Godlee Observatory, Manchester – Stargaze with Company.
If there’s ever a romantic image, it’s of a couple looking up towards the night sky, stargazing in each other’s company.
However, this doesn’t have to be relegated to rom-com cliché, or isn’t the exclusive right of those living in the countryside, miles away from light pollution. No, the intimate pleasure of pondering the scale of the Universe and the constellations that embroider it with a loved one is very much within the grasp of the urbanite. Manchester’s Godlee Observatory allows visitors to use its telescope and gaze upon the heavens right in the heart of the City Centre. Whether you’re a practicing astronomer, a love-struck couple or simply a fan of Brian Cox, then the Godlee Observatory provides a novel and exciting thing to do in the City.
A Century Old but Time (And Space) is Relative.
Godlee is an old and refurbished astronomical observatory set in a tower of the roof in the University of Manchester’s Sackville Street building. The Observatory was gifted to the City of Manchester by the eponymous Francis Godlee, when its construction was completed in 1903. Although owned by the City, Godlee is operated by the Manchester Astronomical Society, whom provides safety instructions and offer assistance to its visitors. In fact, due to the sensitive equipment, visitors must be accompanied by a warden or a trained society member.
You can visit Godlee Observatory both as a guest and a member of the Astronomy Society, and either way can use both the telescope and attend the weekly lectures. However, visitors without university swipe cards will need to phone the observatory on 0161 306 4977 to be let in, and group visits must be booked in advance.
Views of the Heavens, and the Hilton.
The Godlee Observatory is a veritable hidden gem. The observatory receives much fewer visitors than it deserves but the plus side is that means the space is less likely to be busy or crowded during your visit. Truly, the ascent up the spirals staircase into the observatory Complex is a special experience. The expansive views of not only the stars but also the City of Manchester itself are elating in both a literal and figurative sense. Nestled in a beautiful dome, the views from the Observatory’s balcony alone are exceptional, yielding panoramic pleasure for all the senses.
For both an intimate and vast experience, I can recommend no greater thing to do in Manchester than visit the Godlee Observatory. Simply, I can picture no greater way to end a date in the City Centre. With the Observatory being on the doorstep of so many City Bars, then there’s no excuse not to surprise your partner with a spontaneous visit to raise the bar, and scope of your experience.