It’s the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest achievements of the Western World in the 20th century this weekend; landing on the moon. The Apollo 11 anniversary has led to some amazing TV programmes and Netflix documentaries, but if you’re in the UK, where can you go to get some more…education? Don’t worry – as self confessed space nerds, we’ve got you covered.
1. Royal Observatory, London
The UK’s only planetarium, you’d expect them to have plenty of things on to celebrate, and they do, they have a whole series of events on, from moon themed planetarium shows to a free Marvellous Moons exhibition, and screenings of “First Man”.
While you’re there: Astronomy photographer of the year exhibition.
2. Science Museum, London
Celebrating the history of human space exploration over a three-month festival, there are lunar events, for all ages, at the Science Museum. Highlights of the family festival this weekend include astronaut dressing up and a sleepover in the museum on Saturday with a lunar rover workshop and an astronaut’s “guts in space” show. Michael Palin will be introducing a special screening of The Clangers also on Saturday. There’s also daily virtual reality experience with Tim Peake, the European Space Agency’s first British astronaut, plus space exhibitions, and a moon-themed short film festival (next weekend) in the IMAX cinema.
While you’re there: Watch new blockbuster Apollo 11 in the IMAX during special screenings on Saturday!
3. National Space Centre, Leicester
Spend the evening in the National Space Centre galleries with an optional sleepover including breakfast under the rockets. Visitors will get the chance to see the new exhibition Britain’s Space Race and take part in lunar mission workshops. Talks from scientists and Apollo experts include professional spacesuit maker Stephen Wisdom; plus planetarium shows through the night, a silent disco, costume competition, and astronaut ice-creams. .
While you’re there: check out the other events at the museum, as part of One Giant Leap series (13 July-1 September). These include drop-in mission patch-making workshops and lunar sample handling.
4. Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester
Not strictly speaking running many public events around the weekend, they do have the amazing exhibition that was in the Science Museum and we visited earlier this year called the Sun. You can see our visit here, and book tickets to the Manchester exhibition here.
While you’re there: Experience a breathtaking interactive art environment where you can see, hear and even touch the sounds that travel through the atmosphere in “Atmospheric Memory“.
5. Blue Dot Festival, Cheshire
The annual Blue Dot Festival welcomes a stellar array of acts including Hot Chip, Kraftwerk, New Order and Jarvis Cocker. On top of the cosmic musical performances, there will be lectures, stargazing, interactive displays at the Space Pavilion, and the Luminarium, an immersive experience of labyrinthine tunnels and cavernous domes. Our favourite festival, it’s family friendly and super fun.
While you’re there: Make sure you see Brian Eno. Enjoy all of the amazing Apollo events they have on for the whole weekend!
6. Natural History Museum, London
Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon opened at the Natural History Museum in May, and quickly became an Instagrammer’s favourite. London’s largest bauble gives you a chance to bask in the moonlight while studying the cratered surface up close. Look out for free daily performances beneath the model, and a whole programme of events around it, our favourites looking like yoga under the moon and cheese and wine under the moon!
While you’re there: Performances on Saturday exploring the relationship between our planet and the Moon. “Landing on the moon” free talk at 12.30 and 14.30 on Saturday.
7. First Man festival, County Durham
In open pastureland under the dark skies of the County Durham countryside, First Man is hosted by the team from astronomy site Go Stargazing, with planetarium shows, a virtual reality rocket launch experience and astronomy talks and demos. Arts and crafts workshops include build-your-own-rocket and an introduction to telescopes. You can view the moon, Saturn, Jupiter, and the sun through special solar telescopes. There’ll also be space for camping, a refreshment stall and music in the evenings alongside the stargazing.
8. Apollo 50 festival, Cornwall
This new one-day science, music and arts festival takes place at Goonhilly Earth Station and is headlined this year by Orbital and Public Service Broadcasting. The programme also includes performances by the Bowie Lounge and BBC Radiophonic Workshop. There will also be film screenings, a wave laser music workshop, rocket club, tech jam, stargazing and talks. Camping in a field with a small cafe-bar and a view of the dishes is included in the ticket price.