Kielder Observatory

Kielder Observatory: Hours, Address, Kielder Observatory Reviews: 4.5/5

Kielder Observatory
4.5
Observatories & Planetariums
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4:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Monday
4:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Tuesday
4:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Wednesday
4:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Thursday
4:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Friday
4:00 PM - 3:00 AM
Saturday
4:00 PM - 3:00 AM
Sunday
4:00 PM - 12:00 AM
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About
The Kielder Observatory is a centre for public outreach in the science of astronomy and physics. It serves to promote the universe to our guests, enabling people from all walks of life and levels of interest to access the visual splendour of the cosmos. With a superb array of telescopes and instrumentation to explore the depths of space. Expert tuition awaits the visitors who come along and take part in our featured events, sit in complete comfort in our classroom next to the log burning fire and let us take you on a tour of the universe.
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4.5
987 reviews
Excellent
787
Very good
119
Average
39
Poor
28
Terrible
15

Laura T
Middlesbrough, UK6,165 contributions
Considering our Aurora star gazing night was full cloud cover with sprinklings of torrential rain!! and I thought we would only go for an hour before heading back home... I was surprised that the staff there made it such an interesting night for us. The 3 talks were really engaging and different to any we had been to before, plus looking AT the telescopes was great too - such a shame we couldn't actually USE them to see anything though!! :-(

Our Aurora Night started at 7.45pm, information was to get there 15 minutes early. We arrived 20 minutes early and had to wait a couple of minutes for the earlier group to completely depart as it is a looong couple of miles on a single car track through the woods with not many places to pass other cars. We then waited in the carpark until staff came across to lead us all into the buildings. The talks etc didn't finish until around 11pm.

For such a renowned observatory I was surprised that there weren't more facilities. The buildings are the modern style wooden huts you see in the photos, but I had assumed there was a planetarium for when the weather is cloudy, there is not. Instead you sit in the huts and have talks via projector. Also the toilet is very basic, no flushing water, just a pit! and the door lock is very temperamental and it took me 5 minutes to get back out!

We had dressed super warmly in 2 pairs of trousers, jumpers, thick coats and hats/scarves/gloves etc. While it was cold, the cabins got super warm! so I kept having to strip off everytime we moved building. Unless you're planning on sitting outside then you probably don't need to dress that warmly! We took flasks of hot chocolate too, not realising that hot drinks are provided half way through the night, which are much appreciated, when you get a little break in the gift shop area.

All of the events at the observatory fill up really far in advance, which makes it really difficult to plan your trip around the weather. You just have to book 3-4 months in advance and hope for the best!

In summary, although we were hugely disappointed after having paid £30 each for our aurora stargazing night not to actually see any stars at all!! We all still ended up really enjoying our night, thanks to the fantastic staff that managed to engage our attention through several very interesting talks/presentations. We will probably try again, but won't be making another special trip to the area as Kielder Forest is still so devastated by Storm Arden over 6 months ago that there is not much to do around Kielder at the moment.
Written May 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hello! Thank you for your very kind review. We're sorry about the weather- that part of the night really is out of our hands- but we're pleased you enjoyed the rest of your experience. We're working hard on making our 'cloudy night' experiences even better, so we do hope you visit us again and fingers crossed for those clear skies.
Written August 2, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kathy S
2 contributions
We had bought tickets for our friend's birthday who had travelled especially with his 18 Yr old son from Kent. They/we had a great time. I had wanted to see Jupiter and was well pleased when we did, despite the clouds.

Thank you so much for your enthusiasm, knowledge and ability to explain things in a way that is interesting and easier to understand. Living in Corbridge, it is our third time and each time we go it feels very special. We are so proud to have the Observatory and such a talented team in our lovely county of Northumberland.

A big thank you to Dan, Adam, the guy in the Patrick Moore tower (just excellent!). Please remember, this event is in the middle of wonderful wilderness. Facilities are arranged to fit into the landscape and prevent light pollution. This means toilets can be smelly and near to the audience hall, but with an open frame of maybe nd this certainly doesn't distract from the experience. Weather conditions don't always fall into place, so the Team may need to stretch out the talks and free time if they are waiting for conditions to change. What you get instead is an hugely entertaining event - seeing stars is amazing, but understanding their importance is also part of it
Written July 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Liz B
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK10 contributions
Couples
We booked tickets for the late night explorer session. Unfortunately the weather was cloudy and wet but staff were prepared, giving interesting talks and we managed to do some star gazing at points where the sky was clearer. The session was 11pm-2am so would definitely recommend wrapping up warm as it was quite cold at points outside and inside when the doors were open. A hot drink was included.
Written March 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hello! Thanks for your review- we're sorry the weather wasn't on our side that evening, but we do hope you enjoyed the rest of the visit and that you'll come again in search of a clear night soon!
Written August 2, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

saywhatyousee1
10 contributions
Couples
Before you continue let me make it clear I am NOT leaving a low score due to bad weather..I'm not that stupid.

I was really looking forward to an evening looking at stars at the observatory in a dark skies park. The weather tho had other ideas, it was extremely cloudy and rainy. There was very little chance of seeing any sky let alone stars, but we had payed for it so off we went.

Major-major fault of this place is the location of the toilet..

The toilet itself is literally a hole in the ground, waste goes nowhere, never gets changed and it stinks to high heaven, fair enough its on top of a massive hill miles from anywhere, not really an issue - the issue is its location, it is right next to the main room and it stinks this room out. Even wearing a face mask thanks to covid the smell of urine hit me as soon as I walked in the main room and stayed with me for the duration.

There's a separate building, the car parks less than 30 meters away there's obviously literally acres of space all around the building that would have been a better more suitable place for it to go its actual location makes no logical sense at all.

