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Webinar: Dark Skies Friendly Cumbria

The Lake District, Cumbria easily outshines the city lights for a memorable autumn or winter holiday, with more than 1,000 stars visible on a clear night – complimented by part of our own galaxy The Milky Way, which majestically stretches across the night sky.

Research shows that stargazing activities are a great way to help boost winter tourism, by extending the season and encouraging overnight stays. Stargazing provides a great opportunity to enable visitors to explore our county in a new and immersive way, fitting perfectly with people’s renewed desire to enhance their health and wellbeing, discover the outdoors and get closer to nature. 

The first of our workshops hosted online and aimed at tourism businesses will introduce the benefits of dark skies tourism and help businesses across the county to develop and market their own stargazing products and will be taking place on Thursday 26th November, 14:00.

We are thrilled to be welcoming Astronomers Richard Darn and Neill Sanders who will provide valuable insights into why dark skies matter, marketing tips, information on equipment advice and apps, plus much more. We are pleased that Mark Holroyd, Head of Recreation and Communications for Forestry England in the North of England will discuss how Forestry England is harnessing dark skies tourism.

Cumbria Tourism are pleased to be partnering with our strategic partners Forestry England, enabling members of Cumbria Tourism to attend the workshop free of charge. Businesses that currently aren’t Cumbria Tourism members but that are interested in joining the workshop are welcome to join at the reduced non-member rate of £20+VAT.


  1. Click here to register your place


For more information or questions on how to get involved in the above activities, or If you are already developing dark skies activities, events or packages, let us know: campaigns@cumbriatourism.org


Ahead of the workshop, find out more about our speakers:

Astronomer Richard Darn helped Northumberland become Europe’s biggest international dark sky park and worked on the launch of Kielder Observatory. He works with Northumberland, Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors and Exmoor national parks plus the North Pennines AONB on dark sky conservation and promotion. With a professional background as a media consultant, he has appeared on BBC Sky at Night, BBC News 24 and Stargazing Live and is a regular on BBC local radio. He has recently completed the application to create an international dark sky reserve in the North York Moors, plus he is a specialist on astro tourism having staged workshops for businesses located in dark areas across England.

Neill Sanders is an enthusiastic astronomer with a keen interest in outreach. To help encourage public interest in astronomy Neill founded Go Stargazing, an organisation that promotes awareness of stargazing events and stargazing destinations across the UK through its website and social media channels. Neill loves nothing more than to share with people amazing views of distant deep space objects through large aperture telescopes from dark sky locations. He enjoys night time landscape photography, the odd swing of a golf club and is a bit of an IT geek!

 Mark Holroyd is Head of Recreation and Communications for Forestry England in the North of England; looking after the nations forests in Cumbria, Lancashire, Northumberland, County Durham and Gateshead. The nations forests help to create some of the darkest skies in England; delivering benefits for people, nature and the economy. Forestry England has been developing its stargazing offer for a number of years, including the iconic Kielder Observatory in Northumberland. Originally from Cumbria, Mark has worked in a variety of roles developing recreation and the visitor experience in UK National Parks, forests and coastal communities.

November 26, 2020
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Event Category:
Cumbria Tourism
Forestry England

For more information on events

Contact the team on
01539 822222 or info@cumbriatourism.org