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The UK’s best stargazing destination has been crowned

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You didn’t need to be in the Arctic Circle to catch the northern lights last weekend (or this weekend), with plenty of keen viewers across the UK catching a glimpse of the celestial display. However, if you were busy, asleep, or in pretty much any well-lit place, you might not have been so lucky. 

Never fear. There are plenty of other astronomical phenomena to ogle from the UK – namely, the stars. Sure, they’re technically always there, but it can be hard to appreciate them in their full, sparkly glory, particularly if you’re a city-dweller (although London does have a handy couple of places). 

If you’re on the hunt for the UK’s best stargazing spot, well, Jessops has just the thing. The photography retailer has analysed the 19 dark sky reserves dotted up and down the country based on the number of stargazing events, locations and how much accommodation is on offer. 

Claiming the top spot was Northumberland Dark Sky Park, which according to the Metro boasts the most ‘pristine dark skies’ in England. 572 square miles of Northumberland National Park and a big chunk of Kielder Water and Forest Park became the Dark Sky Park back in 2013, and on a clear night you can see the Milky Way. How cool is that?

Surprisingly, the second best spot in the UK is in the notoriously light polluted south east. The spot between Arundel and Petworth is the darkest in the region, and was designated as South Downs Dark Sky Reserve in 2016. So, you don’t even have to head north to catch some stars! Have a look at the rest of the list below. 

The best places for stargazing in the UK

  1. Northumberland Dark Sky Park
  2. South Downs Dark Sky Reserve
  3. Exmoor Dark Sky Reserve
  4. North York Moors Dark Sky Reserve
  5. Yorkshire Dales Dark Sky Reserve
  6. Brecon Beacons Dark Sky Reserve
  7. Cranborne Chase Dark Sky Reserve
  8. Bodmin Moor Dark Sky Landscape
  9. Elan Valley Dark Sky Park
  10. Snowdonia Dark Sky Reserve

Star struck

It’s a bit of a relief to know you don’t have to travel far and wide to catch some starry skies – a separate study even found that the best stargazing spot in the whole world is right here in the UK, and you can read more about that here

Did you see that a brand-new steam train museum has opened in Wales?

Plus: This charming seaside town has been named the UK’s best holiday destination right now

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