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 Best Telescopes in UK 2022 (200+ Telescopes Reviewed)

Our team of experts, which includes Zane, a home telescope maker featured in TIME magazine, has tested over 200 telescopes available in the UK, and our top picks are frequently recommended on astronomical forums.

If you look at the list of best selling telescopes on Amazon you’ll see low-grade telescopes mostly reviewed by enthusiastic newbies who have probably never used another telescope in their life. Most of these newbies are content seeing a few craters on the moon and spotting the 4 moons of Jupiter … yet they probably don’t know any decent pair of binoculars that cost below £100 can do the same thing!

If you can’t trust Amazon and most of the telescope blogs, how do you truly know what makes a great telescope? That’s why we’re here. Here you’ll find all the information you need to buy the best telescope with confidence.

Some of these telescopes can be a lot of money, so you want to make sure you are investing in a great product … especially if this is your first one! Our comprehensive list contains the absolute best telescope for its corresponding price.

Basic Guide On Choosing The Best Telescope For You

The first thing you want to do is to figure out what you really want out of your telescope. Consider:

  • Where will you use it?
  • Where will you store it?
  • How much weight can you carry comfortably?
  • How will you find the things you want to see?
  • Is this for home use or will you frequently put it in your car?
  • Will you want to take it on an aeroplane?

If your observing location requires walking up or downstairs, or you can’t handle carrying something too heavy, or if you just decide you want to travel a lot with your scope, choosing a smaller one might be a better idea. 8" dobsonians are what we consider to be perfect in terms of the balance between portability and viewability.

While it’s amazing to peer through a big scope, it’s useless if it isn’t used. This goes for kids too. If you’re shopping telescope for a child, remember to choose something they can manage on their own.

Some telescopes come with built-in computer assistance for tracking and identifying celestial objects. We don’t typically recommend these over the manual ones.

Computerized telescopes can come with additional work and requirements. For example, they will need a power supply and can take longer to set up than most other scopes. Knowing what you can do with a good star chart is much more beneficial.

The money you’re spending on a telescope should be going as much towards the aperture (size of the objective lens or mirror) as possible. When you’re spending only a few hundred dollars on a computerized telescope, half your money is going to go to the drive systems and controller, and as a result, you get rather little actual “telescope” for your money. If you live in the city you’ll definitely want to prioritize aperture. A small telescope will show little under severe light pollution, but in general, you’re going to want to get as far away from cities as you can when you sky watch anyways.

If you prefer to have the scope to find the targets, then look at PushTo or GoTo computerized packages.

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to the level of technology that you’re comfortable with though, and both kinds of scopes (tech-included or not) have their own pros and cons, so make sure to really think about what you want out of your scope before making any kind of purchase.

There are several different types of telescopes, with the most common types being refractor, reflector and catadioptric telescopes.

  • Refracting telescopes usually provide the best image for their apertures but are usually pricey. They’re seldom available with large apertures. Inexpensive ones do have a fair amount of chromatic aberration though, thanks to the achromatic lens design they use. Refractors seldom require maintenance and do not usually need to cool down before use.
  • Reflector telescopes provide the most bang for your buck in terms of light-gathering power and resolution, but require frequent alignment of mirrors and may need to cool down before being used. Unintentionally, most of the recommended scopes on this guide are reflectors.
  • Catadioptric telescopes are moderately expensive but are much more compact than most equivalent-sized refractors or reflectors. They do require periodic maintenance and need to cool down as well, but not as much as most reflectors.

Cheap telescopes under £100 are almost universally toys. Below £300 consumer telescopes tend to have corners cut. Remember, a telescope is meant to last a lifetime; don’t be afraid to spend a few extra bucks if you’re able.

You don’t have to be a technical engineer to buy an awesome telescope, but if you understand a few concepts and terms like the ones below, you’ll be fine. 

