FAQs about visits
-What happens if the weather is bad?
The visit will run as planned, unfortunately with the exception of opening the domes and looking through the telescopes. You will still be able to visit the domes and see how the telescopes operate.
If it rains, please come prepared to do some walking outside (bring umbrella, rain coats, etc).
-How far is the Observatory from the reception?
There is a 300 metre walk from the Bayfordbury Science Building/car park to the Observatory.
-Can we bring outside food into the Observatory?
Food and drink may be consumed in the dining area in the Bayfordbury Science Building, however the Observatory is a science laboratory and we ask our visitors not to bring or consume food or drink at the Observatory itself.
-If I need to cancel my reservation, can I get a refund?
We do not offer refunds once booked.
-Is the Observatory wheelchair accessible?
Yes, the Bayfordbury Science Building where the first part of the visit will take place has a ramp to the door and lift. Our two largest telescope domes are wheelchair accessible and these are used for private visits and will be open for open evenings. However it is unlikely a wheelchair user will be able to look through the eyepieces due to the nature of the telescope geometry. A wheelchair user can look through one of our portable telescopes located at the observatory.
Please contact us beforehand to discuss any other specific accommodations which may need to be made.
During private visits you may use your own transport (car/minibus) to drive passengers up to the Observatory from the Bayfordbury Science Building and back. For safety reasons vehicular traffic is not allowed up to the Observatory during public open evenings.
-When can I book a private visit?
You may request a visit between October and March on evenings when our undergraduate practicals are not taking place. Available dates can be viewed in our calendar. We can only consider visit requests once the dates of our practicals are finalised, which is usually in October.
We currently only offer private visits during weekdays.
-How long does the visit take?
Each visit usually takes 2 hours.
-Can I add more people to my booking after I paid?
You may request that by contacting us.
Please be aware that we only accept cheques in these cases (on the day of the visit) and that we can only accommodate a maximum of 40 people in total.
-If I'm booking for a group of kids, can the parents come along?
Parents are welcome to attend too, but must be included in the group total when booking.
-Can I request the visit to be longer or shorter?
We have a maximum of 2 hours per visit but you may request it to finish earlier if required. Just let our guides know about your request when arriving.
-Is there a bar or cafeteria available to get food?
No, but we have a water dispenser and a vending machine in the Bayfordbury Science Building.
-Where can I park?
There are two car parks at the entrance of the university campus, next to the Bayfordbury Science Building. Please do not drive up to the Observatory itself as there may be nobody to greet you.
-Where should I go when I arrive?
Park in either of the car parks near the entrance of the campus and follow the signs to the reception of the Bayfordbury Science Building where you will be met by our guides. Please do not drive or walk up to the Observatory itself as there may be nobody to greet you.
-Do you provide special needs tours?
Yes, please refer any special needs questions to our group visits coordinator.