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16 Dark Sky Escapes in South Scotland

Kirroughtree Forest, Dumfries & Galloway

Right across south Scotland, from Dumfries & Galloway to the Scottish Borders, you’ll find holiday accommodation for a cosy dark sky escape. If you’re thinking about booking an autumn or winter break then this list of hotels, B&Bs and self-catering properties is for you.

Panoramic windows that offer unbroken views of the night sky, firepits to keep you toasty outdoors, log fires to warm you up afterwards – and what about a hot tub? Maybe you’d like a whisky bar with bottles from every region, a seasonal food menu, winter walks to enjoy during the day? The choice is yours when you travel to south Scotland.

Remember to check out our fabulous stargazing toolkit before you go, it’s full of information on how to enjoy the night sky. As you start to explore Scotland again, keep an eye out for the ‘We’re Good to Go’ logo which will show you tourism businesses who have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment to check they have everything in place to reopen safely.

Dumfries & Galloway

This part of Scotland is home to Galloway Forest Park, the UK’s first dark sky park, where there is virtually no light pollution at all. You’ll also find Moffat here too, the UK’s first dark sky town! Did you know that in some places you can book a Dark Sky Ranger to come to your accommodation and take you on a guided tour of the night sky?

Search for accommodation in Dumfries & Galloway and take a look at these suggestions for inspiration:

1. Southcliff House, Portpatrick

Nestled in the harbour town of Portpatrick, Southcliff House is a gorgeous boutique retreat with an epic roof terrace, perfect for stargazing. During the day you’ll be able to enjoy secluded walks around the beaches and coves around the coast. Southcliff sleeps six people and has a games room and log fire.

Recommended stargazing site: Kirroughtree Forest Visitor Centre

2. Knockinaam Lodge Hotel, Portpatrick

Just around the corner from Stranraer and Portpatrick, Knockinaam Lodge is a small country house hotel with an award-winning reputation. With 10 bedrooms, a private beach and self-catering lodge, this place has all you need for a fantastic break. After an evening of stargazing, enjoy a whisky from the bar or dine at the 5-star restaurant.

Recommended stargazing site: Kirroughtree Forest Visitor Centre

3. Barwhillanty Estate, near Castle Douglas

This beautiful estate is around 40 minutes away from Galloway Forest Park, and enjoys lovely dark nights. Choose from a selection of two well-appointed holiday cottages on the estate, including Diamonds Laggan, a 19th century farmhouse which sleeps eight. Recently refurbished to a high standard, you’ll also benefit from nearly 30 km of picturesque walks around the property.

Recommended stargazing site: Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre

4. Nithbank Country Estate, Thornhill

Exterior of Nithbank Country Estate in Thornhill, Dumfries & Galloway

Nithbank Country Estate in Thornhill, Dumfries & Galloway

Stay in a beautiful country house and experience the personal service of a luxury hotel with the freedom and privacy of home. Nithbank’s elegant suites offer you the perfect place to relax and unwind in a timeless setting. Located in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve, you’ll find this is a world-class environment for walking, cycling, fishing, wildlife watching, castles and gardens. And stargazing of course!

Recommended stargazing site: Scottish Dark Sky Observatory

5. The Buccleuch Arms Hotel, Moffat

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Lovely place

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Did you know that Moffat is Europe’s very first Dark Sky Town? Having adopted special street lighting to keep light pollution to a minimum, the night sky is your oyster here. Why not spend a few nights at the Buccleuch Arms Hotel? Originally a 17th century coaching inn, the property is infused with a classic olde-worlde charm and a distinctive period character. A warm and cosy spot to spend a winter evening by the fire.

Recommended stargazing site: Moffat

6. Gorsebank Glamping Cabins, Dalbeattie

Enjoy the freedom of glamping in south west Scotland in a heated pod, wigwam or timber tent (with heated toilets). Gorsebank is a short drive from the Galloway Forest Park, and on a clear evening you can head up to the top of the farm for a stellar night sky display. By day, take time to explore the meadows, bluebell woods and stretches of water around this pretty glampsite.

Recommended stargazing site: Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre

7. GG’s Sea View Snugs, Laggan

Overlooking the picturesque Solway Coast, GG’s Sea View Snugs are glass-fronted giving you unmatched views. Each snug has a master bedroom with a kingsize bed, an en suite shower room and entrance hallway. As well as being close to the Galloway Forest Park, you’ll find coastal walks aplenty here and perhaps a spot of whisky at nearby Bladnoch Distillery.

