If you’re looking for a destination that will provide you with a fabulous getaway from the trials of daily life, how about going somewhere you can see the stars in all their glory?
Thanks to their distance away from light polluted towns and cities, these rural settings not only have incredible scenery, they also allow you to see spectacular sights once the sun has gone down.
It is estimated that over 90% of the population here in the UK live under a highly polluted sky – with glow from streetlights obscuring the view of the stars. So, we’ve done some research and found Country Living’s top destinations where you can discover the night sky.
So if you want rediscover your sense of awe and wonder, one of these destinations could be for you – and from Sweden to Scotland, some are closer than you might think!
The Abiskpo Sky Station in the Kiruna area of Swedish Lapland has a climate that provides clear skies at night, making for perfect stargazing conditions. Constellations can see from any point in the village and there are lodges, campsites and treehouses giving you the best possible views. You can even take a cable car ride up to the Aurora Sky Station, built by the Institute of Space Physics, where you can enjoy a meal under the colourful Aurora.
The Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales is an International Dark Sky Reserve, protected for its scientific, educational and cultural enjoyment. As such, the community here ensures that light pollution is minimised. This area boasts some of the highest quality dark skies in the whole of the UK and you can see the Milky Way, bright nebulas and meteor showers from here.
This may be a little too far away from us here in Scotland, but this lush volcanic island is surrounded by incredible skies due to its isolation. In fact, the closest land mass is over 1,800 km away and from here you can even see the Southern Lights. The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve has four telescopes and experts are on hand to educate visitors on the night sky.
There are many Dark Sky Discovery sites here in Scotland and given the remoteness of many of our islands and peninsulas you can see some breathtaking sights. The Northern Lights can be seen from Skye, Shetland and Orkney and a trip to Argyll on The Waverley will allow you to combine this fabulous trip with the sweeping stars above.
This is one of the most baron areas in the world, with just 1mm of rain per annum. The skies are cloudless here so it’s a great place to star gaze. In fact, the world’s largest telescope is located here.
This international Dark Sky Reserve is located in the Southern French Pyrénées. The Pic du Midi observatory can be reached by cable car and contains an educational area. The planetarium is the highest of its kind in Europe. You can stay here and visit