Best stargazing spots

You’ll have no doubt heard that in 2020, the North York Moors National Park and Yorkshire Dales National Park are now nationally recognised Dark Sky Reserves. This is very exciting news!

We’ve known for a long time just how beautiful the skies over our heads are, and now we’ve been recognised as some of the best places to look up and see the universe in action!

So, if you’re a budding star gazer or an astronomical expert, you’ll want to add these star gazing spots to your list of must-visits.

milky way over trees

What is a Dark Sky Reserve?

A Dark Sky Reserve is an area of the UK that has very little light pollution and artificial lights within it. This lack of light means it’s a place where you can go to really appreciate the wonder of the night sky, uninterrupted by pollution from human habitation.

Dark Skies in the North York Moors

There are lots of places you can see beautiful skies in the North York Moors National Park. The two National Park Centres at Danby and Sutton Bank, as well as the Dalby Observatories in Dalby Forest are Milky Way class Dark Sky Discovery Sites.

You can also get incredible views of the night sky at the Bruce Observatory in Whitby, the Yorkshire Arboretum in the Howardian Hills AONB, and Rosedale Chimney Bank.

Dark Skies in the Yorkshire Dales

There are lots of places you can star gaze in the Yorkshire Dales. There are four spots that we want to recommend for safe, easy star gazing though: Hawes National Park Centre, Malham National Park Centre, Buckden National Car Park, and Tan Hill Inn.

northern lights over the Yorkshire Dales

What might you see?

The night sky holds so many wonders and you’ll be able to see them all at our wonderful star gazing spots! You’ll be able to see all kinds of astronomical wonders when you come star gazing in Yorkshire. You’re able to see the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy – the furthest object you can see with the naked eye.

You’ll certainly be able to see plenty of stars and planets when you look up – but identifying them can be tricky. There are lots of amazing guides and apps you can use to help with this! You’ll also be able to see the International Space Station as it passes overhead on it’s orbit.

The moon is something we’re all familiar with seeing! You can get some incredible moon sightings, especially during full and super moons. But for the best star gazing in Yorkshire, you’ll want to plan your trip when the moon is at its smallest so it’s not dominating the sky.

If you’re really lucky and the conditions are just right, you might even get to see the meteor showers and even the Aurora Borealis – the Northern Lights.

Will you be coming to one of our star gazing spots? Send us your pictures on Twitter if you do! And, don’t forget to check out the Dark Sky Festival that runs each February.