We welcome your interest and look forward to you enjoying your visit to the Observatory.
Because of limitations of the site capacity and the forestry-type access road, we stipulate that all visits are on a pre-booked basis.
Please ensure you contact us before visiting the observatory to ensure that we have availability.
Visitors with impaired mobility, or who use a wheelchair, are requested to please make contact with the SDSO in advance of a visit to allow us the opportunity to explain the limitations of the facility prior to making a booking.
During our evening sessions we give an introductory presentation, followed by a tour of the facility and the telescopes. If it’s a clear night time will be spent observing the night sky and using the telescopes, during which we will point out the many stars and constellations visible in the night sky. There may also be time for further astronomy presentations (particularly if the weather is poor).
An evening session normally lasts for 90 minutes – slightly longer if its a fully clear night. Events go ahead even in the event of poor or inclement weather and we do our utmost to give you a positive experience at the observatory.
Prices for Evening Sessions:
From 1 January 2018 our ticket prices are as follows:
Adult – £16.00
Senior Concession (aged 65+) – £12.00
Student (with valid ID) – £12.00
Child (aged 4 to 16 inclusive) – £10.00
We occasionally have special events, based around particular astronomical events or featuring a guest speaker – astronomers and scientists who give a feature presentation on topic relating to astronomy, physics, space and science. To see if any special events are forthcoming, please see our Events Calendar.
The observatory is happy to host organised group visits. We are regularly visited by groups such as:
- Clubs and Societies
- Scouts, Brownies, Boys Brigade, Girl Guides and Cadet Forces
- Corporate Groups
We can tailor each group booking to specific requirements (and educational needs) and can cater for practically all levels of age and ability. A minimum of 20 people are required for a group booking at a discounted rate of £14.00 each adult ticket, £10.00 each student/senior concession and £8.00 each child ticket. We can host a maximum of 32 guests at any one time. The session length of group bookings is 90 minutes (unless otherwise pre-arranged).
We can also offer exclusive events in connection with Craigengillan Estate, such as a dinner in Craigengillan House preceded/followed by an Evening Session at the observatory. Please note: this option requires a minimum of 12 guests, must be pre-booked and is subject to availability.
Please get in contact with any enquiries you may have regarding group bookings and prices.
It is possible to hire the observatory for a private event, including Private Evening Sessions, birthday parties, weddings and other celebrations. Costs vary depending on the number of visitors and the type and duration of the hire.
We can tailor the visit to the requirements of the party booking the observatory.
Please contact us for more details.
Both of our large telescopes can be hired for use by advanced amateur astronomers (accompanied hire is also available to non-astronomers). The cost of renting a telescope varies depending on the level of support required. In general, one hour of telescope hire is priced at £75.00 (minimum 1 hour hire period).
Telescope hire must be pre-booked, is available only before or after scheduled private or public bookings and is entirely weather dependent.
Please contact us for further information on renting the telescope.
Use of personal telescopes on-site:
When the observatory is not being used for specific tours or events, amateur astronomers are welcome to visit the observatory to use the outdoor observing area with their own telescopes.
For a fee of just £5.00 per person you can bring your own telescope equipment and set up on our concrete pad, with use of our WC facilities, for a period of 1 hour. Please contact us directly if you wish to observe from the site, as pad use must be pre-booked.
Day time visits to the observatory can also be arranged and, weather permitting, can include solar observing and terrestrial viewing of the surrounding landscape. Please contact us for more information.
- Observing the night sky and use of the telescopes for viewing is only possible when we have clear skies.
- Events will go ahead in all weather conditions except where roads are impassible due to snow and ice.
In order to confirm a booking, we require full payment in advance.
Please contact us for more details.