What are the best campgrounds in the Lake District that offer views of the stars with minimal light pollution?

Is there anything more mesmerising than gazing upon a dark sky sprinkled with a myriad of twinkling stars? The celestial beauty that unfolds before your eyes on a clear night is nothing short of breathtaking. However, with city lights and urban clutter obstructing our view of the skies, finding the perfect spot for uninterrupted stargazing can be a challenge. Enter the Lake District in Cumbria, a national park that has carved an exceptional niche for itself as a sanctuary for stargazers. Amidst its verdant hills and shimmering lakes, you can find several campgrounds that offer a surreal view of the night sky. These campgrounds are far removed from light pollution, making them ideal for observing the celestial wonders.

The Magic of Stargazing in the Lake District

The Lake District National Park in Cumbria is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. It's a place where you can immerse yourself in nature, surrounded by lush greenery, sparkling lakes and towering fells. But as night descends and darkness envelops the district, it morphs into a different kind of paradise: a stargazer's dream come true.

The park's rural location and absence of urban clutter make it one of the best places in the UK for stargazing. The lack of light pollution ensures that you can see the stars, planets, and galaxies in all their glory. Whether you're an avid astronomer, a photography enthusiast, or you simply want to experience the tranquil beauty of the night sky, the Lake District has something to offer you.

Campsites with Exceptional Night Skies

When it comes to camping in the Lake District, you are spoiled for choice. However, if your primary objective is to soak in the celestial beauty of the night sky, some campsites outshine the rest.

Sykeside Camping Park

Located in the heart of the Lake District, Sykeside Camping Park is an exceptional place for stargazing. Nestled in the shadow of the Dove Crag, it's far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life. The park offers both camping and glamping units, ensuring a comfortable stay amidst nature. The lack of light pollution from nearby towns means that the night sky is exceptionally clear, offering unforgettable views of the stars.

Low Wray National Trust Campsite

Another excellent stargazing site is the Low Wray National Trust Campsite. Situated on the shore of Lake Windermere, this spot provides an unobstructed view of the night sky over the lake. The campsite is equipped with all the necessary amenities, including potable water and glamping options.

Wasdale National Trust Campsite

Wasdale, another National Trust Campsite, offers a magnificent view of England's highest mountain, Scafell Pike, along with the night sky's splendour. Its remote location means minimal light pollution, enhancing the clarity of the sky.

Farm Stays for Stargazing

If traditional camping isn't your thing, don't worry. There are several farm stays in the Lake District that offer a unique rural experience, complete with dark, starry skies.

Highside Farm

Highside Farm, located near Bassenthwaite Lake, is a working sheep farm that offers guest accommodation. When night falls, the farm becomes an ideal spot for stargazing, away from the city's glowing lights.

Moss Side Farm

If you prefer a more hands-on experience, Moss Side Farm might be the place for you. This working farm offers camping, pod stays, and even horse riding. But after a day of farm activities, the real treat is the brilliant display of stars that lights up the dark sky.

Starry Nights at the Lake

Camping beside a lake under the open sky is a truly surreal experience. The reflection of stars over the calm waters enhances the beauty of the night sky. The Lake District, with its array of shimmering lakes, offers some of the best spots for lake-side stargazing.

Ullswater 'Steamers'

Ullswater 'Steamers' is an award-winning lake cruise company that offers unique "Star Gazing Cruises". Not only do these cruises allow you to glide over the serene waters of Lake Ullswater, but they also offer an unbeatable view of the night sky.

Coniston Water

Coniston Water, the third largest lake in the Lake District, is surrounded by several campsites. These sites, like the Pier Cottage Caravan Park, provide a peaceful retreat for stargazers. The view of the starlit sky over the pristine waters of Coniston is a sight to behold.

Whether you choose to camp in the heart of the national park, stay at a working farm, or glide over a lake, the Lake District offers an unparalleled stargazing experience. Just remember to take a moment, look up, and let the beauty of the universe take your breath away.

Stargazing Facilities and Events in the Lake District

The Lake District National Park not just offers splendid natural vistas, but also a range of facilities and events that cater to star enthusiasts. The Kielder Observatory, located on the outskirts of the park, is a public astronomical observatory which offers a variety of events like star camps, meteor shower viewings, and dedicated sessions for photography enthusiasts. The observatory is equipped with several high-end telescopes, allowing visitors to delve into the secrets of the night sky.

Additionally, the park hosts the annual Dark Skies Festival, where stargazers can engage in multifarious activities like night hikes, astrophotography sessions, and more. The festival is also a great opportunity to learn about the importance of preserving dark skies and reducing light pollution.

Many campgrounds and farm stays in the Lake District have also started offering telescopes and binoculars to their guests. Even if you don't have any equipment, the national park's rangers often host sky-gazing events where they provide all the necessary gear.

Stargazing Tips for the Lake District

For a memorable stargazing experience in the Lake District, equip yourself with some essentials. Always check the weather – clear skies are a must for any stargazing event. The park's website often posts up-to-date information about visibility conditions.

Ensure you have warm clothing and a comfortable chair or blanket to sit or lie on. If you're camping, remember to bring potable water, cooking equipment, and necessary items for a campfire. As much as possible, avoid using flashlights or phones as they can affect your eyes' ability to adapt to the darkness.

Respect the environment by adhering to the leave-no-trace principles. Dispose of your trash properly and keep noise levels to a minimum. These acts not only preserve the park's tranquillity, but also contribute to maintaining its status as an International Dark Sky Park.


The Lake District National Park, with its breathtaking landscapes and minimal light pollution, is a paradise for stargazers. Whether you're an astronomer, a camping enthusiast, or someone seeking a peaceful retreat, the park offers something for everyone.

From camping under the night sky, staying at picturesque farm stays, to gliding over a calm lake, the possibilities for stargazing here are endless. The dark skies of the district hold the promise of a mesmerising celestial spectacle, one that leaves visitors awestruck and yearning for more.

In an increasingly urbanised world where natural darkness is becoming a rare commodity, the Lake District continues to offer a sanctuary for those seeking the simple joy of gazing at the night sky. So pack your bags, head to this gem in Cumbria, and immerse yourself in the beauty of the universe.