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  • Writer's pictureSoo Hammond

Stargazing Camping & Glamping Holidays in Pembrokeshire, Wales

Updated: Mar 6, 2023

Are you looking for the best camping and glamping stargazing holiday in Wales?


Look no further than Pembrokeshire! Pembrokeshire is one of the best stargazing places across the UK. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park boasts eight nationally recognised Dark Sky Discovery Sites and Top of the Woods has been named the best campsite for stargazing and one of the UK’s most loved campsites on the internet based on research by Just Kampers.


At Top of the Woods glamping campsite in Wales, Dr Alice Courvoisier runs our Dark Sky Safari. Why not book a unique stargazing experience with Dr Alice this holiday, with low light pollution and clear night skies, she will she share her life-long passion for the stories of the stars. As well as seeing different constellations, galaxies, and planets, you might also be lucky to see and explore the Milky Way!

Top of the Woods Eco Luxury Glamping Campsite in Pembrokeshire and Cardigan Bay in Wales, UK - Stargazing Holidays
Stargazing camping holidays at Top of the Woods campsite in Pembrokeshire Wales.

The Galaxy, stars and storytelling.

When you look up in to the Pembrokeshire night skies on a clear nights from our campsite in Wales, all the individual stars and constellations you see belong to our galaxy. You might be tempted to join the dots and form patterns and shapes. Various cultures have done exactly this and have populated the sky with stories of animals, people, and objects.


Most of the groups of stars, or constellations, we inherited in the West come from Ancient Greece. For example, if you look towards the southern horizon after sunset in the winter, you will see Orion the Hunter followed by his loyal dogs.


Be captivated by tales of people and animals held within constellations. Unlock these stories of folklore and explore their timeless messages during our magical stargazing experiences, our Dark Sky Safari


Top of the Woods Eco Luxury Glamping Campsite in Pembrokeshire Cardigan Bay Wales – UK Holiday Staycation Nature Wildlife Eco and Dog Friendly Break  – Orion the hunter and his dogs
Orion the Hunter and his dogs - Image Copyright Bob Moler's

The constellation of Orion is recognisable by the three bright stars of his belt framed by a large rectangular shape. At the top left corner is the red supergiant Betelgeuse and at the bottom right is the blue-white supergiant Rigel. Stars do have different colours depending on their surface temperature.


One of Orion's dog is the constellation of the Great Dog. It contains the brightest star of the night sky, Sirius, which lies 8.6 light-years away (so the light it emits takes over 8 years to reach us) and is a close companion of our Sun.


The color of a star is determined by its surface temperature, which is related to its spectral class. The spectral class is a classification system that astronomers use to categorize stars based on their spectral characteristics. The spectral class ranges from O, B, A, F, G, K, and M, where O-class stars are the hottest and bluest, and M-class stars are the coolest and reddest.

Betelgeuse, the red supergiant in Orion, has a surface temperature of around 3,500 Kelvin, which is much cooler than Rigel's surface temperature of about 12,000 Kelvin. Betelgeuse's cooler temperature makes it appear red, while Rigel's hotter temperature makes it appear blue-white.

In addition to temperature, the color of a star can also be affected by its composition, age, and other factors. However, temperature is the primary factor that determines a star's color.

Can you find Orion in this picture ? A little clue, see if you can spot Orion's belt!

Top of the Woods Eco Luxury Glamping Campsite in Pembrokeshire Cardigan Bay Wales – UK Holiday Staycation Nature Wildlife Eco and Dog Friendly Break –  Orions Belt
Can you spot Orions belt?

The constellations that we can see at sunset from a particular location depend on the season, and stars have been used as time keepers and seasonal markers. The Ancient Egyptians for example based their agricultural and ceremonial calendar on the yearly motion of Sirius in the sky.

Summer skies - The Milky Way In the UK's summer evening camping skies, we do not see Sirius nor Orion, but we get the best views of the Milky Way, the ribbon of light that stretches across the sky.


The Milky Way over Pentre Ifan an ancient burial chamber in North Pembrokeshire

Top of the Woods Eco Luxury Glamping Campsite in Pembrokeshire Cardigan Bay Wales – UK Holiday Staycation Nature Wildlife Eco and Dog Friendly Break –  Pentre Ifan
Pentre Ifan under the dark skies in Pembrokeshire - Image copyright Visit Pembrokeshire

The Chinese call it 'the Great River in the Sky', but for the Greek, it represents the spilled milk of the goddess Hera. Down it flies the beautiful constellation of Cygnus, 'the Swan'. Another ancient greek legend says it was Zeus the God of the Sky who disguised himself as flying swan, to win over the love of Leda, the Queen of Sparta and mother to Helen who sparked the Trojan War.


