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Dark Skies

3 Days Stargazing in South West Scotland

MILES250
KM402
DAYS3

South West Scotland has some of the lowest levels of light pollution in the UK, so it is the ideal place to visit for lovers of astronomy. It is home to Europe’s first Dark Sky Town of Moffat. It is also home to the first Dark Sky Park in the UK, Galloway International Dark Sky Park.

Opening dates and times vary across attractions. Please ensure to check opening times and availability directly with each attraction before you visit.

Day 1
OVERVIEW

Day 1 - Moffat

The first stop on your stargazing visit to South West Scotland is to Europe’s first ever Dark Sky Town, Moffat. The town adopted special street lighting to keep light pollution to a minimum in order to preserve their wonderful starry skies.

In and around Moffat there are gorgeous places to visit during the day, including the spectacular Crawick Multiverse, the dramatic Grey Mare’s Tail Waterfall and the majestic Drumlanrig Castle.

Then as darkness descends a visit to the Moffat Observatory is a must!

 

 
MILES 82.2
KM 133
STOPS4
 
Moffat image courtesy of VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins
 
EXPLORE
 

Stop 1 - Grey Mare's Tail Waterfall and Loch Skeen

The Grey Mare's Tail is a spectacular 60 metre waterfall plunging into the Moffat Valley from the breathtaking Loch Skeen at the top of the falls. You can follow the path alongside the waterfall up to the top of the hill, where you will find spectacular views of Loch Skeen and the peaks of Lochcraig Head, Mid Craig and the summit of White Coomb beyond.
 
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Stop 2 - Crawick Multiverse

Crawick Multiverse, a spectacular Artland. Transformed by globally-renowned landscape artist Charles Jencks. The site which opened in summer 2015 links the themes of space, astronomy and cosmology, creating a truly inspiring landmark that will appeal to everyone from art enthusiasts and scientists to walkers and the wider community.
 
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Stop 3 - Drumlanrig Castle and Country Estate

If you like delving deep into history, soaking up the finest culture, exploring beautiful countryside – or adrenaline-fuelled mountain biking – you’ll love a day at Drumlanrig Castle and Country Estate. From activities for kids to salmon fishing, you’ll find a raft of activity awaiting you. The Castle has 120 rooms, 17 turrets and four towers and from your very first glance you’ll know you’re entering a special place. Special enough, in fact, that the producers of Outlander recently used the Castle for filming their second series! Please check opening times ahead of your visit, for much of the year, castle visits must be booked in advance.
 
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Stop 4 - The Moffat Community Observatory

The Moffat Community Observatory is now open and running Introduction to Astronomy sessions. This is a fantastic astronomical resource for our community. It houses a professional telescope offering beautiful views of various night sky objects.
 
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EAT

A’ The Airts

Sanquhar
Here at A’ The Airts we are providing a platform for local artists and crafters to sell their works. Either in our shop or during exhibitions held in the Gallery.

Buccleuch Arms Hotel and Restaurant

Moffat
The Buccleuch is well renowned for its excellent food brought to you in the aptly named ‘Beef Tub Comfort Grill’.

STAY

Blackaddie House Hotel and Restaurant

Sanquhar
This 16th century country house is the perfect place to relax and unwind. As well as being home to a fabulous Restaurant.

Queensberry House

Moffat
Queensberry House is a charming three-room bed and breakfast – just for grownups – in the heart of Dumfries and Galloway.
 
 
Day 2
OVERVIEW

Day 2 - Kirkcudbright

Next stop on your stargazing visit to South West Scotland is Kirkcudbright, home to the brand new Dark Space Planetarium. Here you can experience a taste of space exploration and life as an astronaut on the International Space Station.

If after all that exploring you’re a bit thirsty, why not visit the Dark Art Distillery.

The combination of space and art doesn’t stop there, no visit to Kirkcudbright is complete without a visit to the Kirkcudbright Galleries.

