Milky Way over Exmoor National Park

Top Places for Stargazing in the UK

If you love looking up at the night sky and picking out constellations, base your next luxury cottage stay at one of the top places for stargazing in the UK. That jaw-drop moment you get from seeing a truly dark sky that’s studded with millions of stars, is remembered forever.

You can stargaze at any time of year, but autumn and winter bring longer nights so are  fantastic for a stargazing escape. Whether you want to watch from inside or outside, as part of a guided group or prefer to be a solo star seeker, we have plenty of inspiration for you.

We have cottages in or near areas with minimal light pollution, plus cottages well located to enjoy some of the UK’s Dark Sky Festival events.

The exterior of Hooting Owl Retreat, Somerset


Exmoor National Park is a Dark Sky Reserve, making it one of the top places in the UK for stargazing. The vast, open countryside and low light pollution means that on clear nights it’s possible to see the Milky Way with the naked eye. However, you can hire a telescope from the national park centres at Dunster, Dulverton and Lynmouth.

There is plenty of information available to help you explore including a free astronomer’s guide and a dedicated Exmoor Dark Sky Discovery Trail. If you’d prefer to stargaze on an organised event, there are bookable activities with experts and some of the best are held during the annual Exmoor Dark Skies Festival. In 2023, the event is from 13th to 29th October.

Where to stay? Hooting Owl Retreat and Red Deer Escape (sleep 2) are luxury shepherd’s huts set in secluded spots in Exmoor, while Sunset Barn (sleeps 8) is a stylish barn conversion for two. All have hot tubs to stargaze from for a magical evening.


With nearly 580 square miles of protected dark sky space, the Northumberland and Kielder Water and Forest International Dark Sky Park is another of the top places in the UK for stargazing. In fact, it has gold tier status and it can be so dark that the Milky Way can be seen and even Jupiter can create shadows.

Kielder Observatory is a key place to explore the night sky in depth in Northumberland. Access is for ticket holders only, so check out the events page and book a family-friendly activity, an introduction to the night sky or a themed event such as constellations. In addition, a Northumberland Dark Skies Festival is usually held in February.

Where to stay? Hadrian’s Lodge (sleeps 10) offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the starry sky from the living area or outside on the patio.

A bedroom window seat at Dolly Cottage, Yorkshire

North York Moors

North York Moors is a Dark Sky Reserve that offers fantastic clear horizons and is one of the top places in the UK for stargazing if you want to observe meteor showers and the Milky Way.

Whitby is a great base. Fill up on some of the town’s famous fish and chips before your stargazing session from vantage points near the coastal cliffs. Plus, the Bruce Observatory is located here and runs events by the Whitby Astronomical Society. Meanwhile, there are Dark Sky Discovery Sites including Danby Lodge in the countryside.

North York Moors Dark Skies Festivals are a fantastic time to visit and take part in activities. There’s the October Half Term Fringe Festival from 27th October to 5th November 2023 and the annual dark Skies Festival in February.

Where to stay? Our Whitby cottages offer stylish accommodation to suit couples, families or friends and are well located for exploring the North York Moors National Park.

The exterior of Shepherd's View, Lake District

Lake District

The Lake District is famed for its dark skies and offers plenty of vantage points for stargazing. Reflective lakes, forests and of course valleys and fell tops, make Cumbria one of the most romantic stargazing settings.

Grizedale Forest, close to both the popular Windermere and Coniston lakes, is easily accessible by car and the visitor centre hosts indoor and outdoor stargazing events.

Visit during the annual Cumbria Dark Skies Festival, held from 28th October to 18th November 2023, for everything from self-led planet discovery activities and night-time star searching walks in the forest to dark skies photography lessons.

Where to stay? The Shippon Cottage, Shepherd’s View and Twitchers Cottage (all sleep 2) and Kirkstone and The Old Grain Store (both sleep 4) are boutique-style properties at Mirefoot where use of stargazing equipment is available on request.

The private lawned garden with rattan furniture at Tinkers Folly, Yorkshire

Yorkshire Dales

It’s back to Yorkshire again – this time to go star spotting in the dramatic Yorkshire Dales. Designated as a Dark Sky Reserve, this famous national park runs an annual Dark Skies Festival (from 9th to 25th February in 2024) which is a great time for a luxury stargazing escape. There’s usually everything from guided night-time bike tours to torchlight hikes.

