There’s nothing quite like gazing at the enormity of the stars above to put things into perspective, and these getaways will let you see galaxies, constellations, planets from the comfort of your holiday accomodation.
Of course, being Scotland, you can never guarantee the weather – but spring is a great time to look to the skies, with the best chance of experiencing clear conditions during the longer, colder nights.
And, if you’re really lucky, you might even experience the dancing lights of the aurora borealis, without costly flights to Iceland or Scandinavia.
You don’t need any fancy or expensive equipment – a pair of cheap binoculars is plenty for a beginner, while a mobile phone app such as Star Walk can help you tell your Canis Majors from your Ursa Minors.
Keep an eye on the news for any celestial events too – including meteor showers, lunar eclipses, comets and the phases of the moon – so you can time your trips accordingly.
If it’s the Northern Lights you’re most excited about seeing, regularly check of the Aurora Watch website, which measures the all-important amount of solar activity each day, which gives an indication of how likley they are to appear.
The most important thing though is to find a remote place away from light pollution so the stars can really shine.
Here are 10 holiday properties that fit the bill, all of which can be booked on www.booking.com.
1. Dark Sky Cottage
The Isle Skye is one of the best places to find dark skies in Scotland, and Dark Sky Cottage is located in a prime spot in Broadford, 25 miles south of Portree. With stunning views over the sea in one direction, and over mountains in the other, at night you can sit in your garden and marvel at the heavens.
2. Mill of Nethermill Cottages
Near to the pretty village of Pennan, on the Aberdeenshire coast, the cottages at Mill Of Nethermill look out onto the secluded Cullykhan Bay, and have their own private beach. The Northern Light are seen regularly in this part of Scotland, so wrap up warm and hope you get lucky.
3. Howe of Torbeg
The Cairngorms National Park is a popular destination for stargazers, providing endless miles of dark wilderness. The Howe of Torbeg provides glamping pods near Ballater, but far enough away to avoid light pollution, within the park, and you can check out the constellations while enjoying a barbecue.
For a family of stargazers, Craigenrae is a four-bedroom holiday home on the edge of Galloway Foresat Park - which in 2009 was designated by the International Dark-Sky Association as only the fourth Dark Sky Park in the UK. The house is secluded, away from artificial light, and has a garden from which you can look out for shooting stars and satellites.