Provisional Programme of Activities
Subject to change.
Lecture tickets can be purchased at the festival only and will be on sale from Friday 1 September.
More information about the lectures coming soon!
Session 1: Friday (2.30pm - 11pm) 'Stargazing Evening'
- FREE late afternoon screening of a family friendy film: 4.30pm
- 7.30pm: FREE opening lecture.
- Viewing through the telescopes (weather permitting)
- Viewing through the smaller telescopes with amateur astronomy societies (weather permitting).
- Newton's Bar
Session 2: Saturday Day (10am - 5.30pm)
Session 3: Saturday (6.30pm - 11pm) 'Stargazing Evening'
- 8pm Pub Quiz with Steve Collingwood
- Viewing through the historic telescopes (weather permitting)
- Viewing through smaller telescopes with amateur astronomy societies (weather permitting)
- Newton's Bar
Session 4: Sunday (10am - 5pm)
- Three lectures throughout the day (£4 per person per lecture)
- Telescope talks in Dome E
- Science Shows (FREE)
- Family Workshop: 'Puppets & Rockets'
- Trade stands
- FREE talk by Elements Kapa
- Astronomy Society stands
- Newton's Bar
- Solar Observing (weather permitting)
- Grand Prize Raffle Draw
- Star Wars characters
Newtons Bar provided with thanks by Bucklers Hailsham.
There will be catering provided on the camping field thanks to Bay Tree Foods Catering Ltd. Hailsham and we have our own cafe and Launch Box inside The Centre. Please see below for more information about the catering provision.
Star Wars Characters
We are very pleased to welcome back Star Wars Characters from UK Garrison.
This year we will be joined by a Storm Trooper and 2 Biker Scouts.
Grand Prize Raffle Draw
We would once again like to thank First Light Optics for very generously donating not just one but THREE fantastic prizes for our Grand Prize Draw this year.
The draw will take place on Sunday 3 September. You do not need to be at the festival to win these prizes; they will be posted out to you if you are lucky enough to win.
Tickets are just £2 and all proceeds go towards the upkeep of our wonderful charity including the domes and telescopes.
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased either at The Centre or over the phone. Just give us a call on 01323 832731.
We would like to sincerely thank FLO for their continued support. Come and find them on one of the trade stands at the festival.
There will be another raffle drawn at the festival on Saturday 2 September. Tickets for this raffle will be on sale during the weekend and you will need to be there to win. Each of our Trade Stands very generously donate some excellent prizes and we are very grateful for their support. This year alongside First Light Optics are:
Friday Evening Speaker
Dr Robert Massey, Royal Astronomical Society
FRIDAY 7.30pm: A cluttered and noisy sky
Greg Smye-Rumsby, Astronomy Communicator
SATURDAY 10.45am: Game Changers
Dr Ryan French, National Solar Observatory (NSO), Boulder, Colorado
SATURDAY 12.15pm: Earth at Sun’s Mercy: Living under a Star
Professor Kathy Romer, University of Sussex
SATURDAY 2.15pm: Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Lucinda Offer, Royal Astronomical Society
SATURDAY 3.45pm: Who's ready for Mars?
Dr Stephen Wilkins, University of Sussex
SUNDAY 10.45am: A tale of two space telescopes: JWST and Euclid
William Roper, University of Sussex
SUNDAY 12.15pm: Building a Universe in a Box
Professor Chris Lintott, University of Oxford
SUNDAY 2.15pm: An audience with…Chris Lintott
Free Family Talk by Elements Kappa
Saturday 1.30pm: 'Elements and Superheroes'
This talk is for the young at heart! Come on a journey of discovery that looks at some of the weird and wonderful connections between elements and superheroes.
Sunday 1.30pm: 'Ironman and Supernovas'
FREE Family Workshops
This year there will be two elements to our family workshops 'Puppets & Rockets':
Short shadow puppet story of how a little rabbit reached the moon followed by an opportunity to make a simple rabbit puppet of your own. Perfect for younger guests and families.
Build and launch a fabulous air rocket: see how high it can fly!
Times: 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm
FREE Science Shows (Sunday)
'Down to Earth'
Come and learn all about Earth and how we can help to keep it healthy. You can also find out how important Earth observation satellites are to inform us about the state of our fantastic planet as we look at 'Our World from Space.'
Shows will be at 11.30am, 1.15pm and 3pm (SUNDAY ONLY)
Camp under the backdrop of the observatory domes:
- There are a limited number of pitches so BOOK EARLY!
Friday, Saturday and Sunday (1, 2 &3 September)
- £45 per pitch regardless of the number of nights. Allows up to 5 people per pitch.
- Size of pitch: 7.5m x 7.5m. Please note that we cannot accomodate tents, caravans or motorhomes that are larger than this pitch size. There are plenty of camping sites in the local area that would be more suitable for your needs.
- If you are bringing a caravan or motorhome with toilet facilities, please note that there will be no provision for emptying toilet waste.
- Pitches will be allocated beforehand on a first come first served basis. Please choose a pitch and make sure you let us know which pitch you have chosen in the special requirements section when you book on-line. While we endeavour to update the map on a regular basis we cannot guarantee that the pitch you choose will be available when you book. Please select an alternative as a back up. We will automatically give you your first choice if it is still available.Please note that there are different areas for families, adults only and general camping. Please select a pitch in the appropriate area for your group.
BOOKING CAMPING: Please click on Book Now and then click Weekend Registration. You can book camping without booking weekend registration by selecting add camping. Don't forget to let us know which camping pitch you would like to book.
PLEASE READ THE CAMPING RULES AND REGULATIONS BEFORE BOOKING YOUR PITCH.
