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Practical Action is Bluedot’s Charity Partner.

We’re thrilled to have Practical Action on board once again as one of bluedot’s official charity partners for 2018.

Practical Action is a global innovator, inspiring people to discover and adopt ingenious, practical ways to free themselves from poverty and disadvantage. Their projects help communities across the globe, including in Asia, Africa and South America and their inspirational body of work covers sustainable agriculture, water, sanitation and waste, access to energy and reducing vulnerability to disasters.

Practical Action CEO, Paul Smith Lomas has said We are really excited to be partnering with Bluedot for a third year. The line-up is incredible and it’s a great opportunity to generate some strong support and advocates for Practical Action.

Our ambition is to create a world where all men and women have access to the technology they need to meet their needs and reach their potential. Sustainability and innovation are at the heart of everything we do so Bluedot is the perfect fit for us.”

You’ll be able to visit members of the Practical Action team at Bluedot (19-22 July) at their festival stall in the Planet Field, where they’ll be running a range of drop-in activities, demonstrating how their work transforms lives.

Plus, new for 2018, Practical Action will also be running two hands-on workshops at the festival’s Launch Pad, including The Floating Garden Challenge, and Ditch the Dirt.

Find out what they got up to at bluedot last year…

Bluedot takes place on 19-22 July at Jodrell Bank. Find out more, including how to book tickets here


Join us this summer for Operation Earth!

Join us at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre this summer as we celebrate the wonder of our home planet and dive into the exciting world of environmental science.

We’ve teamed up with the Association of Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to bring you a host of hands-on and interactive events and activities as part of a nation-wide engagement project called Operation Earth

From 28th July – 2nd September, visitors to Jodrell Bank will be able to take part in a range of activities, science shows, Q&A sessions, hands-on crafts, and guided tours. You can even make your own planet pledge to add to our wall.

Highlights include Operation Earth Activities. -Taking place every day throughout the school holidays, drop-in and learn more about the current issues facing our planet and what you can do to help.

You won’t want to miss our Operation Earth Science Show either, full of live experiments and interactive demonstrations, join us as we investigate Earthy’s land, air and oceans to see how we can work together to help.

Our popular Meet the Expert sessions are back too, this time with a weekly environmental scientist from The University of Manchester to answer all your questions.

And, every Thursday will see a special Garden Make and Take where you can make your own environmentally-friendly plant pot to take home with a new wildflower friend!

There’s plenty to explore at Jodrell Bank this summer and all events and activities are FREE with general admission.

What’s on at a glance…

Operation Earth Science Show
Every weekday from 30th July – 31st August

Operation Earth Activities
Every day, 28th July – 31st August

Meet the Expert
Tuesday 31st July – Tuesday 28th August

Meet the Environmental Expert
Every Wednesday, 1st – 29th August

Tiny Space Explorer Tours
Every Monday and Friday from 30th July – 31st August

Live Beekeeping Demonstrations
Every Thursday, 2nd – 30th August

Garden Make and Take
Every Thursday, 2nd – 30th August

Galaxy Garden Tours
Every Thursday, 2nd – 30th August

Telescope Walking Tours
Every day, 28th July – 2nd September

Book Admission Tickets

Click here to start planning your trip today – we’ll see you soon!

Volunteers Week at Jodrell Bank

This week marks Volunteers Week and we want to send a huge thank you to all the volunteers here at Jodrell Bank.

From Astronomers, Beekeepers and Birdwatchers to Fern and Fungi experts, Gardeners, Gooseberry Growers and Wildlife Explorers, we have an army of supporters who give us their time, hard work and enthusiasm to help protect and celebrate this important site.

We’ve been working hard to develop volunteering opportunities at Jodrell Bank as part of our Heritage Lottery funded First Light Project. Here’s some of the wonderful work our volunteers get up to:

Our monthly Garden Volunteer days involve 12 regular gardeners who come to help us look after the 35 acres of beautiful arboretum here at Jodrell Bank, as well as helping to build homes for wildlife.

