Go stargazing afloat

The Brecon Beacons National Park is an International Dark Sky Reserve.

On clear nights, stargazers can see the Milky Way, major constellations, star clusters, and even meteor showers.

Running through the Brecon Beacons National Park, the Monmouthshire & Brecon offers the chance to take a stargazing holiday afloat.  Narrowboat holiday-makers can set off from our Goytre base, near Abergavenny.

The canal stretches 35 miles from Brecon to Cwmbran.  As well as dark night skies, this peaceful waterway offers canal boat holiday-makers incredible mountain views, a series of villages with country pubs, and a wealth of wildlife to watch out for along the way.

Route options

On a four night break from our narrowboat hire base at Goytre Wharf, you can cruise to Talybont-on-Usk and back.  The journey there and back covers a total of 38 miles.  It passes through 10 locks, and takes around 18 hours.

On a week away, you can continue on to Brecon, travelling a total of 51 miles, passing through 12 locks (six each way).  This takes around 24 cruising hours.

There are a number of recommended stargazing locations close to the canal.  These include Sugar Loaf Mountain near Abergavenny and Llangors Lake near Brecon.  The best times to go stargazing are the days before, during and soon after each new moon.

2021 celestial events to plan a stargazing holiday afloat

  • Lyrid Meteor Shower 22-23 April & International Dark Sky Week (19-25 April)
  • Eta Aquarid Meteors 6-7 May, made up of dust particles left by the Halley comet
  • Micro New Moon, 11 May
  • New Moon, 10 June
  • New Moon, 10 July
  • Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower, 28-29 July
  • New Moon, 8 August
  • New Moon, 7 September
  • New Moon, 6 October
  • Draconids Meteor Shower, 7 October
  • Orionids Meteor Shower, 21-22 October

2021 prices from Goytre start at £649 for a short break (three or four nights) on a boat for up to four people, £999 for a week. Price includes boat hire, damage waiver, gas, parking, tuition, towels, bedding and first pet.  Fuel is extra, charged based on use, circa £10-15 per day.

This Dark Sky Calendar helps pinpoint the best nights to go star gazing www.gostargazing.co.uk