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Best places for star gazing whilst camping in East of England

The East of England includes the counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. In these areas there is expansive dark skies, perfect for stargazing. The further away from the streetlights you go, the better the view becomes. Under a really dark sky we can see over 1,000 stars. All you need is a dark sky, a comfy chair, blanket and a cosy jacket.

Image: (Copyright) Andy Green - Kelling Heath Holiday Park 2021



Bedfordshire


The best places are to the north and west of Bedford – across the Great Ouse Valley. You can see how dark Bedfordshire’s skies are here: https://www.cprebeds.org.uk/news/starcount22/


Re:treat


Re:treat Glamping is an exclusive 7-person luxury safari lodge positioned on its own private deck. This beautifully equipped ensuite canvas and wood safari lodge nestles privately on our 22-acre smallholding. That means you’ll be staying exclusively and you’ll be free to explore the natural surroundings and footpaths on your doorstep. It has its own grassed area with access to the pond and meadow field being via a wooden gate. Go and sit out on the deck with a glass of something and watch the shooting stars in the sky.


Cambridgeshire


You don’t have to travel far in Cambridgeshire to witness expansive dark skies. Wicken Fen is the National Trust’s oldest nature reserve. Perfect for exploring on a family stargazing trip. Also well worth a visit is the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy who hold regular public open evenings of their observatory.


Fen End Farm

A campsite with excellent reviews and high ratings, Fen End Farm is known for its sprawling apple orchard as well as being one of the best campsites for stargazing. It is a small organic farm just six miles north of Cambridge, on the edge of the Fens.


The site is passionate about looking after the environment - the farm was converted to organic over 15 years ago, replanted over 3km of native hedgerows and created a one hectare woodland.

Barbecues and campfires are permitted at this campsite — the campsite owners actually encourage it! So remember to bring along some marshmallows for roasting while enjoying the view of the beautiful night sky. The campsite also has onsite showering facilities with running hot water so you don’t need to worry about amenities during your stay at Fen End Farm.


Essex


Essex has plenty of places, with miles of dark coastline. Clacton-on-Sea is popular with the local astronomy club, and Abberton Reservoir is a favourite location for Essex Astronomical Society — it makes an ideal spot for Milky Way photography too!


Great Notley Country Park

Great Notley, Braintree, Essex, CM77 7FS


Join the North Essex Astronomical Society astronomers who will have their telescopes set up for observing this evening as long as the weather allows!


Learn how to recognise the constellations. Bring your own telescope along for expert help. If the weather is partially clear, the group will still answer questions and chat whilst waiting for a break in the clouds. https://www.northessexastro.co.uk/great-notley-information/


Osea Meadows


Osea Meadows offers a wide range of glamping and camping options, from fully equipped Lodge Tents, Pods and Shepherds Huts, to well appointed campsite with optional hook-up. If you fancy something completely different book our Glasshouse or our superior and luxurious Master Lodge Tent.


One of the main attractions, though, is the Stargazer yurts. With a window to the stars, these are a beautiful reminder of yesteryear and create the perfect space for your glamping adventure. Our five metre diameter Stargazer can sleep a family of five (two adults and three children). Our Stargazer’s feature wooden futons and a fixed double bed, hippy rugs with twinky lights and small storage boxes, creating the perfect ‘blank canvas’ for your glamping trip.


Each Stargazer is set on a large decking area, which is ideal for glamping in all weather conditions. The decking also provides a great space for sun bathing, relaxing and sitting by a barbecue or firepit whilst watching the sunset over Osea Meadows.


Inside the Stargazer tent you are free to lay out your own bedding and fairy lights (non-flammable) to create your perfect get-away in the beautiful surrounds of Osea. The site is set next to the breathtakingly beautiful Blackwater estuary and offers the very best of outdoor living. On the river there’s sailing, fishing, paddle-boarding and jet-skiing opportunities, as well as walking the river path and bird watching over the salt marshes.


