Tour of Jodrell Bank

Join us for a visit to outer space!

jodrell bank observatory
This is a past event
Date and time
18 May 2023
11.00 am

Jodrell Bank



Join us for a visit to outer space!

We have arranged for a group of 21 Lit & Phil members to have special rates for admission to the site, including admission to their Dome Show in the new First Light Pavilion – which opened in June 2022.

Jodrell Bank remains at the cutting edge of astrophysics and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2019, for its pioneering work in helping to understand the Universe and our place within it.

How did this cutting-edge technology come to be located in a field in Cheshire?

Sir Bernard Lovell came to the University of Manchester in 1945 to study cosmic rays. He needed to perform his radar experiments well away from his Manchester laboratory, where there was no interference from the city’s electric trams. Some land in Cheshire, close to a nearby rise in the ground, called Jodrell Bank, was being used by the University botany department and Sir Bernard set up his equipment there. This was the start of radio astronomy at what is now known at Jodrell Bank Observatory.

Collaboration with an engineer from Sheffield eventually resulted in the construction of a giant radio telescope, known these days as the Lovell Telescope. It played a key role in the space race of the 50s and 60s and was the only telescope in the world capable of locating and tracking the carrier rocket which launched ‘Sputnik’ in 1957.

Bernard Lovell (1913-2012) remained an honorary member of the Lit & Phil for many years and was presented with our Dalton Medal in 2009.

This should be a really enjoyable visit, and places are limited, so book soon to avoid missing out.


Event itinerary:

Please make your own way to the site. Travel advice can be found on Jodrell Bank’s website.

11.00 am – Meet at the site entrance. We will then explore the Exhibition pathway, towards the First Light Pavilion. Here, you can view the ‘Story of Jodrell Bank’ exhibit, detailing Sir Bernard’s involvement.

12.00 pm – Watch the Space Dome Show

12.45 pm onwards – Visit the rest of the site, which contains 4 Pavilions, several outdoor exhibitions and an arboretum.


Good to know: Lunch can be purchased in the café in the First Light Pavilion (NB this is not included in the ticket price).

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our e-newsletter to receive exclusive content and all the latest Lit & Phil news

* indicates required