My wife actually used the toilet and she said her eyes were burning and I'm convinced she wasn't just pulling my leg.

The staff were helpful and knowledgeable and tried to keep our spirits up the best they could.. however without the sky's being visible it became apparent fairly quickly that the evening was going to be a waste of time and this is the second reason I was so disappointed because the evening seemed cobbled together from this moment on and let's face it, bad weather must hinder them fairly often so I would have expected more value for money in this instance.

45 minute talk by Dan who actually held my attention for most parts and I found him easy to listen too.

Then off to another hut to begiven a hot drink. 20 mins

Then back to the urine soaked smelly room to look at a few space rocks. 30 mins

Then a look at a telescope and a walk through as to how it works. 20 mins

I can imagine on a clear night the view of the stars up there would be amazing.. one of the best in the UK.

But if its very bad weather just don't bother, staff tried their best but if the star of the show (pun intended) isn't going to show they are fighting a losing battle..

The 45 mins with Dan at the start was decent the rest just felt like filler to justify the fee..

Like I said.. can't blame them for the weather but more to see and do in this instance is needed.

Written July 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ProdigyPete
Chelmsford, UK45 contributions
Family
Just had a Stargazing Experience if you count watching slides of space, photos and YouTube videos an experience. It’s basically that in 3 different rooms. I should have realised what I was in for when the first presenter said “later we could open the roof for the big telescope but that requires opening the roof etc, we’ll use the small manual telescopes as they are easy to set up”…. And we even didn’t use them! £60 for 2 people to basically watch a space documentary for 3 hours. Very disappointing! Just watch a space documentary in your own home! Believe me you’ll be so much more satisfied and comfortable.
Written July 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mr. Hanifian
Manchester, UK66 contributions
Couples
My partner purchased this especially for the meteor shower, but they were also doing a myths and legends talk (hold that thought). The weather was awful and we didn’t even see a single star. We were placed indoors and then passed from staff member to staff member, given childish tours of apps for your iPad or expensive kit.
It made me feel like I was being shown around a museum. Nothing was engaging. Then finally we sat down for the ‘extra’ event which i won’t mention the price per person was terrible. In short, a masters student showed a group of 8 a powerpoint of victorian sketches of the zodiac. We left feeling absolutely deflated. I am an amateur star gazer and my partner is an astro-physicist!! Would not recommend.
Written September 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Karen H
Edgware, UK10 contributions
Maybe I had unrealistic expectations but I was really disappointed by the experience. We went in June to a Late Night Explorer event. I had imagined the sky lit up with stars, telescopes dotted around which we could use. Unfortunately on the night we went, due to low cloud, nothing could be seen in the sky. Not a thing. Didn't get to touch let alone use a telescope. I appreciate the weather is out of their control but there ought to be a better back up plan in these circumstances. I spent the next few hours in what felt like an A Level physics class lead by an ill prepared supply teacher, which at 11pm on a Saturday night for someone without a science background, was painful. The talk consisted of a lot of "things you cant see tonight." Just when I thought things couldn't be more boring, another couple in the group who had been some years before, engaged with the staff on a trip down memory lane about staff who used to work there. Yawn!

The highlight for me was when my niece came back from the toilet and much to her excitement said "now that's one thing you can see tonight!" and proceeded to tell me about the toilet. How bad must things have been that this was to most fascinating part of our evening?

The tickets for the event weren't cheap. I think when the weather prevents you seeing anything in the sky, there ought to be an option to re-schedule a visit or offer a discount because quite frankly the talk I sat through could have been better delivered watching a You Tube video from the comfort of my home (with a glass or two!)

I was going to give this event one star - I have given an extra star for the toilet as thinking back to that part of the evening, it does make me laugh!

Not the review I thought I would be giving following this event as I was really looking forward to it but it is honest feedback of my experience.
Written December 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Fionamac
Frosterley, UK10 contributions
Family
It is quite some time since we visited but I never thought at the time to leave a review as I was so upset with the staff. We had our children with us as they all loved the sky and stars and were looking forward to it, unfortunately the weather was not kind and it was a cloudy evening. The boss started with a talk which turned to be mainly about him, we then went on a tour and the young man thought that during his talk / q&a session that constantly asking a 11 year old questions made himself look clever, it didn’t it made you look like a bully. We left. Wouldn’t recommend a visit to this place to anyone it was very disappointing.
Written June 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear Fiona Firstly please accept my apologies for not responding sooner to your review as we have been closed due to Covid 19. I'm so sorry to read that you didn't enjoy your visit to the observatory. We pride ourselves on our customer service and I was surprised and concerned about your comments regarding a member of our staff. I would very much appreciate if you would you be kind enough to email me directly to patti@kielderobservatory.org with the details of your booking etc so that I can investigate further I look forward to hearing from you soon Kind Regards
Written August 20, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mary Benson
10 contributions
Couples
The drive up to the station then coming over the hill and seeing the Observatory. Waiting to going into the station builds on the anticipation of the night sky and then seeing the large telescope for the dark sky's. The 3 talks we had were excellent and very informative asked a question they were only to willing to go into such detail. A massive thumbs up.
Written November 25, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Martin J
São Miguel, Portugal190 contributions
Amazing! We were lucky enough to have good skies, and we were able to see Saturn, Jupiter and 4 moons, the Ring Nebula and the Moon, as well as have some constellations (and satellites) pointed out to us. Moonrise was stunning, and the team were so enthusiastic and knowledgeable - and if one didn't know the answer to a question, another would. Great hot chocolate too - a unique experience
Written August 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Kielder Observatory

Kielder Observatory is open:
  • Sun - Thu 4:00 PM - 12:00 AM
  • Fri - Sat 4:00 PM - 3:00 AM