There are four Dark Sky Discovery Sites in the Yorkshire Dales – at Hawes and Malham Visitor Centres, and Buckden and Tan Hill Inn. The Northern Lights and the International Space Station have been spotted from the Yorkshire Dales, along with fantastic displays of meteor showers, planets and a host of stars.

Where to stay? Tinkers Folly (sleeps 10) is a gorgeous farmhouse set on a working farm on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. With vast countryside views and a private garden with hot tub and fire pit, it’s the perfect place to wish upon a star.

Isle of Anglesey

Much of Wales’ Isle of Anglesey has a remote feel, with vistas across the Irish Sea and untamed countryside inland. That’s why much of it enjoys dark skies and the constellations and meteor showers here can be amazing.

There are a few spots in particular that are good places to stargaze, including Penmon Point which is popular with astrophotographers, while the village of Llangaffo is a Dark Sky Discovery Site.

You can simply pick a cottage in the middle of the countryside or near a quiet stretch of coast and see what you can see on a clear night. However, if you wish to coincide your stay with The Welsh Dark Skies Week, it takes place annually, usually in February.

Where to stay? The Lookout at Ynys Law (sleeps 8) located on Holy Island. It’s a luxurious coastal home with panoramic views over the Irish Sea.

The bar at Ashwood Shepherd's Hut, Worcestershire

Malvern Hills

The Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a fantastic place for stargazing thanks to little pollution and it has two Dark Sky Discovery Sites.

Where to stay? For a romantic break where you can gaze up at the night sky we have two luxury shepherd’s huts that are particularly perfect. Ashwood Shepherd’s Hut features a handcrafted roll-top bath and an outdoor bar, while The Shepherd’s Retreat offers the opportunity to stargaze from the comfort of the luxurious outdoor bath.

Both shepherd’s huts are located in the Worcestershire countryside and offer countryside views with walking routes from the doorstep.

The decking outside of the igluhut at Orchard Snug, Somerset


Somerset is an excellent place for stargazing. For starters, part of Exmoor National Park lies in the county (see above). Then, there are the stunning landscapes and dark rural skies above the Quantock Hills, the Mendips, Cranborne Chase and the Somerset Levels.

Where to stay? Orchard Snug and Windmill Old Orchard (sleep 2) in the Somerset Levels are both beautiful shepherd’s huts with countryside views and private hot tubs, ideal for a spot of leisurely stargazing.

Plus, they are a short drive from the village of Othery, home to the Somerset Levels Stargazers club, so you’re definitely in a good spot.

The exterior of The Mill, Cornwall


As if you needed a reason to visit the Cornish coast, anyway, but by night there are some beautiful and peaceful spots, perfect for stargazing. There are two Dark Sky Discovery Sites, the National Trust’s Carnewas at Bedruthan and St Agnes Head, plus other popular stargazing spots including West Penwith and the Lizard Peninsula.

Where to stay? We think that the coastal properties of Salt Water Two Bed Beach House, Sunset Three Bed Beach House and Seashell Four bed Beach House make a good base because the night sky is incredible and telescopes, suitable for beginners, can be hired by the night, so you can stay put.

Or how about The Mill set on a working farm in the countryside near Padstow? Here, evenings under clear skies can be spent stargazing from the comfort of the cottage or garden beside the fire pit.

Starry Sky Over The Lake District

Tips for stargazing

Allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness: It can take 20 minutes.

Use red light: A torch with a red filter helps keep your eyes adjusted.

Wrap up warm: Pack a coat, hat, gloves and even a blanket. Don’t forget a flask of something hot and a few snacks too.

Bring your binoculars: Get that slightly closer look.

Download a stargazing app: Have the ability to identify the stars above at your fingertips.

Check the dates for new moons: A new moon means the sky is at its darkest, ideal for stargazing.

Find a Dark Sky Discovery Site: These designated areas for stargazing are open to everyone.

Stay safe: Stargaze from your cottage or join an organised event. If you decide to plan your own stargazing activity, research the locations before travelling so you know what to expect and follow all safety advice.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about any of our cottages or if you’d like some help with your booking, you are very welcome to get in touch with us.

We are always happy to help and go out of our way to tailor your perfect UK holiday.

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