The UK's Dark Sky Parks
Galloway Forest Park in southwest Scotland spans 777 km2 of forested glens, lochs and some of 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 forest park in the UK to be honoured with Dark Sky Park status.
Located just under an hour-and-a-half by car from Glasgow, Galloway Forest Park can be reached easily from central Scotland and the north of England. The M74 and A1 run straight through the surrounding area while the nearest town of Ayr is well served by frequent bus and rail connections.
Once here, pack a flask, wrap up warm and make your way to the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory, near Dalmellington. 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!
The high quality of the night skies above Tomintoul and Glenlivet in Moray have earned the area a prestigious award by becoming Scotland’s second International Dark Sky Park. The Tomintoul & Glenlivet - Cairngorms Dark Sky Park is not only the darkest park in the UK but it is also the most northernly Dark Sky Park in the world.
Find Dark Sky Discovery Sites
Visit one of the many Dark Sky Discovery Spots scattered throughout Scotland. Alongside easily accessible destinations like Newbattle Abbey in Midlothian, Scotland boasts its own Dark Sky Town in the attractive village of Moffat in Dumfries & Galloway. Thanks to its special 'dark sky friendly' street lighting, the number of stars visible at night can be breathtaking.
When it comes to optimum star-gazing conditions, the Highlands rarely disappoint. Located far away from the obscuring haze of light pollution, here you can gaze up at celestial wonders with just your naked eye. Head to the west coast of Kintyre, Lochaber in the west Highlands, Assynt in the north west Highlands, or escape from the mainland to one of the nine sites on the Isle of Skye.
If you prefer islands, don't miss the practically street light-less Isle of Coll, Scotland's Dark Sky Island. Located 32 km from the nearest lamp post, Coll is one of only two Dark Sky Islands and offers unparalleled night-sky clarity.
Winter is a fantastic time to visit the Outer Hebrides to experience #winterinthewild with extraordinary scenery, beautiful empty beaches and stargazing in some of the darkest places in Britain. Further North, the spectacular winter skies on the Isle of North Ronaldsay in Orkney have been drawing astronomers and stargazers to the islands for many years.