Coats Observatory

Coats Observatory during daytime

About Coats Observatory

Coats Observatory is the oldest public observatory in Scotland and was gifted to the people of Paisley by Thomas Coats and designed by Glasgow architect John Honeyman. 

Coats Observatory opened in 1883 and has been welcoming everyone with an interest in astronomy ever since.

The observatory has recently installed a state-of-the-art digital planetarium, purchased from the Thomas Coats bequest, which allows visitors to enjoy the wonders of the night sky from the comfort of their own chair.

Planetarium Films and Tours

Come along to a tour of the Observatory,  then sit back and enjoy a short film in our Planetarium at the following times:

Tues - Sat

Tour                                       Planetarium Show
11.30am                                12.00pm
1.30pm                                   2.00pm
2.30pm                                   3.00pm


Tour                                        Planetarium Show        
2.30pm                                    3.00pm
3.30pm                                    4.00pm

The films and tours are FREE - there is no need to book.


Winter Viewing Season

Our Winter Viewing Nights will operate every Tuesday and Thursday until 26 March 2015.

Telescope Viewing

During Winter Viewing Season, Coats Observatory opens to allow visitors the opportunity to view the wonders of the night sky up close through powerful telescopes housed in the building. See the moon, the planets and other astronomical wonders as never before!

Every Tuesday and Thursday, 6.30pm - 9pm (last admission 8.45pm)                  

Free, no need to book in advance

If the weather is poor

Telescope viewings, whether night sky or solar, need clear skies and low wind. If a scheduled telescope viewing can't go ahead for some reason, alternatives like planetarium shows will be arranged.

Pre-viewing Planetarium Show

Experience our new digital planetarium and be transported to a faraway galaxy! The planetarium can project thousands of stars in an accurate representation of the night sky highlighting constellations and zooming in on objects too faint to be seen except through a powerful telescope. High resolution images of distant galaxies, nebulae and star clusters can now be viewed in incredible detail.

Operates during our Winter Viewing Season only.

Every Thursday, 6pm - 6.30pm


Maximum of 15 places, please book a seat in advance at Paisley Museum on 0300 300 1210.

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Getting there

Coats Observatory location map

The observatory is easy to get to using public transport, and only a five minute walk from Paisley Gilmour Street Station. This is a ten minute regular train journey from Glasgow Central Station.

You can plan your journey using the Traveline Scotland website.

Coats Observatory welcomes all visitors

We very much want our visitors to benefit from the full visitor experience at Paisley Museum, including Coats Observatory.

We would like to advise that access to Coats Observatory will now be via Paisley Museum only. In order to enhance the customer experience of this unique building, visitors will be able to explore the Observatory through organised tours run throughout the day.  The Oakshaw Street entrance to the Observatory will only be used outwith normal opening hours (for example during winter viewing nights).

As the Observatory is a listed building there are restrictions on modifications which can be made, both internally and externally. Level access to the Observatory foyer is available via Oakshaw Street. The rest of the building is accessible only using stairs and is unsuitable for visitors with mobility problems.

We are hoping to introduce, in the near future, a virtual tour of the building accessible using a PC, and to install equipment to allow us to transmit telescope images from the dome to the ground floor.

On Tuesday and Thursday nights during the winter months the observatory is open for telescope viewings of the night sky. There are now telescopes located in the Observatory Garden to allow visitors unable to access the dome the experience of telescope observation first hand.

We hope that everyone enjoys their visit to Coats Observatory. We appreciate that we may not always get it right and would welcome your suggestions regarding our accessibility or any other aspect of your visit.

Opening Hours

  • Closed Mondays
  • Tues - Sat 11am to 4pm
  • Sun -   2pm to 5pm
  • Plus every Tuesday and Thursday evening for Winter Viewing from 28 October 2014 - 26 March 2015, 6.30pm - 9pm (last entry 8.45pm). Please note that Winter Viewings will not be operating on 25 and 30 December.

Admission is free

Contact us

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Thursday, May 14, 2015