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UK Holiday location


stumids
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Hi All

Due to having a 16 month old and another on the way come Christmas, I'm looking to book a week (or two) somewhere in the UK (gone are the days of Vegas :p). I plan to take my scope with me and was hoping for some suggestions/feedback of places you have stayed so I can narrow my search.

Obviously Galloway seems the perfect place due to 'dark sky' status but may be a bit far to drive with a little one in the back causing havoc. I like it down Devon/Cornwall and am keen to give Exmoor region a go but am completely open to your suggestions of anywhere you've been specifically for astronomy or a place you've visited and wished you'd packed the scope!

All suggestions greatly appreciated :D

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Central highlands if you can manage the drive. Somewhere around Stirling perhaps. Great sky if clear and an easy (But long) run (M6 - M74)

Or how about the Peak district or Lake district?

North Wales - Anglesey?

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Depends what time of year?

if its in the summer nowhere has true dark skies but you can get 3 hours or so of reasonable darkness in the south :D

It will be last 2 weeks in June (unfortunately longest night time :p)

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I and the better half regularly camp in Exmoor National Park which will provide you with a really great sky. How good, well when we were last there, I found it difficult to work out where Ursa Major (Plough) was and it became one of those moments when you realise (...especially living n Bristol!) what a proper dark sky REALLY looks like. Dartmoor is also another great choice too.

We did find it an advantage to camp as it enabled us to place ourselves right in the middle of the above choices. You didn't say how you take your holidays (camping, caravan, cottage) so apologies if camping isn't your thing - but the skies there are great.

Hope you enjoy.

James

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Just came back from a week in Cornwall, staying halfway between St Austell and Bodmin, on a farm in the middle of nowhere. I'm sure the skies would have been spectacular, but unfortunately it was cloudy and/or raining every night. I took the telescope but it didn't make it out of the box :-(

Anyway they had a nice games room, indoor pool and outside play area and my 2 year old loved feeding the pigs and chickens every morning, so it wasn't a total disaster. PM me if you want the cottage details.

cheers

Chris

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We stayed in a cottage at Sennen Cove near Penzance....best skies i've ever seen. Seeing the constellations in all their glory right down to the horizon was a particular highlight.

Couple of years back we joined Caravan and camping club. They have thousands of listed camp sites but some really good Certified Sites. These are restricted too 5 caravans and 20 tents max, and tend to be on remote farms or private land out in the middle of nowhere. And the facilities are sparse at best but this means no shower or toilet blocks lighting up the sky.

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Been here a few times, western end of Chesil Beach, Dorset. Old Coastguards Holiday Cottages - Self-catering holidays - Abbotsbury, Dorset

Its four cottages just up from the beach. They have a couple of large tiered lawns down to the beach, and the beach itself of course. Wished I had my telescope then, but whole Milky Way stands out here.

Cheers

Ian

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If you get a copy of Astronomy Now or Sky at Night magazine, you'll find adverts towards the back for several UK sites that do astro holidays with observatories and scopes thrown in :D

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I'm surprised you're condsidering these 'long haul destinations' when from Kidderminster the dark skies of Mid Wales are but a short drive away! You'll also get some of the loveliest, undiscovered scenery in the UK. Plenty of self catering holiday cottages in the area. Check out the dark sky map- if you avoid the towns it's truly dark.

CambrianLightPollution.jpg

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i went to tenby last year and that was good seeing and i have just come back from flookbrugh in the lakes and i have never seen the sky as dark as that its was black had the milky way was truly awsome

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North of Manchester your lucky to get 2.5 hours of darkness mid June, in fact you can follow a low twighlight N-E very easily so never truely dark.

count yourself lucky, i lived opposite piccadilly station for almost 4 years :D i know light pollution!

(in no order) Best places in:

England - Exmoor/dartmoor, the dales/north york moors, peak districk (when away from towns, and try to gain some elevation), northumbria national park.

Wales - anywhere 10 miles north of cardif/swansea and beyond

Scotland - Gallway (uk's only dark sky site), anywhere in the scotish borders, anywhere 10 miles north of glasgow/edinburgh.

Edited by banner001
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lake district wins all the time for me ...dark skies...plenty for family's...hill walks for amazing views (but you can get these in other places but i just love the place!)

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Wow, thank you all for contributing and sharing your favoured sites/locations.

Admittedly, it's not the best time to be going away (at least for dark nights) but due to work commitmnets it has to be those two weeks.

I'll check out all your links and references and make the selection. Then if it's good, I'll book a week in Oct/Nov when the nights will be darker and hopefully clear.

Big thanks to you all :D

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It's been an interesting thread for me to read, too. We have fairly dark skies, just off the edge of Exmoor (you could walk to the boundary fairly easily if you wanted to) and have been discussing converting a barn to a self-catering cottage or two, with optional access to an observatory.

It does occur to me that unless you want to spend a lot of time looking at the moon, it may be wise to check what phase it's in and where it's likely to be during your planned holiday dates. It would be somewhat disappointing if you intended to spend some nights observing faint DSOs only to find that despite crystal clear skies you're sitting out under a full moon :D

James

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