Ahead of International Astronomy Day (9 October 2022), details are being revealed of a two-week stargazing spectacle celebrating the wonders of the Night Sky in the Lake District, Cumbria later this month.
Cumbria’s Dark Skies Festival returns from 28 October – 12 November 2022 with a stellar events programme that brings outdoor art, adventure and astronomy experts together to help people of all ages celebrate Cumbria’s magical stargazing opportunities, promote health and wellbeing, and connect with the landscape after dark. The festival will be used as a catalyst to launch the dark skies season across Cumbria with further events scheduled to take place during the winter.
Suitable for everyone from complete beginners to seasoned stargazers, the star-studded line-up kicks off the winter Dark Skies season across Cumbria includes everything from night-time canoeing and trailrunning, to art workshops, expert astronomy talks, night-time wildlife walks in nature reserves and special dinners underneath the stars. There are also accessible residential weekends and even hi-tech stargazing at Kendal Castle.
It’s all been put together by a collaboration of Cumbria Tourism, Forestry England, Friends of the Lake District, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, National Trust and the Lake District National Park Partnership with fantastic support from local businesses and Astronomers.
Visitors can dip their toe in the water with a tranquil night-time canoe paddle on Coniston Water, as Path to Adventure helps them to explore the hidden coves and remote islands you can’t access by foot and identify the constellations that stretch majestically above our heads.
How about a magical evening walk at Whinlatter, hosted by Forestry England? Listen out for owls, learn about the wildlife in the forest, experience the wonders of the night sky and finish with hot chocolate and marshmallows around a campfire.
Or head towards the highest market town in England, Alston, which is renowned for having some of the darkest skies in Cumbria. Alston Moor Golf Club will be hosting a journey ‘from the start to the end of time’ with astronomer Andy Gray.
See the full list of dark sky events on visitlakedistrict.com
Cumbria Tourism is also highlighting a selection of ‘dark sky friendly’ accommodation providers that provide unrivalled dark sky viewing and unique stargazing break packages. Many Cumbrian businesses are offering bookable stargazing packages throughout the winter – including the use of high-quality telescopes, night-sky maps, waterproof rugs and hot chocolate – for the ultimate stargazing experience.
See visitlakedistrict.com for more Dark-Sky Friendly packages and activity providers
Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “It’s truly a magical time of year to escape the city lights and take in the Lake District, Cumbria’s incredible star-laden skies for a winter break. With thousands of stars visible on a clear night and the milky way stretching majestically above, Cumbria’s Dark Skies Festival programme will make visitors feel spoilt for choice with such a fabulous array of events hosted right across the county. It’s another fantastic reason to head to Cumbria this autumn!”
Jack Ellerby, Dark Skies Project Manager at Friends of the Lake District, adds, “Connecting with nature after dark ignites people’s sense of wonder and awe in the beauty of our Universe. Our diverse festival attracts different groups and interests to enjoy the night-time environment, taking away lasting memorable experiences.