Best UK cities for stargazing revealed in new study

Bristol is the best city for stargazing, according to a new survey that ranks 16 of the UK's cities in order of light pollution levels.

Best UK cities for stargazing. Credit: MarcelC / Getty Images

A new study of light pollution in the UK has named Bristol, Sheffield and Glasgow as the top 3 British cities for stargazing. Following closely behind in the top 5 are Cardiff and Bradford.

Advertisement

The survey – conducted by the Park Dean Resorts holiday group – used the light pollution levels of each major city in the UK with a population over 300,000 to determine which were best for stargazing.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, London came bottom of the list.

Bristol has been named the best large city for stargazing. Credit: 0sit0 / Getty Images
Bristol has been named the best large city for stargazing. Credit: 0sit0 / Getty Images

Light pollution is the name given to the glare from artificial lighting – such as from streetlights, office buildings or car headlights – that has a detrimental effect on our view of the night sky.

The best solution for avoiding light pollution is to leave towns and cities behind and head to more rural areas, such as National Parks or one of the UK’s best stargazing dark-sky sites.

Dunkery Beacon in Exmoor National Park is one of many places in the UK where beautiful vistas of the night sky can be seen. Credit: Keith Trueman
Dunkery Beacon in Exmoor National Park is one of many places in the UK where beautiful vistas of the night sky can be seen. Credit: Keith Trueman

This, however, has become less of an option over the past year given the lockdown restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to this latest survey, the top 16 UK cities for stargazing are:

  1. Bristol
  2. Sheffield
  3. Glasgow
  4. Cardiff
  5. Bradford
  6. Belfast
  7. Leicester
  8. Coventry
  9. Edinburgh
  10. Nottingham
  11. Newcastle upon Tyne
  12. Manchester
  13. Liverpool
  14. Birmingham
  15. Leeds
  16. London
Advertisement

For more information read the original survey, or our guides on how to fight light pollution, how to capture astrophotos from a light-polluted city and the best lighting to minimise light pollution.