Last night we went over to a Herstmoncuex Observatory open evening. If you're even just remotely interested in astronomy or space, this is well worth a visit. All the usual hands-on science displays and exhibits are open - these are great for kids, but I quite enjoy them myself too.
Of course, they do look a bit weird lit in red lights! This is necessary to avoid ruining your night vision, which you'll be needing when it comes to looking through telescopes...
Outdoors, the courtyard is also lit in red, though you may still want to bring a torch - red ones preferred, of course!
The real treat is looking through the big telescopes. Some of these are up to 150 years old, but have been restored to working order and are still much, much bigger than anything you could have at home in your garden!
They used to be part of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, and were moved to Herstmonceux when the the light pollution got too bad in London. Of course, the same happened here due to Eastbourne, and the RGO is on an island overseas somewhere now.
As well as these, out in the courtyard are lots of telescopes of varying designs and sizes, provided by the local astronomy club and its members. These are all pointing at various interesting points in the sky, and available for visitors to look through:
I tried taking a few photos of the sky with my camera, and got this one of Cassiopeia:
The Milky Way is running vertically through the centre of this one, though you'll probably have to take my word for it!
It all takes me back to before we had the woodland, when I had time to do my own astrophotography in the back garden - here's a few of my best pictures...
Maybe I'll get back into this one day, but it'll probably have to wait till I retire!