Galloway Forest Park - The UK's First Dark Sky Park
Galloway Forest Park is a huge natural wonderland with 777 km2 of forested glens, lochs and the highest hills in southern Scotland. Here, there are few buildings and even less light pollution. That's why the International Dark Sky Association chose it to be the very first national park in the UK to be honoured with Dark Sky Park status. There are only two other such parks in the whole of Europe.
You don't have to be a keen astronomer to be amazed by the stars, planets, meteors and other heavenly delights so clearly visible here. Even with the naked eye you'll enjoy celestial sights that simply aren't visible in the city. If you bring your binoculars you can marvel at the moons of Jupiter and rings of Saturn, while our closest friend, the Moon, becomes a strange and fascinating world of craters, dusty seas and cliffs.
Pack a flask of something warm and tasty and head for the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory. There are two powerful telescopes and the observatory's roof rolls off, so you feel like you're truly out in the wild with only the beauty of the heavens over your head. Just remember to book ahead - it's deservedly popular!
Dark Sky islands
Scotland's world-class stargazing isn't restricted to the mainland. The Hebridean jewel of Coll is 32 km from the nearest lamp post, making night-time light pollution almost non-existent. It became only the world's second Dark Sky Island in 2013.
Dark Sky town
You might be surprised to hear that in Scotland we even have a Dark Sky Town! Moffat in Dumfries & Galloway takes the title of Europe's first Dark Sky Town, having adopted special street lighting to keep light pollution to a minimum in order to preserve the wondrous starry, starry skies.
The sky's the limit
You can explore the heavens in many other rural and island sites throughout Scotland. Why not visit the Dark Sky discovery sites on the Isle of Skye, the west coast of Kintyre, in Lochaber and even at Newbattle Abbey in Midlothian?