Where to See the Sky in Somerset & Beyond

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Where to see the sky for the solar eclipse


It’s 1999 and the news channels are reporting on a total eclipse in August. That same summer, a teacher in London is standing in front of her class; teaching an important lesson about astronomy with a visual aid to help her. She holds up the aid and recites “Full moon.” The class dutifully recites it back “Full moon!”. She takes a bite; “Half moon”. She pops the rest in her mouth “Total eclipse!” and starts all over again.

For kids in the 90’s; that iconic jaffa cake advert may have completely eclipsed the occasion itself. We bet you can’t remember the eclipse itself but if we said Full Moon you'd blurt out an automated call response (and get a craving for the chocolatey orange treat).

This year, on April 8th 2024, the moon will pass between the sun and the earth again, causing a total eclipse across much of North America, and parts of Mexico and Canada. It seems perfectly timed with the release of the intergalactic Dune sequel last month and the opening of iconic desert festival Coachella on April 12th; and has inspired us to become intrepid sky seekers this month. For those lucky enough to be in North America just in time for the eclipse; Lexi gives us her top three places to get out and under the stars, and for those just looking to get their get their astronomer out; discover our team’s top three places in Bath and beyond to stargaze.


Lexi’s top places to see the sky in time for the solar eclipse:

I’m not a big camper but I spent many summers on Higgins Lake in Northern Michigan. It's the type of place where the sun shines high until 10pm and the lake teams hosted swimming lessons to minnow catching from morning until dusk. Evenings of fireworks for the 4th of July and lots of obligatory bonfires to make the best s’mores possible! I don’t think anyone could go wrong with a trip to any of the lakes in northern America especially along the coastline of Lake Michigan which is one of the largest and most majestic freshwater lakes you can imagine.

Lake in Northern Michigan

If you’re doing a road trip in America (and you’re already listening to Beyonce’s country album on repeat), I would highly recommend a stop in Cody, Wyoming for a full on rodeo experience, country western dancing, and even an old western shootout on Main Street. There are plenty of outdoor vistas to take advantage of and the many streams that run into our national parkland of Yellowstone provide peaceful camping and fly fishing. Just remember it’s bear country out there so make sure you’re keeping safe!

Sky View in America

Lastly, I experienced the Pacific Coast Highway a few years back and the drive along the coast of California was a bucket list tick for touring, but what most inspired me were the immense redwood forests. Just because you can’t see a clear view of the sky doesn’t mean it’s without reach. Dappled sunshine is gorgeous but dappled starlight in a forest of towering redwood trees is an experience you could never forget.

Our team’s best outdoor spaces to visit in Bath:

For the best view of Bath:

Bathwick Meadow - A favourite among locals to see the fireworks at the Rec and there’s a reason why; this elevated spot is part of the Bath skyline and offers a panoramic view of Bath from Prior Park Gardens and Alexandra Park to Beckford’s tower (that odd tower on the hill that you keep forgetting to research what it is). Of course, Bath’s bottom-of-the-basin position and pollution problems mean you certainly aren’t guaranteed stars but it’s just a short walk away from the town centre so if it’s cloudy; at least there’s a pub or two nearby.

Scenic Views of Bath

For the best sky view in the Bath area and the chance for a ghost sighting: 

Browne’s Folly - A little further afield but worth the short drive from Bath; the ancient woodland and old mining caves have been nicknamed ‘Sally in the Woods’, a name that’s been attributed to either royal soldiers ‘sallying through’ or the ominous Blair Witch style ghost reported to dwell in the deeper parts of the woods.

If you’re feeling particularly brave, the tower itself has some very questionable health and safety regulations. A lack of stair railings means even the bravest find themselves literally crawling on all fours halfway up but the tower's position means you’re guaranteed some cracking starlit views even if you do stay on the ground.

For a sea view in Somerset:

Brean, Somerset - A staggering cliffside view that gives you a picture perfect horizon of sea and stars. Take a hike up the winding path up the protruding cliff that butts out over the water and share a packet of jaffa cakes with a fellow stargazer. We love this in non-touristy months when the car park is quiet and we order fish and chips afterwards without much of a wait.

Brean, Somerset

Visiting Bath? Come and visit us in store and let us know your favourite spots you’ve found in the area so far!

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