  • Optical Tube Assembly – this is the light-gathering part of the telescope. Common forms are refractor, reflector, Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, SCT, and Maksutov-Cassegrain, MCT.
  • Aperture – This is the diameter of the front lens or rear mirror of the optical tube. This is usually stated in millimetres, mm, or inches and may be noted as 150 mm or 6” in the specifications. This is the key specification for judging the telescope’s ability to show you dim and distant planets and deep-sky objects. In general, the more aperture the better.
  • Focal Length – This is a measure of the optical path within the optical tube. Using this you can determine the magnification that will be provided by any given eyepiece.
  • FL scope / FL eyepiece = magnification.
  • Focal Ratio – This is simply the focal length divided by the aperture. It tells you about the physical size of the scope. A low focal ration optical tube will be shorter than a high focal ratio optical tube with the same aperture and of the same design.
  • Focuser – This moves the eyepiece in or out along the light path to bring the image into focus. Common sizes are 1.25 inch and 2 inch which determines the size of the diagonal or eyepiece that can be accepted. Some are single speed and some are dual speed, having a quick focus and a slow focus knob that allows much finer adjustments which can be helpful when using high magnification.
  • Diagonal – These are placed into the focuser and receive the eyepiece in refractors, SCTs, and MCTs. Common sizes are 1.25 inch and 2 inch which determines the diameter of the eyepiece that can be accepted. The diagonal turns the direction of the eyepiece either 45 degrees or 90 degrees to provide a more comfortable viewing angle. The 45-degree models are usually for daytime use when the optical tube is fairly level for use as a spotting scope. The 90-degree diagonals, also called star diagonals, are better for astronomy as the optical tube is usually pointing high in the sky.
  • Mount – This is what holds the optical tube and allows you to point it effectively. Common types are Equatorial, AltAz which works similar to a camera tripod, PushTo, and GoTo. The mount is a critical part of the telescope system. If the mount is wobbly, the image will shake every time you try to focus or when there is a breeze. If the mount is wobbly it may be difficult to track your target as you move the optical tube to account for the rotation of the earth. A good optical tube on a poor mount provides a frustrating experience.
  • PushTo or DSC Mount – There are sensors in the computer control system that track the position of the mount. An initial alignment procedure is done so the mount knows the date, time, and location. After that, you put your target into the computer, usually a handset, and it tells you where to point the scope to see that target.
  • GoTo Mount – Similar to the PushTo mount, there are sensors that know the position of the mount. However, the GoTo mount has motors that are controlled by the computer, usually a handset. After a quick initial alignment, so the mount knows the date, time, and its location, you put your target choice into the computer and the computer uses the motors to turn the mount so that the target can be seen in the eyepiece. As the GoTo mounts are motorized, the computer uses the motors to track the target as the Earth rotates whereas the other mounts require you to move the optical tube to track the target yourself.
  • Eyepiece – This is an optical device that goes into the focuser or diagonal. The optical tube gathers light but it is the eyepiece that provides the magnification. Eyepieces come in various focal lengths, each providing a different magnification according to the focal length of the optical tube according to the formula Focal Length Optical Tube / Focal Length Eyepiece = Magnification. Therefore a 10 mm eyepiece will provide different magnification depending on the focal length of the telescope. Eyepieces are standardized on 1.25” and 2” diameters. Which size you can use is determined by the focuser and diagonal. 

Best Telescopes (Comparison Table)

Almost everything decent is out of stock due to the pandemic. As of December 2021, the average price inflation for telescopes since covid is around 30%, and no brand/telescope is immune. We'd also highly recommend telescope e-retailers because you'll get better technical and post-sales support, product range, deals from online telescope retailers, and also, better assurance that you'll get what you ordered. In the UK, WexPhotoVideo, PixStop, FirstLightOptics, AstroShop, Orion's Telescope.com are all reputable retailers with decades of history and offer great shipping, refund, and financing options. Your experience with them would be comparable to that of your typical Amazon purchases. We'd recommend you check out our Telescope Ranking article and choose the 2nd or 3rd best telescope if the top one is unavailable.
Model & Price Group
Why Buy
Buy From
Best £100 telescope
Orion SkyScanner 100 Tabletop Dobsonian
The SkyScanner 100 offers all of the basic features of a larger telescope but at the lowest price point of any telescope that we recommend – a great starting point for any beginner.
Best around £200
Sky-Watcher Heritage 130P
Skywatcher 130P is a collapsible version of SkyScanner 100, with even more aperture allowing for brighter and more expansive views of the night sky but still in a plenty portable and easy-to-use package.
Best £250 telescope
Sky-Watcher Heritage 150P
Essentially an enlarged version of the Heritage 130P, the 150P offers the same collapsible tube and excellent build quality of the Heritage 130P but with significantly brighter and sharper views of the cosmos. 
Best around £300
Sky-Watcher Skyliner 150P
One of the highest rated telescopes for hobbyists. The Skyliner 150P boasts a full-sized Dobsonian mount that requires no additional support, and is a bit easier to collimate (align the mirrors) and set up than its tabletop cousins, and is upgradable and versatile enough to last a lifetime.
Best £400 telescope
Sky-Watcher Skyliner-200P
Only a slight decrease in portability vs 6” but significantly more light-gathering power and resolution(almost double) , and upgradable and versatile enough to last a lifetime
Best £500 telescope
Bresser Messier 8”
The Bresser Messier 8" is one of the highest recommended telescopes for hobbyists, thanks to its fantastic value, a more compact and lightweight mounting, and a high-quality focuser. It may be the only telescope you ever need!
Best £600 telescope
Sky-Watcher Skyliner 250P
The Skyliner 250P offers humongous light-gathering power in a relatively portable and easy-to-use package. It's one of the best valued 10' dobsonian telescopes available in the UK.
Best in £1000 range
Sky-Watcher Skyliner 300P FlexTube
While a bit large for a first telescope, the Skyliner 300P’s humongous aperture gives breathtaking views of almost every target, and its collapsible tube allows it to fit in most vehicles with relative ease. 
Best GoTo for £1000
Celestron NexStar 6SE 
The NexStar 6SE has great optics, and the NexStar mounting will point at and track anything you want in the sky. With 6” of aperture you can see the brightest deep-sky objects and get great views of the planets, and it’s relatively compact and easy to transport too.

