Where to Find the Best UK Campsites for Stargazing

Tue 22 August, 2017

Camping and stargazing are two activities that go together perfectly. If you haven’t done any stargazing before, your next camping trip could be the perfect time to start. Our camping stargazing guide will tell you all you need to know, from fun stargazing camping breaks to where to find dark skies campsites and organised stargazing events. 

What You Need For Successful Stargazing Camping Breaks

If you plan to sleep under the stars, either in a tent or caravan, you should choose dark skies campsites for the most rewarding stargazing experience. Getting away from light pollution caused by city light, roads and other sources of artificial light allows you to see far more stars than you ever knew existed. You may even see shooting stars or a meteor shower!

You need a comfortable chair or sleeping bag, binoculars or a telescope, bug spray and some drinks and snacks if you are planning a long session. Downloadable smartphone apps such as SkyViewFree or SkyMap are very useful for identifying different planets and stars. 

You'll also need to stay at one of the many dark skies campsites around the UK. 

Where to Find UK Campsites for Stargazing

Dark skies campsites are the best camping spots for stargazing and they can be found all over the UK. We have suggested some great camping locations for stargazing below; and you'll probably meet other stargazing enthusiasts at these recommended campsites.

Stargazing Campsites near Galloway Forest Park 

Galloway Forest Park was the first Dark Sky Park and offers some excellent camping locations for stargazing from campsites nearby. These include:

Barrhill Holiday Park surrounded by farmland and woods

Auchenlaire Holiday Park with camping, caravan sites and luxury glamping overlooking Wigton Bay 

Whitecairn Caravan Park has luxury lodges with hot tubs only 30 minutes from Galloway Forest Park

Stargazing Campsites near Northumberland International Dark Sky Park

The Northumberland International Dark Sky Park is the largest in Europe and includes Kielder Observatory, a top family-friendly attraction for those enjoying stargazing camping breaks. It organises a program of astronomical activities in this sparsely populated area, which has the clearest night skies for stargazing.

Dark skies campsites in this area include:

Herding Hill Farm Caravan and Camping Site near Hadrian's Wall. The site even has its own information page on Stargazing events

Leekworth Glamping in the special Stargazer Lotus Belle Tent near Teesdale

Stargazing Campsites near Snowdonia

Stunning scenery is a given for those camping in Snowdonia, which is also an International Dark Sky Reserve. Several campsites and caravan parks offer excellent camping locations for stargazing opportunities. These include:

Ty-Isaf Caravan and Camping Park near Bala Lake

Ty Hen on Anglesey, 30 minutes' drive from Snowdonia National Park

Manorafon Farm Touring and Camping Site on the North Wales coast near Rhyl,30 minutes' drive from Snowdonia

Llyn Rhys Campsite near the Coed Llandegla Forest, another dark skies campsitean hour from Snowdonia

Abbey Farm Caravan Park, a beautiful area near Llangollen for camping, glamping and stargazing

Stargazing Campsites near the Brecon Beacons

Campsites in South Wales are within reach of the rugged Brecon Beacons National Park, one of the UK's International Dark Sky Reserves. You can spend the day on one of the beautiful beaches, explore the lovely city of Cardiff or one of the fishing harbours around Tenby and then head off to the Brecon Beacons after dark for some rewarding stargazing.

Stargazing Campsites near Exmoor

Exmoor National Park has a good choice of camping spots for stargazing and is another official Dark Sky Reserve. One of the best is Watermouth Cove Holiday Park, right on the coast near Ilfracombe. It provides easy access for stargazing on Exmoor, just 15-20 minutes' drive away.

Stargazing Campsites near the South Downs

If you are looking for stargazing campsites in Southeast England, the South Downs National Park is the place to head for. Sumners Ponds Fishery Campsite makes a great base for stargazing and the shepherd's huts are ideal for glamping. 

Stargazing events at Dark Skies Campsites

Many popular UK campsites for stargazing have their own special events which are worth including in your stargazing camping breaks. Along with Northumberland International Dark Sky Park events mentioned above, HawWood Farm Caravan Park in Suffolk has family stargazing weekend for budding astronomers and an Astronomers Week in October 2017. There's also a host of Dark Skies Festivals with plenty of camping spots for stargazing nearby.

More stargazing info and ideas for planning your next stargazing camping breaks can also be found on the National Trust website.