loch reflecting the magnificence. Guests can take a kayak onto the water after sunset; you’ll feel like you’re scooping through the shimmering universe with each paddle.
County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
Best For: A sky full of stars
Finn Lough Resort in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh – only two hours from Belfast by car – plays host to bespoke, adults-only Stargazing Forest Domes. Featuring a four-poster bed, waterfall shower, vintage record player, underfloor heating and telescope inside, the domes resemble giant bubbles from the outside, with plenty of vantage points from which to gaze at the brilliant stars above.
BOOK: From £275 per night based on two people sharing, including breakfast. finnlough.com
Best For: National Park appreciation
If you’re a luxury lover but still want to try out stargazing in the UK, this one’s for you. Stay in the lap of luxury at The Grand in one of the UK’s loveliest cities, before zipping over to the North York Moors for some guided stargazing with Astronomer Richard Darn. The Grand even has a special package, with bookings on specific days to make the most of the Dark Skies region: head there on 14 February for a Valentines special.
BOOK: Dark Skies package from £305 per room per night based on two adults sharing, including breakfast, travel to the North York Moors and the guided stargazing experience, and a two-course meal at The Rise. thegrandyork.co.uk
Best For: An evening under the stars
Gleneagles – the iconic Perthshire hotel and estate – has introduced its ‘By The Lochan’ experience, allowing guests to soak up the incredible stars from a bespoke glass pod nestled into the countryside, following a self-guided walk through a winding nature trail. Enjoy dinner, whisky tastings, board games or simply a lie down as you gaze at the view.
Best For: Star spangled privacy
Head to Habitat Escapes’ Dorset estate, Silverlake, for contemporary privacy on the shoreline of Beaumont Lake. Stay in Driftwood to watch the twinkling stars from the chic roof terrace, or venture down to your private canoe launch platform to watch them glisten and shimmer in the mirror-like lake surface.
BOOK: Three nights in Driftwood from £1,119, sleeping up to eight across four bedrooms. habitatescapes.com
Featured Image: Silverlake Properties Dorset.