The Best Stargazing Spots near(ish) Manchester

Some of the best stargazing spots in the country are about an hour away from Manchester...

If you want in with a chance of witnessing one of a kind events as well as any of Elon Musks’ likely adventures with your own eyes, you need to get the hell out of the city centre and away from all the light pollution.

It goes without saying that the deeper you can go into the arse end of nowhere the darker the sky. If you’re really committed to the cause, Snowdown is a good shout or the likes of the Lakes and the Pennines. You can see a map of light pollution here to really get an optimal spot.

For those of us who are medium amounts of committed these are all great spots to get a glimpse of the burning balls of dust in the sky…

Peak Districy Milky Way - Astrophotography by James Grant

Arbor Low (c) James Grant – Credit: Archant

Surprise View
Surprise View car park is on the outskirts of Hathersage around an hour and a half out of Manchester. It’s got a ‘rural’ light pollution level making it the second-best you can get. To get optimal viewing you need to look where about the moon is in the lunar cycle (the next optimal time will be 9th/10th Jan).


Jodrell Bank Observatory - Go Stargazing

Jodrell Bank Observatory
What better place to view some stars than the place that regularly hosts BBC Stargazing Live? This semi-rural spot will benefit from a visit when the skies are as dark as possible. The visitors centre is expected to reopen next year, in line with government guidance.


r/cheshire - Old Pale, Delamere Forest at night [5184 x 3456]

u/scrazza, Reddit

Delamere Forest Park 
This pocked of darker skies is situated between Chester and Northwich around an hours drive from Manchester. The forest helps to block out any surrounding light pollution making it a cracking spot for stargazing. The Mid-Cheshire Astronomical Group hold monthly meetings here – virus permitting.


coby_allen_camera | Minninglow

Peak District
This rural spot is an hour and a half away from Manchester offers views of the Milky Way in autumn nights. Meteor showers aren’t uncommon in this spot that is currently protected due to its lack of light pollution. Other good spots in Derbyshire include Ladybower and Upper Derwent.


Milky Way over Arbor Low near Parsley Hay, White Peak (c) James Grant

Milky Way over Arbor Low near Parsley Hay, White Peak (c) James Grant – Credit: Archant

Parsley Hay 
One of the Peak Districts designated dark areas, Parsley Hay on the Tissington Trail near Hartington offers jaw dropping sights.


A dark pocket between the bright lights of Manchester and Huddersfield this is a good spot that’s easy to access but still has semi-rural visibility. It’s a popular spot with amateur astronomers so a good location if you’re not used to this stuff!


Image by Robert Ince

Forest of Bowland

Forest of Bowland
Recently recognised as some of the darkest skies in England, the Forest of Bowland holds the official status of a ‘Dark Sky Discovery Site’. On a clear cloud-free guide and a ‘moonless’ night you can see constellations like Taurus, Pegasus, the hunter and Andromeda as well as many others. The winter tends to be the best time but you can spot the Perseids meteor shower in mid-August.


Werneth Low 
Gee Cross
This spot in Tameside offers a vast range of beautiful views all across the city centre and a good stargazing spot on a clear night!



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