The Milky Way has been the subject of various myths and legends across different cultures throughout history. In addition to the Greek and Chinese interpretations you mentioned, there are also many other myths and stories associated with it.


For example, in Norse mythology, the Milky Way was believed to be a bridge called Bifröst that connected the world of the gods, Asgard, with the human world of Midgard. In Hindu mythology, it is believed that the Milky Way is a river of milk called "Ksheer Sagar," which means "ocean of milk."


The indigenous people of Australia also have their own interpretation of the Milky Way. For them, it represents a river of stars that was created by a great serpent called the "Rainbow Serpent."


Overall, the Milky Way has been a source of inspiration and wonder for people all over the world for thousands of years, and it continues to capture our imagination even today.

Top of the Woods Eco Luxury Glamping Campsite in Pembrokeshire Cardigan Bay Wales – UK Holiday Staycation Nature Wildlife Eco and Dog Friendly Break –  The Milky Way
Artist’s conception of what Cygnus’ figure looks like, against the backdrop of stars that make up the constellation. Image Credit: Wendy Stenzel (first published on NASA Kepler website)

Some constellations are visible throughout the night and throughout the year, such as the Plough (part of the Great Bear) and the Little Bear at UK latitudes.


These constellations are close to the North Celestial Pole located by the North Star at the tip of the Little Bear's tail. Using these stars for navigation, you can always find your bearings on a clear night.

Top of the Woods Eco Luxury Glamping Campsite in Pembrokeshire Cardigan Bay Wales – UK Holiday Staycation Nature Wildlife Eco and Dog Friendly Break –  The Plough & North Star
Learn about the Stars with Top of the Woods Dark Sky Safari in Wales

Not just stars out there to see when you are camping!

Of course, there are other objects to be seen: planets; deep sky objects such as Andromeda's galaxy (best viewed through binoculars); many star clusters; artificial satellites criss-crossing the sky; and, who knows, perhaps the occasional UFO.


The Moon could be there, ever changing and ever stunning, but its shine overpowers the light of many stars, so for stargazing, times when the moon is waning or in the few days following the New Moon are best.


Then in mid-August come the shooting stars from the Perseid meteor shower, a treat for our camping and glamping dark sky, stargazing guests to watch and an experience not to be missed!


The shower is caused by debris left behind by the Swift-Tuttle comet, which intersects with the Earth's orbit and burns up in the atmosphere, creating shooting stars that streak across the sky.


For Top of the Woods camping and glamping guests, the Perseid meteor shower is a particularly special event, as it provides a unique opportunity to observe one of nature's most spectacular displays. To make the most of the experience, guests should try to find a spot with a clear view of the sky and minimal light pollution, and they should plan to spend some time outside in the early hours of the morning, when the meteor shower is typically at its most intense.


To enhance the experience even further, guests may want to get curled up in their blanket or sleeping bag to lie on, as well as some snacks and drinks to keep them comfortable and refreshed while they watch the shooting stars overhead. With a little bit of preparation and patience, guests can witness one of the most breath-taking natural displays that the night sky has to offer.

Top of the Woods Eco Luxury Glamping Campsite in Pembrokeshire Cardigan Bay Wales – UK Holiday Staycation Nature Wildlife Eco and Dog Friendly Break –  Pioneer camping  meadow unders the stars
Stargazing in the Glamping Pioneer Camp Meadow at Top of the Woods in Pembrokeshire Wales.

Top of the Woods in Pembrokeshire, Wales is the perfect destination for a stargazing holiday. With its dark skies, you can have spectacular views of our galaxy and marvel at what is considered one of the finest star-gazing spots in Europe!


Don't forget to join Alice on her Dark Sky Safari and let her guide you through the beautiful constellations and shapes that different cultures across the world have come up with. Check out our availability and make your star-gazing dreams a reality this year!






 

Top of the Woods Provides the Best Eco Luxury Glamping & Camping Holidays in Pembrokeshire and Cardigan Bay in Wales, UK. Sustainable Staycations. Beaches. Nature. Woodlands. Dog Friendly.


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