- There are a limited number of pitches so BOOK EARLY!
Please respect our request that you don't use disposable BBQs or open fires. Thank you!
Alternative Accommodation at Herstmonceux Castle
If you do not fancy camping but wish to stay within walking distance of the festival then this year Herstmonceux Castle have some ensuite and standard rooms available. Standard rooms have shared washroom facilities.
Herstmonceux Castle is located within a 600 acre estate and as an operating International Study Centre, offers 3-star rated campus accommodation. The rooms are located in Bader Hall about 500 metres walk from the castle where breakfast is served in the dining room.
Room type Price per night Single ensuite £60.00 Double ensuite £85.00 Twin ensuite £85.00 Single standard £30.00 Twin standard £50.00
Breakfast is an additional £10 per adult; £6 per child
For bookings please contact Bader Hall on 01323 834400 or
Admission Prices 2023
If you are able to stay with us for the whole weekend then we are offering an early bird discounted rate for pre-booked weekend registration up to midnight on the 30 June.
If you are not coming for the whole weekend then you can pre-book for individual sessions.
You can pre-book weekend registration or individual sessions on-line before the event or you can pay on the day.
Pre-Booked Weekend Registration
Upto midnight on 30 June
Pre-Booked Weekend Registration or on the door
From 1 July
Price per session pre-booked or on the door
Adult £50.00 £54.00 £13.50 Child* £40.00 £42.00 £10.50 Family# of 4 £160.00 £180.00 £45.00 Family# of 5 £195.00 £220.00 £55.00 Under 4 FREE FREE FREE
*Children are 4-17 years inclusive
#Family tickets are maximum 2 adults in the group
With your weekend registration you will receive a wrist band which permits entry into The Centre from 2.30pm Friday afternoon until 5pm on Sunday (according to the session times listed below). Please note that the Centre closes between 5.30pm and 6.30pm on Saturday.
Please also note that The Centre is not open to the general public on Friday 1 September and the gates will not open until 2.30pm. We are also closed on Monday 4 September.
Weekend registration can be booked in advance on-line (does NOT include camping, planetarium or lectures). You can also pre-book each session.
Gift Tickets are NOT valid for the Astronomy Festival Weekend.
Wrist bands are not transferable and you are required to wear your wrist band at all times. The Centre reserves the right to refuse entry to anyone who is not wearing a wrist band but who claims to have purchased weekend registration.
If you do not wish to pre-book weekend registration then you are able to just turn up and pay the admission price on the door per session as above (there are four sessions including the 'Stargazing Evenings')
Opening Times (please note the Centre is not open to the general public or campers before 2.30pm):
Session 1: Friday 2.30pm - 11pm Session 2: Saturday 10am - 5.30pm Session 3: Saturday 6.30pm - 11pm Session 4: Sunday 10am - 5pm
Herstmonceux Castle is well worth a visit during your stay. There is a separate admission price.
Entry to the gardens and grounds of the castle: £8 adult, £7 senior, £3.50 child.
Other Local Accomodation
There are plenty of campsites in the local area which will provide electrical hook-up, showers and space for larger tents or vehicles. If you do not wish to camp but require local accomodation here are a few suggestions:
The Café serves a range of delicious refreshments including the necessary ‘wake-me-up’ caffeine from a bean-to-cup coffee machine! Located on the ground floor of the main corridor in a room that was an optical laboratory. The original marble bench forms the central table and the room has a retro 50s colour scheme.
Friday 2.30pm - 10.30pm Saturday 10am - 5.00pm Saturday 6.30pm - 10.30pm Sunday 10am - 4.30pm
The Launch Box
The Launch Box is part of our continuing investment as we strive to maintain and develop this historic site. The catering unit is located next to the lecture marquee. Menu includes Burgers, Cheese Burgers, Hot Dogs, Fries me to the Moon, Venus Burgers…the menu is evolving!
Friday 2.30pm - 9pm subject to demand Saturday 10am - 5.00pm Saturday 6.30pm - 9pm subject to demand Sunday 10am - 4pm subject to demand
Newton’s Bar Friday 1 - Sunday 3 September
Newton’s Bar: Bucklers Hailsham will be selling a varied selection of Beers, Wines & Spirits to suitably refresh our Astronomy Festival visitors.
Catering Unit on camping field Friday 1 – Sunday 3 September
Bay Tree Foods Catering Ltd. Hailsham will be on the camping field. Opening hours:
Friday 2pm -10pm Saturday 8am – 12pm (Breakfast) Saturday 12pm – 10pm (Lunch & Evening meals) Sunday 8am – 12pm (Breakfast)
Menu includes meat dishes beef, Pork & chicken, vegetarian dishes, hot and cold, gluten free dishes, along with an array of delicious salads to choose from.
We do our best to cater for everyone and hope that you enjoy!
Deep Sky Photography at the Festival
This fabulous photograph was taken at the festival in 2018 by a regular visitor, Ashley Fuggle. Ashley set up his equipment just as the Sun set after a lovely sunny day and as it became dark he started imaging. He left the camera to do its own thing for a total of 1 hour and 10 minutes. The image opposite is the result.
Veil Nebula and Witches Broom by Ashley Fuggle
One Moment Please
This won't take long...
Your enquiry has been sent and we will respond as soon as possible using the details you have provided
Please note we all work part-time .. if your enquiry is urgent you are welcome to call us
Astronomy Festival Enquiry
Please complete the form below:
The Observatory Science Centre is part of Science Projects Ltd, a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 02186073 and a registered charity No: 298542. The registered office is Unit 1 Warren Farm, Steventon, Basingstoke, Hampshire UK, RG25 3BL.