Stargazing Brits won’t need to go far to take in some of the world’s best night sky views.
That’s because Cranborne Chase in Wiltshire has just named an International Dark Sky Reserve, making it one of 14 in the world.
In fact, it’s the first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK to be designated in its entirety.
The reserve actually covers over 380 square miles of countryside, overlapping the boundaries of Wiltshire, Dorset, Hampshire and Somerset.
With its picture-perfect rolling green hills and sweeping landscapes, it’s no surprise that Cranborne Chase made the list; it has heaps of spots from where you can take in some pretty spectacular views of the stars.
In fact, on a clear night stargazers can expect to see the likes of the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy, as well as plenty more fascinating constellations.
Even by day it’s pretty spectacular thanks to its charming villages, breathtaking scenery and some historic landmarks such as the breathtaking Old Wardour Castle.
Oh, and for some particularly beautiful views, head to Win Green, the area’s highest point.
Cranborne Chase isn’t the only UK area to feature on the list of the International Dark Sky Reserves (you can see the full list below).
Exmoor National Park, Brecon Beacons National Park, Snowdonia National Park and Moore’s Reserve in the South Downs also feature on the list thanks to their breathtaking landscapes from which you can take in some unrivalled views of the star-filled night skies.
Linda Nunn, Director of Cranborne Chase AONB said: “Some people are lucky enough to recognise ‘the Plough’, but for others, seeing stars and their constellations is often impossible because of light pollution.
“Here in Cranborne Chase we can see the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy, if the clouds allow!”
Thinking of going to see it for yourself? TripAdvisor has a handy round-up of the best cheap hotels near Cranborne Chase with prices from £30 a night.
You can also find out about the various walking trails, villages and more on the official Cranborne Chase website .
Full list of the International Dark Sky Reserves
- Aoraki Mackenzie, New Zealand
- Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales
- Central Idaho, USA
- Cévennes National Park, France
- Exmoor National Park, England
- Kerry, Ireland
- Monte-Mégantic, Canada
- Moore’s Reserve (South Downs), England
- NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia
- Pic du Midi, France
- Rhön, Germany
- Snowdonia National Park, Wales
- Westhavelland, Germany
- Cranborne Chase, England