Recommended stargazing site: Glentrool Visitor Centre

8. The Knowe B&B, Carsphairn

The Knowe Bed and Breakfast is in the heart of stunning countryside at the edge of the Galloway Forest Park in Carsphairn. With its cosy log burning stove and sumptuous soft furnishings, this place is ideal for those craving relaxation. Full Scottish breakfast is served each morning in the elegant, traditional dining room which overlooks the garden. Great if you’ve had a late night looking at the stars.

Recommended stargazing site: Loch Doon Castle

Scottish Borders

Find dark skies and cosy autumn and winter breaks across the Scottish Borders, from Newcastleton to the Berwickshire coast. You’ll find that most countryside accommodation has the unspoilt views of the sky you are looking for – or you could head for somewhere such as Tweed Valley Forest Park.

Search for accommodation in the Scottish Borders and take a look at these suggestions for inspiration:

9. Singdean, Newcastleton

With no near neighbours, Singdean is perched in the beautiful, wild scenery of the Scottish Borders. There are plenty of wonderful walks to explore and dark nights to savour. This luxury B&B suite and stunning wooden luxury chalet with private outdoor hot tubs sleeps four. Unwind, recharge and relax in peaceful surroundings.

Recommended stargazing site: Cheviot Hills

10. Sorbietrees B&B, Newcastleton

The dark skies around Sorbietrees B&B are ideal for astronomers and star gazers. The property is a beautiful stone farmhouse with 22 acres of pasture and woodland in a rural setting. After exploring the local area, you’ll be able to relax beside a log fire in the cosy guest lounge.

Recommended stargazing site: Cheviot Hills

11. Press Mains Farm Cottages, Eyemouth

Suitable for holidays all year round, Press Mains Farm Cottages in Eyemouth are centrally heated by a biomass boiler fed by sustainable wood chips, each with its own log burning stove. There is plenty to see and do, both on the farm and in the surrounding area, with wonderful country and coastal walking, diving, fishing and wildlife watching as well as discovering the night sky.

Recommended stargazing site: St Abb’s Head Nature Reserve

12. Orchard Hideaway, Ednam, near Kelso

Orchard Hideaway is a two bedroomed chalet, sleeping up to four people, located next to an atmospheric oak wood. The chalet has a log-fired hot tub, summer house and patio area which is perfect for winding down at night or an early morning dip. Where better to watch the stars than from the comfort of a hot tub – pure luxury!

Recommended stargazing site: Tweed Valley Forest Park

13. Schloss Roxburghe Hotel, Kelso

Soak up the rolling hills, flowing rivers and starry skies of the Scottish Borders with a stay at the luxurious Schloss Roxburghe. This historic property has a championship golf course and offers a getaway destination little more than an hour’s drive from Edinburgh. With 20 rooms and suites, the hotel provides modern comfort in an historic building with an elegant twist.

Recommended stargazing site: Schloss Roxburghe Estate

14. Windlestraw, near Innerleithen

Windlestraw is an independently owned small luxury hotel overlooking the picturesque Tweed Valley. An Edwardian manor set in 3 acres of landscaped grounds, the award-winning Windlestraw offers 5-star gold accommodation and a delicious two AA rosette dining experience. The combination of luxury facilities and personal service makes this a truly unique destination and the perfect autumn or winter getaway.

Recommended stargazing site: Tweed Valley Forest Park

15. Caddon View, Innerleithen

Set in the tranquil town of Innerleithen in the heart of the Scottish Borders, Caddon View is surrounded by rejuvenating countryside. If you like mountain biking, fishing and walking, then you’re in the right place. For those looking for a gentler pace of holiday, this area is renowned for centuries-old castles such as Traquair, or you could visit St Ronan’s Well which was once a famous spa, Robert Smail’s Printing Works, or just admire the beautiful scenery.

Recommended stargazing site: Tweed Valley Forest Park

16. Mansfield House Hotel, Hawick

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Love this quiet countryside life in #scotland .

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The Mansfield House Hotel is a family-run and dog-friendly hotel, with approximately 10 acres of ground. All rooms offer en suite bathrooms, complimentary WiFi, televisions and ample space to make your stay comfortable. The countryside around Hawick is perfect for budding astronomers.

Recommended stargazing site: Hawick countryside

A clear night sky is a magical sight – but this can be easy to forget when you live in a built-up area. Away from the urban haze of city lights, a peaceful escape to south Scotland will bring you closer to the stars. Take a look at this 7-day itinerary to find out more about a holiday in South Scotland.

 

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