Want to view the night sky close to home? We’ve rounded up a few of the best locations with the lowest levels of light pollution for stargazing in London.
North & West
☆ Hampstead Heath
☆ Regent’s Park
☆ Richmond Park
☆ Darlands Nature Reserve, Totteridge Common and Mill Hill Park
East & South
☆ Epping Forest
☆ Blythe Hill Fields
☆ Dulwich Wood
☆ Walthamstow Wetlands
☆ The National Trust have identified some dark sky areas around London here.
☆ South Downs National Park is the closest International Dark-Sky Reserve to London.
Check out the CPRE’s Night Blight map to see which areas of London are darkest.
Rediscover the night in London – Urban Stargazing Tips
☆ Get up high
☆ Face away from central London
☆ Use your parks and green spaces
☆ Shield light pollution and glare
☆ Let your eyes adjust for at least 20 minutes without light
☆ Use an app like SkyView to navigate the constellations
☆ Learn to use a paper planisphere (star chart)
☆ Opt for easy-to-carry binoculars
☆ Winter is the best season – grab a tea or mulled wine & bundle up!
Cultural Heritage: London’s Observatories
Astronomy has been an indelible part of London’s cultural heritage for centuries and astronomical science is still practiced at these historic observatories today.
Greenwich Royal Observatory
Founded by King Charles II in 1675, the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich is the historical home of British astronomy, where Greenwich Mean Time was initiated and some of the world’s most important astronomical contributions have been made.
Mill Hill Observatory (UCLO)
Opened in 1929, the UCL Observatory at Mill Hill is one of the most important student observatories in the country, with five telescopes, classrooms and an astronomy library.
Sitting atop one of central London’s highest points, Hampstead Observatory was founded in 1899 and its Cooke telescope (still in use) was presented in 1923. It was lovingly refurbished and reopened in 2019.
More resources for astronomy in London
If you want to find out more about astronomy or join a local astronomy club, check out these astronomical clubs and societies:
- Astronomical Society of Haringey
- Baker Street Irregular Astronomers
- Croydon Astronomical Society
- Flamsteed Astronomy Society
- Hampstead Garden Suburb Astronomical Society
- West of London Astronomical Society