Scottish Dark Sky Observatory

Scottish Dark Sky Observatory, Dalmellington: Hours, Address, Scottish Dark Sky Observatory Reviews: 4/5

Scottish Dark Sky Observatory

Scottish Dark Sky Observatory
4
Observatories & Planetariums
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Monday
8:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 10:30 PM
Sunday
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
About
The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory occupies a fantastic hilltop site on the edge of the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park. This publically accessible educational observatory has some of the darkest skies in the UK and two large telescopes through which to observe the night sky. The Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park was the first Dark Sky Park in the UK and Europe, and was award a Gold-tier status by the International Dark-Sky Association. This new observatory includes a 20” Corrected Dall Kirkham telescope in a 5 metre dome and a 14″ Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope for a more hands-on, open air observing experience.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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The area
Address
Best nearby
We rank these restaurants and attractions by balancing reviews from our members with how close they are to this location.
Restaurants
3 within 5 kms
Attractions
1 within 5 kms
Popular mentions

4.0
220 reviews
Excellent
129
Very good
48
Average
10
Poor
12
Terrible
21

Geo Fid
1 contribution
Poor customer service and a bit of discrimination thrown in for good measure.
Oct 2020
Poor customer service and a bit of discrimination thrown in for good measure. We tried to book a visit using a 5pm voucher but we were told that we could not visit unless we wore face coverings. I informed the manager that my family was exempt but this was not acceptable. Obviously the Equalities Act has not made it's way to the Dark Sky Observatory! My kids were very disappointed when I told them we were not allowed to visit. A freshen up of the management staff would be good!
Written 6 November 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sharlene M
Glasgow, UK4 contributions
Really Enjoyable
Oct 2020 • Couples
We booked this last minute as something to don on an over night stay in the area. Neither my husband or I are astronomers but we have an interest in it. And I would 100% go back!

The astronomer David was lovely! He was very information, approachable and friendly. He gave us lots of tips on how to get started on our own and what to look for in the night sky. Unfortunately the weather was rubbish, but he tried his hardest to wait for breaks in the clouds for us to see the moon, which I think most of our group managed.

The road to the observatory is a forest track road, but as long as you take your time and go slowly its fine. Plus that's not the observatory fault, they need to be in a remote location to be able to do what they do. The only thing I would say is it would be helpful to also have directions on how to get back out of the forest. As a dyslexic, it was hard to follow the directions for going backwards but we managed it.

Again as I said I'd definitely go back in the spring time to try and get a better look at the sky!
Written 31 October 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Claire B
Darlington, UK117 contributions
Great experience
Oct 2020 • Couples
We really enjoyed our evening here. Staff were really informative and we were lucky to see 4 planets; Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Uranus, lots of stars and even another galaxy! Well worth the trip. Would definitely recommend.
Written 14 October 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

ian1811
Scotland, UK414 contributions
What a view.
Mar 2020
What a great time had here. There were 3 telescopes set up looking at different parts of the sky. We were lucky with the weather to see the moon and stars.
Our guide was very informative and put the information across in a light hearted and easy to understand manner.
Be aware that the road up to the observatory is just a track and can be a bit rough in places!
Written 11 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Michelle H
Kilmarnock, UK302 contributions
Xmas present
Mar 2020 • Couples
The correspondence on booking a slot was easy and friendly.
After reading the other reviews I got really worried about the track leading to the observatory, as long as people realise they are in a forest, and take it slow, follow the very good directions given by the observatory, it's fine. My little mazda had no problems.
It was a bit cloudy but we still got to see the moon, a planet ( venus ) and a star. We've all seen the moon, and pictures, but once you see the detail it's like your the first person to see it!
David, the astronomer was full of knowledge. The woman that has been mentioned as being rude and miserable was far from it, friendly and engaging.
Lots of things to look at, a real piece of moon rock, a small gift shop.
Planetarium had lay back chairs, were you watch videos , then David points out what to look out for,
Thoroughly enjoyable, definitely wrap up warm.
Written 6 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

