Stargazing in Swanage

Swanage is very lucky to be the only town in Dorset where you can visit an Astronomy Centre and Observatory to learn about dark skies and stargazing. 

During stargazing events, you’ll get the chance to see meteor showers, constellations, star clusters, comets, galaxies, planets and close-up views of The Moon! 

Dorset’s Dark Skies 

As Dorset is mostly a rural county with large areas of countryside and farmland, there is less light pollution here compared to other counties with large cities. 

The lower levels of light from towns and villages makes it easier to see the stars and Milky Way galaxy with the naked eye from a number of places across Dorset. 

Durlston Country Park on the edge of Swanage is a very large nature reserve and one of the best places in Dorset to stargaze. 

Learn more about Dorset’s dark skies and when the best time to go stargazing is. 

Durlston Astronomy Centre 

Located next to the Learning Centre at Durlston Country Park, the Astronomy Centre and Observatory has a large aperture 14 inch Meade telescope. It is a Dark Sky Discovery Site, which is an officially recognised place where anyone can visit. 

The rural location of the Country Park and Observatory, with Swanage town centre behind it and the open expanse of the Dorset coast in front of it, creates the perfect spot to be amazed by the beauty of our Solar System and beyond. 

The Observatory is open to the public during events run by the Wessex Astronomical Society and country park rangers. 

Stargazing events 

During the stargazing events, you will listen to a talk by members of the Wessex Astronomical Society and then get the chance to look through various telescopes to see the night sky. 

Events usually start between 7:30pm and 9pm depending on the time of year, giving older children the chance to get involved and learn about the Universe.  

Each month of the astronomical year brings a chance to see something new, with constellations, meteor showers and comets only being visible at certain times of year. 

Booking is not required for stargazing events at Durlston Country Park but they are weather dependent. You can check whether an event is going ahead by looking at the Durlston Country Park Facebook page or calling the Visitor Centre on 01929 424443. 

There is a small charge of £4 to attend the events. 

More to see and do...

Where to Stay

From hotels and B&Bs to cottages and apartments, all budgets are catered for in Swanage.

What's On

There's a packed events programme throughout the whole year in Swanage.