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Night tripping: Dark skies season 2023

Flecks of comet tails, Milky Way whirls, an infinity of stars. The clarity of the Lake District’s skies makes them a portal to the universe, and the natural spot to enjoy some Cumbrian dark sky action this autumn. We share a taste of what to keep your eyes peeled for…

Dark skies cumbria

This season, a host of celestial celebrations are taking place across the region. Taking in everything from high-tech stargazing to lunar bathing and night-time paddle-outs – the Cumbrian Dark Skies Festival from the 28 October to the 18 November, shines a light on the wonder of these skies, which remain untouched by light pollution.

As well as a series of weekly stargazing and monthly full moon swims on Ullswater from the Another Place jetty with Colin Hill, and a horse box sauna on our Ullswater shoreline, we’ve handpicked a selection of some of our other favourite events happening after lights out…


la'al horsebox sauna

La’al horsebox sauna

21 October to 25 November

Pulling up to our lakeshore this season, we welcome La’al Horsebox – a custom built wood-fired sauna for guests and day visitors to sit, relax, and feel the heat. Embrace the endorphins as you step between hot and cold.

Sessions take place as the light ebbs away, and whether or not you’ve braved a lake swim during the day, watching the moon reflected in the surface of the lake from the comfort of your sauna bench is truly unique.  Sauna sessions last for 30 minutes and take up to four people. £10pp

Stargazing lake district

Oar-inspired Coniston

Cast off on a nighttime canoe across Coniston Water, watching as the cosmos comes out to play.

Setting out in daylight, you’ll have the chance to get to grips with paddling your canoe, ready for the lights-out action later. As the daylight fades, you’ll pitch up at a secluded bay to catch the sun dip below the mountains, before heading back out to spot constellations and, if the skies are clear, marvel at the Milky Way.

Well-versed guides will open up the lake’s lesser known areas, so as well as marvelling at the skies above, you can discover hidden coves and remote islands on back on Planet Earth too.

Autumn moon

Lunar Bathing in Whinlatter

30 November

Clarity, comfort and an inner sense of calm – the ancient Japanese art of ‘Forest Bathing’ is known for its power to rejuvenate body and spirit, as well as forging a deeper affinity with nature. This November, some lunacy is being thrown into the mix too, as a waning gibbous (90% full) illuminates a mindful meander through the forest.

Tuning in to the rustle of animals, the lick of cool night air, and trees bathed in moonlight, walkers will be led on a sensory experience that taps into the moon’s energy. The silvery light and shadows of the forest add to a sense of awe and wonder, releasing dopamine, lowering stress levels, and enhancing your immune system, according to some.

Led by a Dark Skies Ambassador, you’ll be guided in a short meditation, before pointing out stars, planets and constellations along the way. 

The dark skies in Cumbria

Silvery pools. Jutting peaks. Lush fells. The untamed majesty of the Lake District has enthralled visitors for centuries. Now though, a less earthly natural asset is taking centre stage – a second landscape reflected in the glassy lakes below: the night sky.