The brilliantly enthusiastic RSPB Wildlife Explorers join us several times a year for work party days, bringing with them a wealth of experience and oodles of energy.

The North West Fungi Group visit once a year for National Fungi Day, bringing over 100 different varieties of fungi found in the North West for a spectacular display, as well as forays into our own arboretum to spot the 120 or so fungi we have here.

Keen amateur astronomers Macclesfield Astronomical Society join our Engagement teams at several of our Stargazing evenings throughout the year, offering attendees the chance of glimpsing the stars and moon through a telescope or binoculars alongside learning about how to navigate the night sky.

The Goostrey Gooseberry Society are just around the corner from us and we’re forging a new friendship with them to explore the heritage of our site. A former gardener here and local resident Frank Carter bred 18 cultivars of Gooseberry, several of which were grown on site here, including Jodrell White and Blackden Gem. A handful of the growers know the best way to grow prize winning berries and have been sharing their wisdom with some of our garden volunteers in a bid to carry on the tradition of showing Gooseberries at the local show in July.

The Cheshire Beekeepers Association join us for the May half term with Master Beekeepers carrying out live beekeeping demonstrations at our Apiary. With over 200 years experience between them all we know we’re learning from the right people! They also help us at bluedot  as well as throughout the year as mentors for our own beekeepers in the gardening team.

Members of the British Fern Society returned to help renovate our Fern Collection in November 2017 with our gardening team and helped identify some fronds that our regular volunteers brought in from home. We spent the day planting over 100 new ferns, built a new log pile to help them thrive and enjoyed learning more about them from the experts.

RSPB Macclesfield join us several times a year for birdwatching and wildlife activities including the Big Garden Birdwatch. If they’re not wielding loppers and rakes for pond clearance days they’re wielding binoculars and helping our visitors to spot some of our resident wildlife.

Thanks again to everyone who supports us as a volunteer here at Jodrell Bank. Happy Volunteers Week!

Family Fun at Bluedot

With half term nearly over and under 7 weeks to go till the return of our award-winning festival bluedot (19-22 July), now’s the perfect time for families to start planning their trip.

The festival has been designed with parents in mind with lots of provision for young families including free tickets for under 5s, dedicated parent and baby spaces, early morning activities and quiet camping.

Your little explorers and budding young scientists can immerse themselves in a world of wonder and get stuck in to a host of family activity including live research, experiments and science shows, exhibits, workshops and stalls. If you’ve enjoyed Amazed by Science this week, then you’ll absolutely love bluedot!

The popular Star and Planet Fields will be back, each serving as a hub for family-friendly discovery with scientific displays, games, experiments and workshops galore. Highlights include hands-on insect investigations with the Institute of Infection and Global Health, celebrating women in science with ScienceGrrl, the festival’s charity partner Practical Action, and The Week Junior’s Big Debate Live and journalism workshops.

Plus, new for 2018, be sure to head to The Launch Pad, a brand new area encompassing three exciting new zones, all located in the south Star Field.

The Launch Pad features:

The Big Bang Lab: Be inspired by science by watching a fun and fact-packed live science show. Featuring interactive demonstrations, live experiments and even the occasional (controlled) explosion, the Big Bang Lab is perfect for all the family. 

The Data Base: Get involved with real live research by helping to solve some of the biggest problems of the day

The Work Shop: Get hands-on and learn a new skill with our SciTechsperts

Get ready for Lift Off and begin your scientific journey at bluedot this summer. We’ll see you there!


Weekend camping available from £169.
Discounts for children and teens, under 5s go free.

Book Online


Prime Minister delivers major science policy speech at Jodrell Bank

Prime Minister Theresa May visited Jodrell Bank on Monday to deliver a major speech on science technology and to confirm funding for our spectacular new First Light project.

The Prime Minister visited a workshop involving children from the local Goostrey Community Primary School and met University of Manchester postgrad and postdoc researchers, before joining a meeting of the Council for Science and Technology (CST).

