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The Observatory Science Centre
East Sussex
BN27 1RN
Tel: 01323 832731
Fax: 01323 832741

Email Us

Astronomy Festival ARCHIVE 2017

Well we had anoher fantastic festival and this year the weather was certainly kinder than last year. We even managed some viewing which is a great bonus!

Thank you to everyone who attended, your support is much appreciated. I would also like to thank all our speakers, Tom McGuinness for the Robots, the trade stands for their generosity with raffle prizes, Astronomy Societies, University of Sussex and UK Garrison who provided us with the highly entertaining Storm Troopers. We would also like to thank Steve Collingwood for the very entertaining AstroBingo and for all his help with raffle prizes etc. including speaking to Adam Hinds of David Hinds Ltd who we must thank for very generously donating the telescope for the Grand Prize draw which managed to raise a lot of money to help with the upkeep of our fabulous telescopes and domes.

Dates for your diary! The festival will be held on the 31st, 1st & 2nd of September in 2018 and we hope to see you there.

Bookings still being taken!

See below for all the information you need:

Catering Facilities
Alternative Accomodation at Herstmonceux Castle
Admission Prices and Times of Opening
Programme of Activities
Star Wars Characters
Grand Prize Raffle Draw
Local Accomodation

Camp under the backdrop of the observatory domes:

•There are a limited number of pitches so BOOK EARLY!
• Friday, Saturday and Sunday (1st/2nd/3rd September)
• £30 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 your pitch. 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 select your pitch from the camping site map at the top of this page before you phone the Centre to book. 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. 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.

Catering Facilities

The Centre's cafe will be open and serving a broad range of light meals, hot & cold drinks, snacks etc. plus a 'Specials' board including curry and chilli. The Centre's cafe will be open as follows:

Friday       2.30pm - 10.30pm
Saturday  10am - 5.30pm
Saturday  6.30pm - 10.30pm
Sunday     10am - 5.30pm

Ambience Catering will be providing extra catering facilities located at the top of the camping field. Their menu includes:

Breakfast: Bacon, sausage, fried egg rolls
Lunch and evening: Burgers, hot dogs and chips

Vegetarian options available

Their opening times will be:

Friday      6.30pm - 11pm
Saturday 7.30am onwards with possible breaks depending on demand
Sunday    7.30am until approximately 11am depending on demand
Alternative Accomodation 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 standard rooms available.

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.

Twin standards with shared washrooms along the corridor - £38.00

Single standard with shared washrooms along the corridor - £22.00

Prices include breakfast

For bookings please contact Bader Hall on 01323 834400 or
Admission 2017

Weekend Registration

If you are able to join us for the whole weekend then we are again offering a fantastic deal including discounted EARLY BIRD registration for all and discounts for members.




Adult Weekend Registration £40 £32 £32
Child Weekend Registration £30 £24 £24
Family of 4 Weekend Registration £110 £88 £88
Family of 5 Weekend Registration £140 £112 £112

With your weekend registration you will receive a souvenir, a ticket to visit the gardens and grounds of Herstmonceux Castle and a wrist band which permits entry into The Centre from 2.30 pm Friday afternoon until 6pm on Sunday (according to the session times listed below. Please note that the Centre closes between 6pm and 6.30pm on Saturday).

Please also note that the Centre is not open to the general public on Friday the 1st September and the gates will not open until 2.30pm. We are also closed on Monday 4th September.

Weekend registration can be booked in advance (does NOT include camping). 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.

Please just phone the Centre on 01323 832731 and you can make a booking using a credit or debit card. Thank you.

If you do not wish to prebook weekend registration then you are able to just turn up and pay the admission price per session (there are four sessions including the 'Open Evenings')

Adult: £10 per session
Child: £7.50 per session
Under 4: FREE

This price applies to EACH of the four sessions (please note that membership is not valid for the astronomy festival weekend but you can get your 20% discount on full weekend registration if you book BEFORE 1st August).

Opening Times (please note the Centre is not open to the general public or campers before 2.30pm):

Friday:        2.30pm - 11pm (also listed as an Open Evening)
Saturday:   10am - 6pm
Saturday:   6.30pm - 11pm (also listed as an Open Evening)
Sunday:     10am - 6pm

Herstmonceux Castle is well worth a visit during your stay. There is a separate admission price if you do not purchase weekend registration.

