If you are interested in astronomy, then visiting a recognised dark sky reserve would be a worthy and unusual addition to your bucket list.
In today’s world, there are few places that are totally free from light pollution, allowing you to see the true beauty of the stars.
In the UK, there are now six National Parks that have been awarded official certification by the International Dark-Sky Association.
Throughout the world, dark skies are now recognised in 22 countries, with Flagstaff, Arizona being the first city to receive the award in 2001.
Dark Sky Reserve Status
For outstanding views of the night sky, head to the Brecon Beacons, Exmoor, Moore’s Reserve in the South Downs, the North York Moors, Snowdonia, and the Yorkshire Dales.
For the most pristine dark skies, a visit to Northumberland is a must, which has been given the Gold Tier award.
Throughout the year, each of these areas holds Dark Skies festivals, with events especially for families, photographers or just beginners who want to learn more about the constellations.
You can book unique experiences such as the Magical Moonlight Coastal Walk in North Yorkshire, or how about canoeing in the dark with a professional guide?
How to Study the Sky
If you are not sure where to begin your discovery of the night sky, there are many apps that can help you identify the different stars. However, the bright light from your phone can spoil the experience.
It may be better to study some star charts in advance. Make sure you give your eyes plenty of time to acclimatise to the dark, as it takes about 20 minutes.
You could possibly see up to 2000 stars and the Milky Way!
Take binoculars for a closer view, as you enjoy your dark sky experience.