Dark sky holidays have been, well, excuse the pun… astronomically popular in recent years. No wonder, as there are few things more tranquil and awe-inspiring than gazing up into a glittering night sky.
Are you planning your next Scottish adventure and need a bit of inspiration? We’ve compiled this list of our top dark sky places to sleep close to the stars. Have a look where best to see galaxies, constellations, and planets from the comfort of your holiday accommodation.
1. AirShip 002
Dubbed Scotland’s ‘most unusual’ stay by the Scotsman, AirShip 002 is a crisp contemporary spaceship-style holiday cabin. Situated in one of the remotest areas in the Highlands near Drimnin in Argyll, overlooking the Sound of Mull and way out to sea, this comfy and quirky place is an ideal and romantic secluded retreat for two. A stay at this double-glazed pod and gazing at the twinkling constellations under a cosy tartan blanket just can’t be beaten.
Location: Drimnin, Highlands
Sleeps: up to 2 people
Unique features: curved glass wall, wood burner
2. The Buchan
Overlooking Loch Trool in the heart of the beautiful Galloway Forest Dark Skies Park, The Buchan provides modern, comfortable accommodation, perfect for getting away from it all and forgetting about the outside world. This historic house boasts a large conservatory, with hot tub, that allows you to relax and enjoy the spectacular views and wildlife whatever the weather.
Location: Loch Trool near Newton Stewart, Dumfries & Galloway
Sleeps: up to 8 people
Unique features: large conservatory, hot tub, wood-burning stove
3. Dark Skye Cottage
Dark Skye Cottage is a truly one-of-a-kind private holiday cottage located on the breathtakingly beautiful and mystical Isle of Skye. The accommodation offers a romantic getaway for two who want to escape the buzz of everyday life, perfectly balancing seclusion while still only a short walk from one of Skye’s most desirable villages.
Location: Broadford, Isle of Skye
Sleeps up to: 2 people
Unique features: giant infinity roll top bath in the bedroom, underfloor heating, mood lighting
4. Ecopods Boutique Retreat
Certainly not a traditional hotel, the Ecopods Boutique Retreat offers guests a stay in one of two bubble-shaped pods tucked away in a birch woodland setting in Oban. Those futuristic-looking, luxurious tent-like domes are over 750 square feet and offer views of Castle Stalker and Loch Linnhe. Wouldn’t it just be perfect to spend your whole break lazing by the fire on sheepskin rugs and looking out of the large panoramic window?
Location: Oban, Argyll
Sleeps up to: 4 (two in each)
Unique features: panoramic window, wood stove, hot tub, underfloor heating
5. Loch Venachar Lodges
Set right on the shore of the shimmering freshwater loch, in the heart of the Trossachs, you certainly won’t feel anywhere close to the bright lights of the city when you stay at Loch Venachar Lodges. Those striking black timber-clad lodges offer a wealth of upscale creature comforts, their front gardens lead to a beach with views of Ben Venue and Ben Ledi, and you can also fire up the barbecue or take a good book down to the outdoor snug, before watching the dark sky from the comfort of a lush hot tub.
Location: near Callander, Perthshire
Sleeps up to: 10 people (four and six in each)
Unique features: floor-to-ceiling panoramic window, wood burning stove, hot tub, barbecue
6. Hotel Ardanaiseig
Argyll is one of the best places to admire the spellbinding night sky. Hotel Ardanaiseig, a 19th-century baronial manor house next to lush woodlands, boasts velvety night skies. Book the luxury Boatshed suite and take a rowboat onto the loch so you can see the stars reflected in crystal clear waters. If you’re lucky you might even see the Aurora Borealis.
Location: Kilchrenan, Argyll
Sleeps up to: 16 guest rooms
Unique features: antique furniture, bold décor, traditional tearoom
7. The Buccleuch Arms Hotel
The Buccleuch Arms Hotel is an elegant 18th-century coaching inn that’s a perfect choice for a stargazing getaway. Surrounded by rivers, lochs and the rolling Moffat Hills, this cosy dark-sky hotel retains most of its original Georgian features; including their toasty open fireplaces – ideal for warming yourself up after a refreshing starlit stroll through the village.
