This tiny island off the west coast of mainland Scotland is one of the best places to stargaze in the UK. Designated a ‘dark sky community’ in 2013 by the International Dark Sky Association, the Isle of Coll is blessed with extremely low light pollution, guaranteeing clear vistas to observe the stars. The best time to visit for a stargazing holiday is from August to March when the skies are at their darkest. In high summer it is light almost all day! The island is quite flat, so almost anywhere is suitable to see the night sky in all its wonder, weather permitting. Thinking of visiting? Check out the Coll Bunkhouse.
After adopting special street lighting to keep light pollution to a minimum, Moffat was named Europe’s first ‘dark sky town’. Located in Dumfries & Galloway, the town has similar light quality to rural areas and is a great place to stay and stargaze in Scotland. Check out accommodation in Moffat if you’re thinking about booking a trip. During daylight hours, the surrounding hills and the local section of the Southern Upland Way provide excellent walking opportunities, while the River Annan is good for fishing.
3. GALLOWAY FOREST PARK
You can look forward to exceptionally dark night skies in Galloway Forest Park, the UK’s largest forest park in Dumfries & Galloway. Very few people live within the boundaries of Galloway Forest Park, meaning the nights are extra clear. Clatteringshaws Loch and Kirroughtree Visitor Centre are perfect spots from which to view the night sky, and there are often stargazing events and guided tours by special Dark Sky Rangers. Search for accommodation in Dumfries & Galloway and start planning a stargazing adventure in South Scotland today.
4. NORTH RONALDSAY
Orkney’s northernmost island, North Ronaldsay has long been associated with dark and clear night skies. However, it was only in 2021 that the island was officially recognised as a ‘dark sky island’. On winter nights, you’ll see the stars shine and sparkle here across the sky in a truly dramatic display. When conditions are right you may even see the Northern Lights dancing in red and green. A trip to this remote part of Scotland will also give you the chance to meet the island’s famous seaweed-eating sheep and visit the UK’s tallest land-based lighthouse.
5. TOMINTOUL AND GLENLIVET – CAIRNGORMS DARK SKY PARK
During the darker months of the year, you’ll find that the Tomintoul and Glenlivet area of the Cairngorms has amazing stargazing opportunities. Dark sky events take place all year round here with the Cairngorms Astronomy Group. Amateur astronomers, night-time photographers and enthusiasts in search of stunning views will find this place easy to access. Interested in a road trip? Our Snowroads route will take you right through the Tomintoul and Glenlivet area. Find out more about The Cairngorms National Park.