Winter at The Pheasant means shorter days and dark evenings. But while your sightseeing hours may be more limited you can enjoy a celestial activity when the sun goes down on a clear night – spectacular star gazing.
If you live in a city you’ll rarely get the chance to marvel at the jewels of the night sky, as light pollution affects your visibility. But here in the Lake District we enjoy big open skies and amazing displays of the major star constellations, nebulas (shimmering clouds of gas and dust) and magical shooting stars. Include a spot of star gazing on the travel itinerary at The Pheasant Inn.
What to pack
- Warm clothing – cosy jumpers, thick outdoor coats, hats, scarfs gloves and wellies. Pop a blanket in too - it gets chilly in the Lakes after dark!
- A flask which we can fill with your hot drink of choice before your star gazing expedition.
- Strong torch to find your way to a suitable star-watching spot.
- A fold-up camping chair is useful so you can sit down and settle in under the stars.
- High energy snacks, or order one of our hearty packed lunches to nibble on throughout the evening.
- Some dedicated star-watchers take binoculars, but on a clear night you should see enough with the naked eye.
Where to go
You’ll get great views of the stars from most Lake District locations but certain sites near The Pheasant are really special after dark:
Whinlatter Forest Park, Keswick
Cumbria’s mountain forest is nestled in between Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwentwater – an ideal vantage point to spot thousands more stars than you’d see in a town or city. Visit during new moon at the start of December to get a glimpse of the Milky Way.
Friar’s Crag, Keswick
This famous viewpoint overlooks stunning scenes during the day, and at night it’s a pretty and peaceful place to see over 4,000 twinkling stars. You might even hear the local Tawny Owls hooting as you look up at the night sky. There’s a flat accessible walk to and from the crag but just be careful of the unprotected edge at the end.
Allan Bank, Grasmere
The grounds around Allan Bank villa – the former home of poet William Wordsworth – have been awarded ‘Dark Sky Status’ thanks to very low light pollution levels. The Orion constellation is a big highlight of this star gazing site, made even more spectacular against the backdrop of the Lakeland fells.
When to go
The best time to go star watching is when the sun has fully set on nights where there’s no bright moon affecting visibility. There are only two weeks of each month with completely dark skies, so check out the Go Stargazing calendar to choose the starriest nights of your Lake District stay: https://gostargazing.co.uk/dark-sky-calendar/ Keep an eye on the weather too; it’s difficult to spot stars and constellations on a cloudy evening.
View our availability here for your starry-eyed stay at The Pheasant Inn. We’re also running Winter Warmer offers with two and three night stays plus vouchers for our Bistro for midweek breaks between now and March 2019.