Kielder Observatory is an astronomical attraction at Kielder Water & Forest Park run by the Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society. Please visit www.kielderobservatory.org for all event bookings.
Famed for having the darkest night skies in England thanks to minimal light pollution, Kielder Water & Forest Park is a star gazers' heaven and the Observatory offers exciting opportunities for those with an interest in learning more about the night sky.
Like the deck of a ship sailing above the landscape, the Observatory provides astronomers with a permanent facility in the heart of Northumberland. It is part of the art and architecture programme that has turned the park into an open air gallery over the last ten years.
Anyone can visit the Observatory at any time and walk around the decking. However, the turrets and astronomical equipment can only be operated by fully qualified members of the Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society (KOAS) during specific events. Check www.kielderobservatory.org for all event listings.
Those wishing to visit during the day can park in the car park for Skyspace* (signed posted from Kielder Castle) and walk up the hill (50 minutes) - there are also excellent views of Kielder Water.
The Observatory is fantastic to visit all year round - the spectacular views are best in summer while the winter nights are darker and better for star gazing.
As part of the process of developing the Observatory project, artist Alec Finlay created 'One Hundred Year Star Diary', an astronomical diary cataloguing all major astronomical events from 2008-2108 with space for owners to write their own notes and observations on the events that they have witnessed. Finlay researched the book with professional astronomers and developed a series of visual representations for each type of event. Please see Star Diary's separate entry for more information. Information about Alec Finlay's work can be found at www.alecfinlay.com
*Skyspace is a circular room which is illuminated by a combination of natural and artificial light at different times of the day. During dawn and dusk, the changing light conditions create a rich and unforgettable display of tone and colour. Both Skyspace and the Observatory are part of the art & architecture programme at Kielder Water & Forest Park.
To reach the observatory make your way to the additional car park for the Skyspace (see map) and begin your walk from there. Distance 1 mile to the Skyspace, a further 0.5 miles to the Observatory. Please note that there is a vehicular barrier beyond the additional car park and although you can obtain a key from the Forestry Commission shop to make it possible to drive as far as the Skyspace, vehicular access after this point is restricted to times when astronomy events are being held.
The Observatory is run by the Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society (KOAS) who have developed an access programme to enable people to find out more about astronomy, visit the building and use the astronomical equipment. This programme covers all levels of interest and includes both night and daytime events.
|Kielder Observatory is part of Kielder Art and Architecture and so are...|
|Minotaur - Nick Coombe and Shona Kitchen 2003, Kielder (Garden)|
|Janus Chairs Viewpoint, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Cat Cairn: the Kielder Skyspace - James Turrell 2000, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Kielder Observatory, Kielder (Science and Technology)|
|Kielder Column - John Maine 1999, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Mirage - Kisa Kawakami 2006, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Silvas Capitalis - SIMPARCH 2009, Hexham (Great Outdoors)|
|Janus Chairs - Ryder Architecture 2009, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Viewpoints - Tania Kovats 1998, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Mapping mini golf, Kielder (Sport and Leisure)|
|Play Garden - Zone Architects 2006, Kielder (Sightseeing and Leisure)|
|Shadow - Julia Barton 1995, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Freya’s Cabin - Studio Weave 2009, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Belvedere - Softroom Architects 1999, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|55-02 - Sixteen (makers) 2009, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Wave Chamber - Chris Drury 1996, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Stell - Colin Wilbourn 2006, Falstone (Great Outdoors)|
|Type||Entry for||Guide price|
Car parking available
Events must be booked in advance
Open all year
Ticket booking essential
Amazing Aurora Night - with a great team!
Loved our trip to the Observatory and even got to see the Lights, which I'd not managed in Iceland! Really great staff, enthusiastic and super knowledgeable. Wrap up warm & take a torch for the walk at the end! Recommend this visit very highly.
A Must Do
karannaphil, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
A wonderful place to go, even if the stars aren't your thing you can't help but enjoy every minute, so informative, relaxed, child friendly but cold! Wrap up warm, hats, gloves etc take your camera and enjoy
This was my first trip here and it wont be my last,from start to finish we were entertained by the excellent staff and even though we did not see an Aurora Borealis not because of the weather we saw everything else Jupiter and its moons millions literally of stars and Galaxies AND SO MUCH MORE. Yes like everyone else says it was cold so please if you go bear this in mind but the whole place was magical. Thanks go to our guides Matt,Hayden,Dr Fred and Liam. Well done guys we will see you next time.
Late Saturday Night
52Chris52, Plymouth, United Kingdom
We went to the late night event at the observatory and had a really good (but cold) time. The staff are all excellent communicators who clearly love what they do and pass on their knowledge in an interesting and amusing way. The sky was a little cloudy but we were able to see Jupiter quite clearly and some other objects such as globular clusters and individual stars. I even got a free lesson on how to use the camera which I had on loan. It was well worth the 870 mile round trip and I would definitely go again but would pick a night with no moonlight. Thanks to all the staff.
Amazing (but very cold)
dominicemery, Seaham, United Kingdom
First of all the website says 'don't underestimate how cold it will be', please follow this advice as it is quite possibly the coldest place on earth. The weather was a bit unpredictable and we didn't see as much as we had hoped to. Matt did an amazing job of making the night as fun as possible and finding things to see out on the deck despite the cold. The hot chocolate was great and the classroom stuff was interesting although it makes you realise how little you actually know. A great night and worth the drive up there.