In her speech, delivered in front of the iconic Lovell Telescope, Mrs May unveiled four new missions as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, tackling subjects such as healthy ageing, zero-carbon vehicles, home energy efficiency and using AI to improve disease detection and prevention.

The speech came as The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced that Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre is to receive a total of £16.1million for our transformational £20.5m First Light project. £12.1m of the total is thanks to National Lottery players, with a further £4m coming from the Government.

This ambitious project will create a spectacular new gallery building that will promote and celebrate Jodrell Bank’s world-leading place in the history of astronomy, and a pioneering chapter in British scientific and cultural history.

As well as the Prime Minister, the event was also attended by Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy), Sam Gyimah (Minister for Higher Education), Jake Berry (Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth), Michael Ellis (Heritage Minister) and Sir Peter Luff (Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund).

The Bees are Busy at Jodrell Bank

Our National Collection of Malus (Flowering Crab Apple) is in full bloom here at Jodrell Bank and our bees are busy busy busy! After a long winter and a slow start to spring the Jodrell Bank bees been desperate to get out to forage amongst the 3,000 trees and shrubs in our 35 acre arboretum.

Now, the bees are happily filling supers with honey and their colony size is increasing daily so regular checks are taking place to make sure they have enough room. This week, our Head Gardener had to add an extra couple of supers as the nectar flow is incredibly fast and they’re filling up very quickly!

We have over 300 Crab Apples in flower at the moment as well as collections of Pears, Cherries and our Cheshire Orchard blooming so the grounds are a-buzz with our busy workers, it really is a beautiful sight.

We’ve been keeping bees here in our Apiary for 5 years now and run regular demonstrations throughout the spring and summer months (weather depending – if its raining or too cold we won’t open the hives). You can get a great view of the beekeepers at work with just a perspex screen between you to watch them go through their hive inspections and ask any questions you may have.

And, if you’re interested in getting up close to the Jodrell Bank bees yourself, you might like our new Beekeeper Taster Day, a hands on experience with Master Beekeeper Pete Sutcliffe from the Cheshire Beekeepers Association taking place on Sunday 24th June. Perhaps we’ll see you there. Bzz!

Be Amazed by Science this Half Term

Visit Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre this May Half Term and be Amazed by Science in a host of shows, sessions, tours and activities.

From Saturday 26th May – Sunday 3rd June, we’ll be taking part in Cheshire’s county-wide festival of science, technology and engineering.

We first came together with Marketing Cheshire to launch the Amazed by Science Festival in 2014. Now in its fifth year, the hugely popular event continues to capture children’s imaginations and excite families about the wonders of science and the world around us. There’s plenty to explore and you can see the full programme online here.

What’s on at Jodrell Bank

Live Science Show
Saturday 26th May – Friday 1st June

Meet the Expert
Tuesday 29th May – Friday 1st June

Operation Earth Activities
Saturday 26th May – Sunday 3rd June

Under 5s’ Sessions
Tuesday 29th May – Friday 1st June

Siemens’ Interactive Games
Tuesday 29th May – Sunday 3rd June

Cheshire Beekeepers’
Monday 28th May – Friday 1st June

Telescope Walking Tours
Tuesday 29th May – Sunday 3rd June

Book Admission Tickets

We expect May Half Term to be popular and so encourage visitors to plan ahead and book their tickets online and in advance.

Find out more including how to book here… 

Planet Pavilion nominated for BBC NWT Building of the Decade.

We’re delighted that the Planet Pavilion at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre has been shortlisted for the BBC North West Tonight’s ‘People’s Choice Building of the Decade Award.

The Planet Pavilion, which was designed by architects Fielden Clegg Bradley, has been the start of a journey of discovery for over 1 million visitors since opening in 2011 to explore the Story of Jodrell Bank and its ground-breaking research. With science engagement intrinsic to its architecture and interior, the Planet Pavilion is a portal to the science of Jodrell Bank, as well as being a hub for the community and offers a take-home educational experience through its ever-popular café and award-winning gift shop.