Entry to the gardens and grounds of the castle: £6 adult, £5 senior, £3 child. Tours of the castle are sometimes available at an additional cost.
Provisional Programme of Activities (subject to change)

Friday (2.30pm - 11pm)

• 4.30pm: FREE late afternoon screening of a Star Wars film
• 7.30pm: FREE opening lecture with Dr Darren Baskill (University of Sussex)
• Viewing through the historic telescopes (weather permitting)
• Viewing through smaller telescopes with amateur astronomy societies (weather permitting)
QRZ Amateur Radio Group of Sussex

Saturday Day (10am - 6pm)

• Four lectures throughout the day (£3 per person per lecture*) SPEAKER LIST
• Talks about the telescopes in Dome E
• Planetarium shows
• Trade stands
• Astronomy Society stands
• Sessions with the Telescope Doctor
• Solar Observing
Activities wih the University of Sussex
• Family Robot Workshops
• Raffle
• Newton's Bar 

Saturday Evening (6.30pm - 11pm)

• 8pm Astro Bingo with Steve Collingwood (SCTelescopes)
• Viewing through the historic telescopes (weather permitting)
• Viewing through smaller telescopes with amateur astronomy societies (weather permitting)
QRZ Amateur Radio Group of Sussex

Sunday (10am - 6pm)

• Three lectures throughout the day (£3 per person per lecture*) SPEAKER LIST
• Talks about the telescopes in Dome E
• Planetarium shows
• Family Robot workshops
• Trade stands
• A session with the Telescope Doctor
• Astronomy Society stands
• Newton's Bar
• Solar Observing

All this PLUS Spectacular Science exhibits both indoors and outdoors.

The UK Garrison Group with characters from Star Wars will be back again on Sunday this year.

*SPECIAL OFFER LECTURE TICKETS: If you would like to pre-book ALL 7 lectures then we are offering 7 for the price of 6.

Your chance to win a Celestron Cosmos 90GT Wi-Fi Telescope (SRP £339) while helping to raise much needed funds to preserve our wonderful historic telescopes and domes.

The Observatory Science Centre would like to thank David Hinds Ltd for generously donating this fantastic prize.

The raffle will be drawn on Sunday 3rd September and the winner will be notified and their prize delivered as soon as possible thereafter.

Interact with the night sky in a whole new way using the COSMOS 90GT Wi-Fi telescope and your smartphone or tablet! The COSMOS Celestron Navigator mobile app replaces the traditional telescope hand control for a 100% wireless experience.

Just hold your smart device up to the night sky. When you find an object you’d like to view, tap the screen. Your COSMOS 90GT automatically slews to the object, while the screen displays information about it. It’s never been more fun to explore the universe!
Tickets are £5.00
Interactive activities with the University of Sussex SEPnet (South East Physics Network) team


Come and have fun with a host of interactive activities including particle zoo and particle lego; Marshmallows in a bottle; Kebab stick through a balloon.
Sort out your telescope with the TELESCOPE DOCTOR

Come along with your telescope based questions for informal advice from Steve Collingwood of SCTelescopes, one of the UK’s top professional telescope engineers and master craftsmen.

Steve will be running drop-in group sessions during the following times in Dome B:

11am - 12 Noon
2pm - 3pm

11am - 12 Noon
QRZ Amateur Radio Group of Sussex

QRZ ARGoS will be opening its doors on both evenings over the Astronomy Festival and you are welcome to visit them to find out what they are doing.

They are based in the Radio Shack which is on the road leading up to the information tent.

The club was originally formed in 1998 under the name SCAREG, the South Coast Amateur Radio Events Group, with the aim of making the hobby more accessible and interesting to the general public.

Since then they have changed their name to QRZ ARGoS, the Amateur Radio Group of Sussex.

They run a multitude of special events throughout the year with the aim of encouraging more people, both new and old, to join the world of Amateur Radio. Several courses are run each year covering all three levels of licence namely, the new Foundation Licence, the Intermediate Licence and also for the Radio Amateur Examination (RAE) to gain the full licence. The clubroom is in the grounds of Herstmonceux Castle and Science Centre which gives a great opportunity to invite members of the general public into the clubhouse whilst they are visiting the centre.

All visitors are welcome to the clubhouse to experience Amateur Radio at its best.

Local Accommodation

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:

Cleavers Lyng B&B
Halfway House B&B
Big Sky Tipi luxury camping
Wartling Place B&B
Butlers Farm House B&B
Stone Acre Lodge B&B
Sandhurst B&B
Ivydene Guest Accomodation
Lamb Inn, Wartling
Camping Site Map
Camping Rules and Regulations