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.
This new 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.
Coats Observatory is free to visit anytime during the opening hours below, and there is no need to book your visit in advance (with the exception of Planetarium Shows - please see the what's on section for more information).
Free weekly planetarium shows will run every Tuesday from 2pm to 3pm with exception of the following dates: 15 & 29 April; 1, 8 & 15 July; 12 August and 14 October.
Maximum of 15 places per show. Please book a place in advance in person or by calling Paisley Museum on 0141 618 5087
Planetarium Films and Observatory Tours
Come along to see a short 30 minute film in the dome and then enjoy a guided tour of Scotland's oldest observatory.
Daily, at the following times:
Film - 11.30am, Tour - 12pm
Film - 1.30pm, Tour - 2pm
Film - 2.30pm, Tour - 3pm
Suitable for ages 5+
Free, no need to book in advance
Max of 10 places per film/tour
Film themes include astronomy, aliens and super-powerful telescopes with narration from some famous voices, including David Tennant and Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint.
Winter Viewing Season
Our Winter Viewing Nights will operate every Tuesday and Thursday from 29 October 2013 - 27 March 2014.
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! 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.
Back to top
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.
- Tuesday - Saturday, 11am - 4pm
- Sunday, 2pm - 5pm
- Winter viewing evenings every Tuesday and Thursday, 29 October 2013 - 27 March 2014, 6.30pm - 9.00pm (last entry 8.45pm)
- Solar Viewings, June - September, 2pm - 4pm
Admission is free
- email: email@example.com
- phone: 0300 300 1210
- visit: via Paisley Museum, High Street, Paisley
- Benefits and debt advice
- Community and living
- Council and government
- Education and learning
- Jobs and careers
- Leisure and culture
- Planning and building standards
- Social care and health
- Transport and Streets