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Tips for stargazing in the New Forest

Tips for stargazing in the New Forest

Escape the city lights and delve into a blanket of stars in the gorgeous New Forest.  Renowned for its minimal light pollution and vast open spaces, this National Park offers a glimpse into the celestial wonders above, wrapped up in a truly enchanting location. 

As darkness descends, prepare to be captivated by a tapestry of twinkling lights as the New Forest unveils a breathtaking spectacle. With clear skies and minimal interference, even faint celestial objects like nebulae and distant galaxies come into view. Book your stay at one of the hotels part of the New Forest Collection and enjoy an enchanting stay under blankets of magical stars.

Tips for stargazing in the New Forest

Choose the right time: Aim for a night with clear skies and minimal moonlight for the best stargazing conditions. A new moon night is ideal. Check the lunar calendar and weather forecast before planning your trip.

Find a dark spot: The New Forest offers several dark locations away from city lights. Areas like Hatchet Pond, Bolderwood, and Blackwater Arboretum are known for their dark skies. The fewer artificial lights in the area, the better you’ll be able to see the stars.

Let your eyes adjust: It takes about 20-30 minutes for your eyes to fully adapt to the dark. Avoid looking at your phone or other bright lights during this time for the best chance at seeing the stars. 

Bring the right equipment: A pair of binoculars can enhance your viewing experience. For deeper exploration, a telescope can be wonderful, but it’s not necessary for enjoyable stargazing. Also, bring a red light torch as it helps in navigating without affecting your night vision.

Dress appropriately: Nights in the New Forest can get chilly, even in summer. Dress in warm layers and consider bringing a hat, gloves, and a warm blanket or a reclining chair for comfort.

Use a star map or app: Star maps or astronomy apps can help you identify constellations, planets, and stars. Choose apps that have a night mode to keep your phone from disrupting your night vision.

Learn about the sky: Familiarise yourself with some common constellations and bright stars before your trip. The Big Dipper, Orion, and Cassiopeia are good starting points for beginners.

Photographing the night sky: If you’re into photography, bring a camera capable of long exposures to capture stunning night sky images. A tripod is essential for stability.

Be patient and observant: Stargazing requires patience. Give yourself time to observe and appreciate the night sky. You might even catch a glimpse of a shooting star or a passing satellite.

Respect the environment: The New Forest is a protected area with rich biodiversity. Stick to designated paths and areas, and leave no trace behind.

Check for events: Look for local astronomy clubs or groups that might host stargazing events or guided night walks in the New Forest.

Safety first: If you’re going at night, especially to remote areas, let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return. It’s also wise to stargaze with a buddy.

Staying in the New Forest

If you’re keen to enjoy the beauty of the New Forest, it’s certainly worthwhile to enjoy an extended stay to experience the best bits of the New Forest in all its glory. 

At the New Forest Collection, we offer a selection of charming hotels, each providing a unique yet magical stay within the New Forest National Park. The hotels that make up the collection include adults only Burley Manor. A grand Baronial Manor House hotel complete with a selection of striking bedrooms, perfect for a romantic retreat with the one you love. 

On site, you’ll also find Temple Spa treatments available, as well as the opportunity to indulge in an evening of delicious dining and decadent drinks at the onsite restaurant where contemporary British meals meet Mediterranean influences. 

Amidst the grounds, there is an abundance of space to enjoy a night under the blanket of stars. Grab something cosy, perhaps a bottle of wine and some snacks and set up camp for an evening of stargazing. Alternatively, the wider grounds and New Forest area are home to some fantastic star gazing spots and great things to do during the day. Take in some local culture, explore the traditional country pubs and see the gorgeous sights that make the New Forest such an exceptional place. 

The other hotels in the collection include the charming Forest Lodge, a historical Georgian townhouse with an onsite swimming pool and just minutes from the foodie ‘capital’ of the New Forest, Lyndhurst. For keen foodies, Lyndhurst is a fabulous location to explore with a hungry belly and a great location to grab some snacks for your evening of stargazing. 

Gorgeous Beaulieu Inn is near the picturesque village of Beaulieu with the Inn providing elegant interiors, darling gardens and a country pub right next door, complete with a cosy fireplace and traditional English grub. Bartley Lodge is another fantastic hotel in the collection, a cosy and comfortable hotel nestled within 8 acres of grounds. Spend your days exploring the towns and your nights huddled up, wrapped up warm enjoying the open skies and twinkling stars. Keep your eyes peeled for the Milk Way, Big Dipper and Orion’s Belt! 

The New Forest Collection provides the perfect locations to enjoy the wider New Forest. Each hotel is dotted across the National Park and provides plenty of space and great transport links to get to and from some of the fantastic activities and sights of the New Forest. From horse riding in the National Park in the day, or perhaps a visit to the nearby reptile centre, an afternoon tea at Burley Manor’s restaurant, or a Sunday dinner in The Drift, your stay with the New Forest Collection will allow you to fall in love with the local area.

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