Vote for the Planet Pavilion today by clicking here. Voting is open until 12:00 (Friday 20th April)!


Leading Scientists and Thinkers Announced for Bluedot 2018

We’re delighted to announce yet another incredible lineup for our acclaimed DotTalks series at bluedot this summer.

The multi award-winning festival, which returns to Jodrell Bank from 19- 22 July, will host more than 50 talks from leading scientists and thinkers including Richard Dawkins, Jim Al-Khalili, Dallas Campbell, Alice Roberts, Libby Jackson, and Dave Goulson.

Curated by Jodrell Bank’s own, Professors Tim O’Brien and Teresa Anderson, the substantial and hugely popular DotTalks programme features a host of high-calibre speakers, cutting-edge presentations, and thought-provoking discussions.

With more than 50 academic talks and over 45 research teams, it’s no wonder that Bluedot has been dubbed the ‘Glastonbury of Science’. In fact, with the chance to explore ground-breaking science, to access new ideas and the latest thinking, and to engage with so many speakers, scientists and researchers all in a single weekend, we’re sure that the Dot Talks series alone is reason enough to visit this fantastic festival.

“Unique and out of this world” THE GUARDIAN

Highlights from the 2018 Dot Talks programme include…

  • Regarded as one of the greatest and most controversial thinkers of his time, Richard Dawkins will talk about his latest book Science for the Soul, and will team up with Jim Al-Khalili for a riveting ‘in conversation’ event.
  • Writer and broadcaster Alice Roberts delves into archaeology, history and genetics to reveal the amazing stories of three species that became our allies.
  • The BBC’s Dallas Campbell will discuss how to leave planet Earth.
  • Professor of Immunology at the University of Manchester Sheena Cruickshank will discuss the 38 trillion bacteria co-habiting our bodies!
  • Erica Wagner will bring to life her book Chief Engineer, which was named one of Amazon’s Best Science Books of 2017.
  • Hear from UK Space Agency’s manager of Human Spaceflight and Microgravity Programme, Libby Jackson.
  • Winner of the recent BBC 2 series ‘Astronauts: Do You Have What it Takes?’ Suzie Imber, will discuss how she endured the challenges of astronaut training.
  • The University of Manchester’s Daniel M Davis, talks about his widely acclaimed book The Beautiful Cure
  • Jodrell Bank’s  Sir Bernard Lovell Chair of Astrophysics Mike Garrett will discuss the hunt for extraterrestrial intelligence.
  • Monica Grady, professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University will return after her hugely popular talk in 2018

Also added to the science lineup today are Jim Wild, Richard Betts, Tom Allcock, Rachel Platonov, Jon Copley, Richard Battye, Kevin Warwick, Philippa Browning, Rene Breton, Paul Venezis, Julia Steinberger, Anna Scaife, and many more

Weekend Tickets are on sale now and can be booked online here.


Good Practice Award for Jodrell Bank Gift Shop

We’re delighted to announce that the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre Gift Shop has been awarded the ToyMark Good Practice Award for the third year running.

Led by consumer action group Let Toys Be Toys, the Award recognises good practice in relation to how toys, games and books are presented to children regardless of gender. The award ensures that shops are welcoming and diverse, with products that are inclusive and inspirational to all, an idea that we at Jodrell Bank strongly support.

With a clear mission to inspire the scientists of the future, and a personal understanding of the challenges that face women and girls interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Maths and Engineering), we have always taken great care to curate our shop in a fully inclusive way.  We want children to pick toys and books based on what they enjoy and find interesting, and we want parents to feel empowered to make the decisions that feel right for them.

We’re thrilled to have received this accolade and would like to pass on a huge thanks to Let Toys be Toys for the recognition of our, and others, great work.

You can view a selection of the items we have available for children on our website here, and experience first hand our work empowering women and girls at our Girls Night Out event this Thursday.