Did you know? Europe’s first dark-sky town, Moffat has adapted special street lighting to keep light pollution in the area to a minimum – all the better to see the stars with!
Location: Moffat, Dumfries & Galloway
Sleeps up to: 13 rooms
Unique features: beer garden, free WiFi
8. Kinnaird Woodland Lodges
You won’t regret you chose Kinnaird Woodland Lodges for your stargazing experience. Not only does it boast a superb location with out of this world views, but you can look up from your hot tub to the most amazing skies full of stars. The clear skies with no light pollution make star gazing here a joy – this truly is the place to relax and forget your worries.
Sleeps up to: 8 (two in each)
Unique features: panoramic views, woodburner, free WiFi
9. The Craigdarroch Inn
Head to Assynt in the north-west Highlands or the Isle of Skye for a spot of Scottish stargazing. The Highlands are dotted with places miles from any light source so you can see the Milky Way arching across the inky-blue sky without the aid of a telescope. The Craigdarroch Inn near Loch Ness, set on a heather-covered hillside, is a great spot to watch as the sun sets over the loch and mountains and the stars begin to shine.
Location: Foyers, nr Loch Ness
Sleeps up to: 10 rooms
Unique features: log fire, free WiFi, pet friendly
10. Ackergill Tower
The northernmost coastline is one of the best places for stargazing in Scotland. On clear nights, the darkest of dark skies await, making for a spectacular stargazing experience. Stay at Ackergill Tower, a 15th-century one-of-a-kind castle. Situated near Wick in the North Highlands, it can be found on a gorgeous 3,000-acre private estate, sitting proudly above its own beach. What more can you want for a perfect retreat?
Location: Wick, Highlands
Sleeps up to: 17 rooms
Unique features: open-air restaurant, free WiFi
11. The Knowe Bed & Breakfast
Set in a former Victorian rectory, The Knowe Bed & Breakfast is an intimate property tucked away in the stunning Scottish countryside, halfway between Castle Douglas and Ayr. With the whole of southwest Scotland on your doorstep, it’s the perfect spot for a romantic weekend spent wandering in the wild with the stars as your guide. Why not pack a flask of hot chocolate and head for the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory nearby? Here, you’ll find two powerful telescopes in an observatory with a roll-off roof, so you’ll feel like you’re truly out in the wild with only twinkling constellations for company.
Location: Stranraer near Castle Douglas, D&G
Sleeps up to: 8 rooms
Unique features: electric wood burning effect fire, conservatory, free WiFi, pet friendly
12. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage, Wick, Caithness
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage is just wonderful. If you’re looking for a truly incredible nighttime view looking back billions of years into the past, the northernmost coastline is one of the best places to see it in mainland Scotland, and the quiet position of Noss Head near Wick makes it an excellent stargazing spot too. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage
Location: Wick, Highlands
Sleeps up to:
Unique features: beachfront, pet friendly, picnic area, free WiFi
13. The Glasshouse
If you’re staying in the capital city, you can still see the stars and learn more about the fascinating world of cosmology and astrology at the Royal Observatory at Blackford Hill. Sign up to attend regular public astronomy evenings and talks at the observatory during the year, while its exhibitions include some real meteors from outer space which you can actually touch.
Featuring a weathered Gothic-style stone façade, The Glasshouse is located on the site of the former Lady Glenorchy Church, just a 20-minute drive from the Royal Observatory.
Sleeps up to: 77 rooms
Unique features: floor-to-ceiling windows, roof garden
Whether it’s on your own, with a friend or with the whole family, take a trip or holiday to stop, look up and enjoy the wonder of the night sky. Because, really, what could be more romantic than a cosy night in beneath the Milky Way?