jacqueline m
Glasgow, UK2 contributions
Not worth it
Feb 2020 • Couples
The road to the observatory although it is pointed out it is a rural access road I don’t think they emphasis how bad the road actually is! It’s pitch black for the most part and the pot holes are huge the steep areas are VERY steep I was in a fiesta so not ideal. The instructions they give are pretty straight forward but you have to stick to these as the road isn’t well sign posted. The actual observatory experience for us wasn’t that brilliant it was cloudy so we knew we wouldn’t see Very much anyway which is Nobody’s fault but we only spent about 10-15 minutes at the telescope the rest of the hour and a half was spent watching YouTube videos and really could be done at home without putting yourself through the stressful drive. Wish I’d read the other reviews before going.
Written 20 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

MJB837
Glasgow, UK71 contributions
January Visit
Jan 2020
Booked a Groupon from online and emailed to book in. The communication during the book in was excellent. Yes the road to the Observatory is not the best road to drive on but when you are travelling into the forestry, you can't expect a well-paved road. You spend 20/30 minutes driving into the forest to ensure there is no light pollution so that you can get the best view of the sky. The roads are only dangerous if you are not a cautious driver.

There were no rude people, some of the reviews mention a rude lady but she seemed to keep her self to herself. I can only assume she was the person responding to my emails.

The presentation at the beginning wasn't great, I was really looking to check out the telescope which was impressive but due to the clouds, we could only see the moon through the spaces in the clouds. Overall wasn't great if you were travelled great distances. We drove from Glasgow but were staying in Sanghurs.

The village next to the Observatory is not great, no places to sit down and eat, only take aways.
Written 21 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Gal
1 contribution
Avoid until change is made
Oct 2019 • Solo
Stargazers are usually nice friendly people but the women that opened up/ works there clearly hates her job and her life, unbelievable ignorant I feel sorry for her, I took a wrong turn which is easier than a right turn in that place and she screamed at me saying I better turn around now before the owner sees me she then said hurry up and follow me now she really did mean hurry, off she went at rally speed in a huge 4x4 WOW , as for the road that’s “ only dangerous if your a nervous driver” so says the incredulous idiot replying to these reviews, it is extremely dangerous considering it’s being travelled on 99 percent of the time, not only in pitch black conditions but dark sky park pitch black conditions. It’s very tight, full of pot holes terribly sign posted, if atall it’s dangerous for an experienced driver never mind an old person just hoping to gaze at the beauty of the night sky. If you want to test your driving skills reversing in pitch black down narrow roads with kids in the car or test your patience with arrogant staff then get to this place now you will love it :).
Written 19 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Paul L
Glasgow, UK3 contributions
Dark skies adventure
Oct 2019 • Family
It started off a bit like the little brown mouse in the deep dark woods! The access road IS an off-road adventure In the dark! But totally worth it. We had a beautifully clear sky and a great view of the moon’s pitted surface, Saturn’s majestic rings, and much farther afield distant stars and nebulae!
Great presentations, interesting dialogue, space themed confectionary in the shop, and we touched genuine moon rock. From the actual moon!
Definitely a great night.
Written 17 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

David Crawford
1 contribution
Not worth the risks
Aug 2019
The risks of visiting the observatory are: 1) Damaging your car on the road which is terrible. I would never have booked had I known how bad it was. 2) Not seeing anything. Even with a clear night I am not sure if it would justify the drive as you could get a similar view from a layby on the main road.

Given these risks and the high cost I cannot recommend visiting. If you want to see planets and stars get a cheap telescope, a star app for your phone and go to a local field. Visiting the observatory risks wasting an entire evening made stressful by the poor access. I wish I had stayed at home and played Cleudo with my children.
Written 28 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Scottish Dark Sky Observatory

Scottish Dark Sky Observatory is open:
  • Sun - Sun 00:00 - 00:00
  • Mon - Fri 08:00 - 23:00
  • Sat - Sat 08:00 - 22:30


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