A warm welcome awaits you in the shadow of Hadrian's Wall

Stargazing for Kids in Northumberland

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Looking for a new, exciting way to entertain your kids whilst on your next camping trip in Northumberland? Why not educate and entertain your children with stargazing?! This inclusive activity can be enjoyed with all the family and is a great way to introduce kids to astronomy. Plus, our camping and glamping site in Northumberland offers one of the best stargazing spots in the UK!

Stargazing best spots

Herding Hill Farm is only 1 mile from the dark sky discovery site right on Hadrian's Wall at Cawfields Quarry, within the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park. The dark skies above Herding Hill Farm also make for perfect stargazing. On a clear, moonless night our remote, rural location offers a beautiful display of shimmering stars. The lighting on our campsite has been specially selected not to interfere and as such we are proud to be a Dark Sky Friendly Park.

We pride ourselves on being able to offer stargazing in Northumberland which can simply be enjoyed right outside your Wigwam cabin, lodge, tent, caravan, motorhome or campervan – all you need is a chair, a set of binoculars and a clear night! You can even enjoy stargazing from one of our outdoor hot tubs. So, if you’re looking for dark sky camping, we guarantee you’ll have a great time discovering the dark skies.

Kielder Observatory

For educating your kids and learning a thing or two yourself, why not visit Kielder Observatory? It’s located 1 hour’s drive from our stargazing campsite, within the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park and Kielder Forest, the observatory is a truly unique attraction which holds regular events which are open to the public, inviting people of all ages to engage in discussions of the universe and see the stars through their one of their amazing telescopes. It is a great educational activity to attend before you go exploring! Please note, the Kielder Observatory is only open if an event is being held so it is worth checking their website before you plan your visit. The events are very popular so make sure you book before you go. Content regularly includes introduction to astronomy, aurora nights, our moon, astro photography and shooting stars as well as events specifically for children such as searching for aliens, space kids and rockets and young explorers.

Go Stargazing also offer events at The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre, just 5 minutes from Herding Hill Farm.

Stargazing tips

The best time for stargazing is during autumn and winter when the nights draw in – plus this means you can enjoy the dark sky for longer! It’s best before a full moon. The sky is perfect on crisp, clear winter nights when there’s no humidity. You don’t need a fancy telescope, just bring along a pair of binoculars to your Herding Hill Farm trip to view the wonderful display of our Milky Way. If you don’t have any you could hire one of our star gazing boxes. Wrap up warm and turn off all your lights and your phone. You’ll need 30 minutes or so to let your eyes acclimatize to the dark. Invest in a red-light torch so you are not fumbling around in the dark. Go Stargazing offers a great article which includes the upcoming evening weather forecast, our location’s light pollution and the best time to stargaze at our dark skies campsite with a handy calendar.

Free apps such as Stellarium are easy to use and help you identify exactly what you are looking at.

What makes our dark sky location so great

Our camping and glamping site in Northumberland is set in such open space, we have the advantage of no light pollution clouding your stargazing view. For the ultimate stargazing experience, its important buildings or street lighting don’t obstruct your view. We have neither which makes Herding Hill Farm perfect for stargazing.

Fun stargazing activities

There are many fun activities to enjoy with all the family whilst stargazing including downloading some stargazing apps which will make your experience extra fun! We’d highly recommend Star Chart, Nasa, Sky Map and Star & Planet Finder. Start with the brightest thing you can see or the moon if it is there. See how many craters they can count.

Get your children to try and spot the International Space Station as it moves across the sky and imagine what life as an astronaut must be like. The Space Station is the third brightest object in the sky. The Spot the Station website helps you to know when it will be passing across the Northumberland skies.

See if you can spot the difference between a star and a planet. Find new shapes and make up names for your own constellations and share them with us on Facebook. Can you see the first letter of your own name in the star shapes? Keep your eyes out for shooting stars or meteors.

For older children why not name as many space themed songs, TV shows or movies as you can.

There are other great resources out there including activities and projects which make learning enjoyable for kids. Visit the Dark Sky Discovery website to discover and download these great resources.

Essential items for stargazing

So you now you know all about the stargazing best spots, it’s time to run through the essential items we recommend for stargazing plus some additional extras to make your experience extra memorable!

We’d highly recommend an outdoor chair so that you’ve got a comfortable spot to enjoy your stargazing experience. Plus, if it’s a colder evening, we’d recommend a warm coat and/or blanket to ensure you’re extra snug! And don’t forget the snacks and the hot chocolate. If you’re new to stargazing, a pair of binoculars with magnification are the perfect choice so that you can adjust your binoculars to suit your viewing preference. For those more experienced stargazers, why not bring your telescope along to enhance the experience.

Have fun stargazing at our dark sky camping & glamping site and don't forget to share your snaps with us on social media! 

Ready to book your stargazing getaway? You can book a stargazing pod, tent/motorhome pitch or luxury lodge directly at Herding Hill Farm!