Nothing can put things into perspective quite like gazing up at the shimmering stars across the inky blanket of the night’s sky. Standing in awe of the grandeur of life and sheer size of everything around you allows you to escape from reality for a moment and while you may think you need to escape to some far-lung destination to do this, we can show you that isn’t the case. Just take a look at the best places to go stargazing in Somerset.
How to get the most out of stargazing
Enjoy the moment
While you might be interested in jumping straight into buying a telescope and really getting a clear image of the night’s sky, you should just appreciate the moment with your own eyes. Particularly for those who may only do this a couple of times a year, as you can end up spending more of your time trying to set up your equipment.
Research when is best to go
While you might be looking for something to do while staying in a Somerset holiday cottage, finding the best conditions for stargazing can be hard. You want to look out for a clear, crisp night which are most common during the winter and clearer summer months.
Aim for higher ground
Particularly high ground in remote areas. The higher you go the less air pollution there will be obstructing the sky, meaning you get a much clearer view of the stars. This is the same for remote locations, as you are less likely to be obstructed by the bright-lights of a town or city.
Best stargazing destinations
Exmoor is one of Britain’s finest rural locations, with its picturesque villages and rolling moorland it is an idyllic place for walking. But what is really special about this part of the county is that it is the first Dark Sky Reserve in Europe.
Thanks in large part to the remoteness of the area and the minute levels of light pollution, Exmoor has some of the darkest skies in the United Kingdom. Given the size of the area you can find a large number of spots to go stargazing, from Landacre Bridge near Withypool to Holdstone Down on the coast.
Dunkery Beacon on Exmoor is another great spot for stargazing in Somerset. Located North West of Wheddon Cross, you can drive to the Beacon and pull up and make the most of the free overnight parking before heading back to your Somerset holiday cottage. This is the highest point on Exmoor and is a spectacular place to visit day or night, with sweeping views of the surrounding area.
Though Weston Super-Mare is the most developed area on our list, it still rightly holds a place amongst the best stargazing spots in Somerset. You should immediately head as far away from the centre of town, given the inherently high levels of light pollution. Once you have, head for these locations:
Just a short drive towards Kewstoke leads you to the brilliant Sand Bay, where although relatively low down, you are treated to stunning views of the night’s sky.
Further afield than Sand Bay, Mendips is arguably the best place in this area to go stargazing. The limestone hills are surrounded by some of England’s best landscapes, as you are surrounded by nothing but countryside.
The historic city of Wells is a great place to admire at any time of the day. With a magnificent cathedral and nearby countryside of Somerset Levels and Cheddar Gorge, you have a number of places around to go stargazing. Again, like Weston Super-Mare, you will want to head out of town to avoid the light pollution, but you won’t have to travel far.