1. Best Cheap Telescope – Orion SkyScanner 100mm

Orion Skyscanner 100 may not have all the bells and whistles that higher-priced telescopes have but if you can’t afford something more, this telescope will do the trick.
SkyScanner Packed Up
  • Inexpensive
  • Attaches to a photo tripod
  • Extremely convenient to set up and transport

If your wallet is a little tight, the Orion Skyscanner 100 is the cheapest and best astronomical telescope one can buy in the UK. This telescope is well worth its low price. The Skyscanner is perfect for kids, college students, and other newbies who are interested in looking deep into the cosmos.

The SkyScanner has the same features as a larger Dobsonian telescope, with only a few minor compromises to meet its price tag. While small, it’s easy to carry around, fits on a photo tripod or a small bench, and can show you quite a bit, especially if you manage to get out into the countryside away from light pollution.

The eyepieces provided with the SkyScanner are 20mm (20x magnification) and 10mm (40x) eyepieces of relatively good quality. You may want to purchase a shorter focal length eyepiece, such as a 6mm, for high-power views of the moon and planets, but there’s otherwise not much to upgrade.

The whole telescope comes in at just shy of 3 kg, meaning it’s easy to carry around with one hand and not too much of a strain on even a light-duty folding table. 

The Z100’s primary mirror cannot be aligned (collimated). As a result, sharp images are hard to come by. We would certainly recommend spending a little more on a telescope with a collimatable primary mirror, as it can make a world of difference in image sharpness. 

It’s not perfect, but the SkyScanner 100mm is a remarkable little telescope that would’ve blown away Galileo or Newton and would have cost a fortune back during the Space Race. Whether you’re new to the field and unsure if you’ll be an enthusiast, or your budget won’t allow for anything more, you won’t regret buying this awesome telescope.

2. Best £200 Telescope – Sky-Watcher Heritage 130P

The Heritage 130P boasts quite a bit of aperture in a very compact package and is very well worth its price close to £200.
Sky-watcher Heritage 130p
  • 130mm aperture provides fairly good views of brighter objects
  • Collapsible tube

The Sky-Watcher Heritage 130P’s 130mm of aperture gives it much sharper and brighter views than the smaller 100mm and 114mm telescopes often marketed towards beginners, but without any additional bulk – it weighs just over 6 kg and will fit in a large backpack, passenger seat, or on a shelf when not in use. 

With 130mm of aperture, you can start to see details in the brighter galaxies under dark skies, and watch shadow transits of Jupiter’s moons. You’ll also be able to begin resolving the brighter globular clusters into individual stars and see details on Mars when it is close to Earth.

The 130P comes with two eyepieces, 25mm and 10mm Plossls providing 26x and 65x. As with most telescopes, you will probably want to expand your eyepiece collection particularly for higher magnifications on steady nights for viewing the Moon, planets, and close double stars.  The Sky-Watcher 130P blows its competitors away with or without the preferred eyepiece.