Then for your evening’s stargazing, book a tour with the Dark Sky Ranger!

 
MILES 178.8
KM 288
STOPS4
 
Dark Space Planetarium
 
EXPLORE
 

Stop 1 - Dark Space Planetarium

Welcome to Dark Space Planetarium, Where Science and Fun Collide
 
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Stop 2 - Dark Art Distillery

Dark Art Distillery, is  a new premium gin distillery based in the picturesque town of Kirkcudbright.  The Distillery will open in June and it will be Scotland’s most southerly distillery.
 
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Stop 3 - Kirkcudbright Galleries

Visit our nationally important art collection and learn the story of the Kirkcudbright ‘Art Colony’ through an audio-visual show “The Artists’ Town” and a permanent display of some of the best Kirkcudbright paintings in our collection.
 
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Stop 4 - Dark Sky Ranger

'Dark Sky Tours' in Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park and wider Dumfries & Galloway. Learn about space and star gazing
 
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EAT

Gather

Gatehouse of Fleet
Where good food and good views nourish the soul Gather, a glass fronted Bistro in a stunning setting

Selkirk Arms Hotel Restaurant

Kirkcudbright
"Our food - fresh, local, traditional and modern, Scottish Mediterranean with a twist."

STAY

Baytree House and Garden Studio

Kirkcudbright
A very attractive and spacious Georgian townhouse tastefully decorated throughout, yet retaining most of the original features, such as its sweeping staircase with wrought-iron banister

The Ship Inn

Gatehouse of Fleet
The Ship Inn - boutique hotel and restaurant located in the quiet conservation village of Gatehouse of Fleet. 10 en-suite rooms all with designer bathrooms.
 
 
Day 3
OVERVIEW

Day 3 - Galloway Forest Park and Whithorn

Final stop on your stargazing visit to South West Scotland is Whithorn, home to the Galloway Observatory. Here, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced star gazer, you can book an evening’s course to suit you.

During the day, go explore the spectacular Galloway Forest Park; stop off at Bladnoch Distillery, one of the oldest Scotch Whisky distilleries in Scotland; and discover the history of Whithorn at the Whithorn Trust Visitor Centre?

 
MILES 80.4
KM 130
STOPS4
 
 
EXPLORE
 

Stop 1 - Galloway Forest Park

The Galloway Forest Park has everything you need for a great day out, whatever the time of year. Meet red deer and wild goats, choose from two scenic Forest Drives, follow in the footsteps of Robert the Bruce or picnic beside a peaceful loch. This is also Scotland’s first Dark Sky Park – one of the best places to stargaze in Europe!
 
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Stop 2 - Bladnoch Distillery

Bladnoch Distillery produces premium Single Malt Scotch Whisky, paying tribute to the rich history of Bladnoch and traditional lowland style Scotch Whisky.
 
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Stop 3 - Whithorn Trust Visitor Centre & Cafe

The Whithorn Trust runs the exhibition and museum detailing the town's 1600 years of Christian history. Coffee and gift shop with locally sourced products.
 
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Stop 4 - Galloway Astronomy Centre

 
More Info
 
 
 
 
 

EAT

The Pheasant

Sorbie, Nr Whithorn
Customers can relax in the lounge with log fire, enjoy a casual lunch or pre-dinner drink before going to their table in the modern rustic dining room.  

The Steam Packet Inn

Isle of Whithorn
We are truly spoilt by our harbourside location which allows us to take advantage of the vast amount of quality seafood. Landed just yards from the kitchen door.

STAY

Barrhill Holiday Park and Hot Tub Glamping

Barrhill, Nr Girvan
A family run holiday park, Barrhill Holiday Park and Hot Tub Glamping is set in the rural countryside in South Ayrshire outside Barrhill.

Fordbank House

Wigtown
An elegant and comfortable place to stay and relax, where guests can enjoy a delicious breakfast to set them up for exploring the local area.
 
 
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