Dark Sky Camping: Best Enchanting Stargazing Spots in the UK
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10+ Enchanting Stargazing Spots in the UK

Escape from city lights and camp out under a starry night sky on your next camping trip. You’ll get the chance to see glimmering stars in the dark sky, various constellations and, if you’re lucky, planets in the far distance.

Here are some of the best locations for stargazing in the UK and our local campsites, where you can enjoy a night of camping under the dark sky.

  1. Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog) National Park
  2. Brecon Beacons National Park night sky, Wales

    Wales’ first International Dark Sky Reserve, the Brecon Beacons National Park is a dramatic mountain range stretching across South Wales. The local community works tirelessly to ensure the region’s light pollution is minimal, allowing for clear views of the starry night-time sky.

    The Brecon Beacons’ best spots for stargazing include the Usk Reservoir, Llanthony Prior and Crai Reservoir. Look up at the sky and keep an eye out for the Milky Way, bright nebulas, meteor showers and major constellations.

    Nearest campsite: Rhandirmwyn Club Site.

    Click here for more campsites in the Brecon Beacons.

  3. Elan Valley
  4. Elan Valley night sky in Wales

    Achieving Dark Sky Park status in 2015, Elan Valley is a breath-taking vale of man-made reservoirs. Nestled among the rugged Cambrian Mountains, the Elan Valley International Dark Sky Park is a fantastic location to pitch up your tent and gaze at the stars.

    Over 45,000 acres of the Elan Valley is protected by law against light pollution, providing sanctuary for an abundance of wildlife and nature. For the best stargazing views, head to Claerwen Dam, Craig Goch, Pont Ar Elan or Teifi Pools.

    Nearest campsite: Wyeside Club Site.

    Click here for more campsites in Powys.

  5. Exmoor National Park
  6. Exmoor National Park night sky in Devon

    Awarded Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve in 2011, the Exmoor National Park is a diverse area of untamed moorland in North Devon. The area’s sparse population makes for some of the darkest skies in the UK - on a clear night, the naked eye can see over 3,000 stars!

    The Exmoor Dark Sky Reserve covers over 32 square miles, including some fantastic stargazing locations, such as Holdstone Hill, County Gate, Brendon Two Gates and Haddon Hill.

    Nearest campsite:

    Click here for more campsites in Devon.

  7. Galloway Forest Park
  8. Night sky in Galloway Forest Park, Scotland

    In 2009, Scotland’s Galloway Forest Park not only became the UK’s first Dark Sky Park, but it was also the world’s very first Dark Sky Park. Today, over 300 square miles of tranquil valleys, jagged rock faces and heather-clad hills fall within the Gold Tier Dark Skies Park.

    Pitch your tent on the edge of this ancient, secluded woodland, and gaze at the arching Milky Way and over 7,000 stars and planets. Visit one of the three visitor centres at Glentrool, Kiroughtree or Clatteringshaws for the best views in the forest.

    Nearest campsite: Culzean Castle Club Site.

    Click here for more campsites in Scotland.

  9. North Pennines AONB
  10. North Pennines night sky

    Designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1988, the North Pennines has more Dark Sky Discovery Sites than anywhere else in the UK.

    Whilst visiting, you can see the observatory at Allenheads Contemporary Arts, learn about the local astronomical community and marvel at the Milky Way and the constellation of Orion.

    Nearest campsite:

    Click here for more campsites in County Durham.

  11. Northumberland National Park
  12. Night sky in the Northumberland National Park

    Unveiled as an International Dark Sky Park in December 2013, the Northumberland National Park is over 1,000 square kilometres of sloping valleys, glistening lakes and fascinating history. The national park is also home to Europe’s largest area of protected night sky, with over 572 square miles of clear, starry skies.

    Having been awarded Gold Tier standard by the International Dark-Sky Association, the Northumberland National Park is officially the best place to stargaze in England. Marvel at over 2,000 stars at any one time, the furthest of which is Andromeda Galaxy, over 2,500,000 light-years away.

    Nearest campsite:

    Click here for more campsites in Northumberland.

  13. North York Moors National Park
  14. Saltburn night sky in the North York Moors

    Home to three Dark Skies Discovery Sites, the North York Moors National Park compiles remote dales, moors and forests. On a clear night, pitch your tent in the national park, camp beneath the starry sky and watch as the iridescent Northern Lights dance above you.

    According to respected astronomer Richard Darn, the North East’s dry climate and uninterrupted horizons make the stretch of coastline between Saltburn and Scarborough the perfect location for stargazing.

    Nearest campsite:

    Click here for more campsites in Yorkshire.

  15. Snowdonia (Eryri) National Park
  16. Night sky over Snowdonia National Park, Wales

    Awarded Wales’ second Dark Sky Reserve status in December 2015, the Snowdonia National Park covers 800, thinly populated, square miles of North Wales. Pitch your tent in this national park and look out for iconic constellations such as Orion the Hunter, Gemini, the Seven Sisters and the Square of Pegasus.

    Everywhere in Snowdonia offers clear, starry skies, but for the best views, head to Llyn y Dywarchen, Tŷ Cipar or Bwlch y Groes. The Dark-Sky Association, based in Arizona, have been incredibly impressed with Wales’ commitment to protecting its skies, stating: “Wales now leads the world in the percentage of its territory enjoying protected status for its night skies”.

    Nearest campsite:

    Click here for more campsites in Snowdonia.

  17. South Downs National Park
  18. South Downs National Park night sky

    Becoming a Dark Sky Reserve in May 2016, the South Downs National Park is home to beautiful rolling landscapes and clear, dark, gloomy skies. This is a great starry night sky to visit if you're camping in London and want to escape from the brightly lit capital. For the clearest stargazing views, head to Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium, Bignor Hill, Devil’s Dyke or Buriton. There are approximately 2,700 streetlights in the South Downs; local authorities are now gradually replacing these to comply with Dark Sky standards.

    Nearest campsite:

    Click here for more campsites in Sussex.

  19. Yorkshire Dales National Park
  20. Yorkshire Dales night sky

    With four designated Dark Sky Discovery Sites, the Yorkshire Dales National Park is a fantastic place to pitch your tent if you want to sleep beneath the stars. Watch daylight turn to night as over 2,000 stars and planets hang down from the night sky.

    If the conditions are good and the activity is right, you may catch one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders in the Northern Lights. Also, keep an eye out for the International Space Station, travelling overhead at over 17,000mph. In the Yorkshire Dales, you’re always guaranteed a starry sky, however for the best views, pay a trip to Hawes, the Malham National Park Centres or the Tan Hill Inn.

    Nearest campsite:

    Click here for more campsites in the Yorkshire Dales.

  21. Cranborne Chase AONB
  22. stars in night sky

    The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was first designated in October 2019 as the 14th International Dark Sky Reserve. More than 50% of Cranborne Chase has some of the lowest levels of light pollution found in England, making it the perfect spot for stargazing.

    Onlookers will get stunning panoramic views of the night sky, including the prominent summits of Breeze Hill, Win Green and Melbury Hill.

    Nearest campsite:

    Click here for more campsites in Dorset.

Looking for more camping inspiration? Check out our discover page to find more fun activities to do in the UK.

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