7 spots to stargaze with your kids on the Isle of ManRarely do we sit back and consider the marvel that is our tiny blue planet. Occasionally though, on a crisp Winter’s night, you might turn into a stargazer.
This is just one of the reasons why the Isle of Man is such a spectacular place to live. With over 26 registered Dark Sky Discovery Sites, the Island boasts one of the lowest levels of light pollution in Britain.
Being so magical, stargazing is also a fantastic activity to do with your kids. We’ve therefore compiled a ‘top 7’ of our favourite family friendly spots to watch the stars.
Common sense prevails when checking out the stars on the Isle of Man, especially with young children. Dark Sky Discovery Sites are just that – dark! Avoid treacherous hills or steep coastal areas and watch for obstacles such as rabbit holes, rocks and the sea. Keep everyone together and take torches - but don’t ruin the darkness by shining them everywhere.
Download a stargazing app before you go and check the weather. Unless you plan to moon gaze, avoid nights when it’s full. Though beautiful, its brightness can detract from the smaller gems above. Wrap up warm, take flasks of tea, snacks and blankets. Stargazing is about sitting back, letting your eyes adjust, and becoming entranced by the Isle of Man’s amazing skies. The sites recommended here can all be reached by car.
Dark Sky Discovery Sites for all the family
1. Stargazing at the Sound
In the South, the Sound is one of the most obvious places to seek the stars. There’s a huge carpark, and benches or grassy areas where you can sit. Roll out a blanket, lie back, and bathe beneath a glorious sky that stretches the entire South East to South West of the Isle of Man. Keep a close eye on adventurous children. There are gullies here and rocks further down that fall to the sea.
2. Orion and Sirius at Port Soderick
Situated close to Douglas, Port Soderick’s upper carpark gives breath-taking views of the stars rising in the East. Check out popular astronomical sights like Orion, the Milky Way, and the sky’s brightest star, Sirius. In Winter, these easterly sightings are visible from early evening. Perfect for children.
3. Seeing stars at Sulby Reservoir carpark
This inland site at Tholt y Will is nestled in the rolling Northern hills, towards the foot of Snaefell. The site’s elevation provides spectacular stargazing against the dramatic backdrop of undulating landscape. Use the on-site interpretation board to find out how the stars can show you which way is North. Click here for more information about Sulby Reservoir.
4. Port Lewaigue car park
Tucked between the craggy outcrops of Maughold Head and the striking coastline of Ramsey Bay, this tiny beach offers exceptional views of the Isle of Man’s Northerly skies East and West. Use the onsite Interpretation Board to help your family spot constellations.
5. Shooting stars at Niarbyl Bay
In daylight, secluded Niarbyl Bay offers enchanting views of the South West coastline towards the Calf of Man. By night, cradled beneath steep cliffs, it provides an unsurpassed sky. Encourage your children to look out for shooting stars. You can also use an app to find hidden planets and the Great Andromeda Galaxy.
6. Smeale Beach
If you’ve access to a campervan, Smeale beach in the North West of the Isle of Man makes a great staycation for the family. Situated in the Ayres National Nature Reserve, it offers virtually no light pollution, providing sensational views of the stars. When conditions are right you might even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
7. Fort Island at Langness
The skies on this South East peninsula are huge. For a memorable photograph, shoot the night’s sky through the open top of the majestic tower at Fort Island (a short walk from the road). One of the most scenic viewpoints in the Isle of Man, you’ll find excellent views here South East to South West. For more information about Langness, click here: https://www.visitisleofman.com/experience/derbyhaven-and-langness-nature-walk-p1315501
For more information on the wonders of the Manx skies by night, contact the Isle of Man Astronomical Society. Regarding relocation, please contact the Locate team for any queries you may have: firstname.lastname@example.org