Another planet at Jodrell Bank
It’s like something out of a sci-fi film – you’ll be driving through the Cheshire countryside when the crest of a massive dish comes into view over the horizon.
That’s how you know you’ve found the Jodrell Bank Observatory, home to one of the world’s largest radio telescopes and a great place to visit for a family weekend break.
Jodrell Bank was conceived in 1945 by Bernard Lovell, who helped to pioneer radar during World War II. The 76-metre Lovell Telescope allowed physicists to observe cosmic rays and, since then, has been upgraded to offer an astounding view of the universe.
For visitors of all ages Jodrell Bank offers a brilliant chance to explore the wonders of science, and a lot of thought has been put into providing an experience that is both fun and educational.
Start in the Planet Pavilion to discover the fundamentals of our solar system. The displays include the world’s largest clockwork scale model of the planets, called an Orrery; simply turn the handle to see them in motion.
At the Space Pavilion you’ll discover how the dish itself works and why the information it gathers is so important. Settle in to some interesting documentaries, take the opportunity to hear what the Big Bang would have sounded like, then take part in a host of interactive activities. If you’re lucky, there may be a live talk happening in the Star Pavilion.
Get some fresh air at the Jodrell Bank Arboretum, a beautiful family-friendly space in the grounds of Jodrell the Centre where you can lay out a spread for a picnic or simply enjoy 35 acres of lovelycountryside including a playground as well as the fascinating tree collection. Make sure you whisper a message to a friend through the popular Whispering Dishes to discover why the shape of the Lovell telescope is so important.
Venture off the paths to explore further and you’ll find an apiary and beehives (for the famous Jodrell Bank bees!), ponds, a bird hide, and even a giant sculpture of a meteorite! Remember to bring your wellies if the weather’s been rainy as it can get a little muddy in places.
If all this isn’t enough, there’s also a top-quality restaurant, so you can enjoy a great meal and discuss the mysteries of the universe, before walking it off in the scenic Cheshire hills just outside, maybe musing on how ‘big’ everything is in our world.
If it’s a last minute weekend break or something planned then you can also take in the sights and sounds of Manchester which is only a 30 minute drive away from Jodrell Bank. From the bustling city centre streets to the iconic Old Trafford stadium or the shopper’s paradise of the Intu centre, there’s more than enough to round off your stay in the region with fun activities for the entire family.
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