2019 is a big deal for space exploration, marking 50 years since the first moon landing. If you love nothing more than learning about our incredible solar system, or get excited by the thought of stargazing in the British countryside, snuggled under a cosy blanket, there are some unmissable events and unique star spotting locations to visit on your next trip to Britain.
1. Natural History Museum, London
Relax and stretch at a unique yoga class underneath a seven-metre artistic representation of the moon, recreated using detailed imagery from NASA. With multiple events running throughout July and August 2019, you can experience different types of yoga classes in this atmospheric environment, including vinyasa, a crystal ball sound bath, a gong bath, slow flow yoga and reiki drumming. There is also a family-friendly yoga class available in the same setting. Tickets start from £19, rising to £26 per person for gong meditation or reiki drumming.
In collaboration with South Kensington cheese shop, La Cave à Fromage, the Natural History Museum presents an evening of cheese and wine tasting, underneath Luke Jerram’s moon installation, The Museum of the Moon. Nibble on four different cheeses paired with wine, while a museum scientist shares their knowledge of the moon and talks through a few pieces in the related collection. Originally a trio of events, the third in the series on the 20th August is the only one that still has availability. Tickets cost £48.75, with a discounted price available for members.
Exploring the relationship between the earth and moon, the Natural History Museum presents ‘Companion: Moon’, a performance of multiple art forms, under the same moon installation ‘The Museum of the Moon’. Get inspired by conversations with museum scientists during this free 15-minute performance which runs throughout July and August.
2. Science Museum, London
Celebrate space exploration with a three-month ‘Summer of Space’ festival of celestial events at the Science Museum, running from July to September. Highlights include an IMAX screening of Apollo 11: First Steps Edition, documenting the lift-off, journey and return home of the first moon landing expedition. Tickets are £11 for adults and £23 for a family.
Head to the Science Museum on 31st July for an insightful evening of talks focusing on moon conspiracy theorists. You’ll hear from a range of experts, including lecturers in psychology and space science, as they discuss and debunk some of the major conspiracy theories surrounding the 1969 moon landing and share their insights on the rise of fake news and the impact of social media. Tickets cost £10.
Until September you can join British astronaut Tim Peake for an immersive 360° virtual reality space experience, in Space Descent VR with Tim Peake. Go on a mission from the seat of the Soyuz capsule and gain a near first-hand glimpse into an astronaut’s space journey. Tickets cost £7.
Running until November, the Legend of Apollo 3D computer animation uses moving seats, wind, water and lighting alongside an in-depth 3D film to create an entirely immersive lunar event. Shown across two rooms, the pre-show documentary sets the scene, before you use 3D glasses to enjoy the main animation on a virtual journey to the moon. Tickets cost £4.
3. The Museum of the Moon, UK Tour
Touring the UK throughout 2019, the Museum of the Moon is an awe-inspiring art installation by artist Luke Jerram. Made using imagery of the surface from NASA and measuring seven metres in diameter, this glowing representation of the moon will be showing at atmospheric locations including Derby Cathedral, Leicester Cathedral and Rievaulx Abbey.
4. Royal Museum Greenwich, London
The Moon Exhibition, the UK’s largest exhibition dedicated to Apollo 11’s moon exploration, will land at the National Maritime Museum this July. Running until January 2020, the exhibition will map the social and scientific journey of space exploration and the cultural importance of the moon in society. You’ll also have the chance to see over 180 objects, including artefacts and equipment from the original Apollo 11 mission, as well as the fascinating lunar samples on display. Adult tickets cost £9, children £5.85 and students £6.
Year-round stargazing in the UK
5. Royal Observatory, London
Offering four different stellar shows, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich gives you an in-depth glance into our universe through projections and visualisations. Currently showing is Moons Beyond Counting, The Sky Tonight Live, Meet the Neighbours and a special show just for children, Ted’s Space Adventure. Held in the Peter Harrison Planetarium within the Royal Observatory, adult tickets cost £9, children £5.85 and students £6 for each event.
6. Battlestead Hotel and Observatory, Northumberland
An official ‘Dark Skies Discovery Site’, Battlestead Observatory offers talks, events and astronomy classes, as well as a hideaways for star spotting. Unleash your inner scientist at Stargazing and Moonwatching as you learn how to identify wrinkle ridges, lunar rilles, craters and volcanoes on the moon. You can also embark on ‘Astronomy for Absolute Beginners’ classes and partake in Aurora Hunting, detailing how to spot the Northern Lights and where to go to see them. Ticketed events cost £22.50 for adults, and £19.50 for concessions.
7. Dark Sky Sites, UK
Boasting four of the thirteen official Dark Skies Reserves in the world, if you’re a serious stargazer then Britain is the place to be. Thanks to their very limited light pollution, National Parks such as Brecon Beacons, Exmoor, Snowdonia, Northumberland and South Downs have been recognised as some of the best spots for enjoying the night sky in the UK, while many others are designated Dark Sky Discovery Sites.