If it is peace and tranquility you are after, look no further than Kielder Water and Forest Park. It is famed for having the darkest night skies in England, thanks to minimal light pollution, and also happens to be situated in Northumberland, which was recently voted the most tranquil spot in the country by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
The park is home to northern Europe’s largest man-made lake and England’s largest forest. With more than 232 square miles (600 sq km) to explore by bike, on horseback, or on foot, the park is so large that there is room to get away from it all and not bump into another soul for hours. For leisurely strolls or rides, there is a multitude of forest trails to choose from, including the lakeside way, which hugs the 27-mile (43-km) Kielder Water shoreline. In this haven for wildlife, expect to see deer, otters, badgers, bats, and rare species of birds. The park is also home to around 60 percent of England’s native red squirrel population, the last remaining stronghold in the country.
Thanks to its inky black skies, Kielder Water and Forest Park and the Kielder Observatory are perfect for stargazing; you can learn more about astronomy in the observatory, which is open most days and occasionally in the evenings. There is also an abundance of contemporary art and architecture in this striking rural setting. With plenty of picnic spots and places to eat throughout the park, visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to spending a day or weekend in this most peaceful area of England.