Hertfordshire


Surrounded by countryside, The Camping and Caravanning Club’s Theobalds and Hertford club sites are perfect for a spot of star gazing with the family!


Lucksall Caravan & Camping Park


This Five Star Awarded ‘exceptional’ Rural holiday destination is a beautiful riverside Holiday Park nestled in glorious Herefordshire countryside. Located right next to the beautiful River Wye, this location benefits from dark skies, relatively low levels of light pollution, is astronomy friendly and suitable for stargazing breaks.


Norfolk


Being along the Norfolk coast with the backdrop of the North Sea, far away from light pollution, brings the stars out like you’ve never seen them before.


Kelling Heath


Kelling Heath Holiday Park hosts regular star parties where hundreds of astronomers meet under the dark skies of North Norfolk.


Kelling Heath Holiday Park is welcoming astronomers for an Autumn Equinox Star Party (20th – 27th September) and Winterfest (24th – 28th November 2022).


Accredited as a 'Dark Sky Discovery Site' in 2017, Kelling Heath boasts the highest 'two star' site accolade as seven stars of the Orion constellation and the Milky Way are visible to the naked eye from the Park. Kelling Heath is one of only five Dark Sky Discovery sites in Norfolk.


For 2022, 10 premium pitches within the Yellow Dragonfly touring field have been designated as exclusively for astronomers. These dedicated pitches are perfect for stargazers as they are hidden in a secluded and sheltered part of the Park.

Image: (Copyright) Andy Green



The next stargazing events at Kelling Heath will be the annual Autumn Equinox Star Party on 20th – 27th September and Winterfest (24th – 28th November 2022).



Image: Kelling Heath Lodge


Suffolk


From Dark Sky Sites to beaches, Suffolk has some of the clearest skies and best views in the country for avid astronomers. The coast's big skies and unspoilt landscapes mean it’s a great place to looking up. Especially boasting little light pollution.


Haw Wood Farm


Haw Wood Farm Caravans and Camping, in Saxmundham, has been named a ‘Dark Sky Discovery Site’ due to its unusual lack of light pollution. They have naked eye visibility 5.73, averted 5.99 and a best SQM reading of 21.75. Very few areas of the UK have this award which makes them the perfect place to combine a weekend break with some top quality star gazing.


It is an established site that prides itself on its peaceful, well maintained and spacious pitches. Set in 14 acres of land, Haw Wood Farm works carefully alongside nature making your experience here even more special.


The campsite is hosting an Autumn Astronomy event between October 28th and November 1st. Pitches are £16 per night and can be booked by calling or emailing the site so they make sure everyone booking is either an astronomer or here for the dark sky and aware of the event taking place)


If you would like to book during this week please email info@hawwoodfarm.co.uk or call 01502 359550.


There is also a Spring event from Thursday March 16th to Thursday March 23rd 2023.



Sweffling Glamping Site


Sweffling Glamping Site lies in a rural triangle between Framlingham to its inland west, coastal Southwold to the north east and seaside Aldeburgh to the south - Suffolk's own golden triangle of fun, adventure and charming discovery, ideal for glamping.


The site also features a selection of captivating and engaging private astronomy sessions (approx 30-60 minutes - £50) that will leave you inspired and amazed at the sky above us! Led by Paul, an outreach astronomer with over 50 years’ experience and an astrophysics degree. Paul's sessions are always the talk of the campsite the next day and he is particularly brilliant at inspiring the younger children as well as the adults.



Find Out More


https://gostargazing.co.uk/location-map/

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/top-spots-for-stargazing

https://www.darkskydiscovery.org.uk/dark-sky-discovery-sites/map.html

https://britastro.org/

https://www.visitherts.co.uk/visit-herts-blog/star-gazing/


Do you love looking at the stars whilst camping? Let me know some of your best places to stay.


For more camping blog posts, see these:

Cooking with a Swedish Torch

10 Fun Activities in Parks for Children

Top tips to love camping in autumn

Top tips for camping without a tent

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