3. Best Portable Telescope – Sky-Watcher Heritage 150P

Essentially an enlarged version of the Heritage 130P, the 150P offers the same collapsible tube and excellent build quality of the Heritage 130P but with significantly brighter and sharper views of the cosmos.
Skywatcher Heritage 150P Flex Tube Dobsonian Telescope
  • 150mm aperture allows for serious viewing of deep-sky objects
  • Collapsible tube
  • Wide field of view for its size

The Sky-Watcher Heritage 150P borrows a lot from the smaller 130P, having essentially the same features but with 20mm more aperture. That extra 20mm may not seem like much, but it makes a significant difference when it comes to viewing galaxies and globular star clusters. 

As with the 130P, you get a collapsible tube, a pair of 25mm and 10mm eyepieces (30x and 75x respectively with the Heritage 150P), a red dot finder, and a simple tabletop Dobsonian mount. You will need to find a fairly steady surface to place this telescope on, however, as it weighs in at about 11 kg. Building a custom stand might not be a bad idea. 

4. Best 6″ Dob Telescope – Sky-Watcher Skyliner 150P

Being our pick for the price range £300, Skyliner 150P is one of the best 6″ dobsonians available in the UK. 6″ dobsonian is considered more or less the minimum for any kind of serious observations.
Skywatcher Dobson Teleskop N 150/1200 Skyliner Classic DOB
  • Full-sized Dobsonian mount means no need for a table, stand, or tripod
  • Easy to collimate and set up
  • 150mm aperture offers great views of all targets

The Skyliner 150P boasts 150mm of aperture, a full-sized Dobsonian mount that requires no additional support, and is a bit easier to collimate (align the mirrors) and set up than shorter tabletop telescopes. 

While spec-wise quite similar to the Heritage 150P, the Sky-Watcher Skyliner 150P does boast a few advantages over its smaller cousin. In addition to not requiring a stand or table of any kind, the Skyliner 150P features a 2” focuser which will allow you to upgrade to wide-angle 2” eyepieces in the future, and its longer focal ratio of f/8 means it’s significantly easier to align the mirrors (also known as collimation). It takes up a fair amount of floor space, but less than most tripod-mounted telescopes, and easily fits in the back of most mid size or larger cars. 

The Skyliner 150P comes with two Plossl eyepieces – 25mm and 10mm focal lengths providing 48x and 120x respectively – and a 6×30 finder scope. This finder scope will allow you to see stars dimmer than what you can see with your eyes, though it’s a bit confusing to use compared to a simple red dot sight – partly because the image viewed through it is upside down. 

5. Best Cheap 8″ Dob Telescope – Sky-Watcher Skyliner-200P

The Skyliner 200P takes up barely any extra space compared to a 6” Dobsonian but has nearly double the light gathering ability, allowing you to see significantly more deep-sky objects.
Skywatcher 8 Inch Dobsonian Telescope
  • Large aperture but still easy to use
  • Not much difference in storage space, setup or handling compared to a 6” Dobsonian
  • Full sized Dobsonian mount means no need for a table, stand, crate, etc.

An 8” telescope will show even more than a 6”. The entire Messier catalogue is relatively easy from a suburban or dark site. Pluto may be spotted from reasonably dark skies, and many deep-sky objects begin to show fair amounts of detail. The moons of Uranus are possible sights on nights of steady air.

The 8” Traditional is no bulkier than the aforementioned 6” Dobsonian. The only difference is the weight. For older users or children, an 8” may be too difficult to set up without assistance. And best of all, there’s really no difference in the amount of space it takes up compared to a 6-inch Dobsonian. An 8” Dobsonian is an ideal compromise between capability and portability, and won’t break the bank either. 

The 8” Traditional(Skywatcher Skyliner 200P) includes a 25mm and 10mm eyepiece, providing 48x and 120x respectively, and a 6×50 finderscope. This finderscope is a little uncomfortable to look through, but usable.

The average person can handle an 8” Dobsonian and the gains over a 6” are certainly worth the price. An 8” telescope will last you a lifetime.

6. Best 8″ Dob Telescope – Bresser Messier 8”

The Bresser Messier 8” offers significant upgrades compared to less expensive 8” Dobsonians, with its large bearings maintaining balance more easily, a more compact and lightweight mounting, and a high-quality focuser.
Bresser Messier 8" Dobsonian Telescope
  • A more well-designed 8” Dobsonian
  • Relatively compact design will still fit in most vehicles
  • Like all Dobsonians, easy to set up and use

The Bresser Messier 8” doesn’t have significantly different views than lesser-priced 8” Dobsonians, but its unique design features lend it much better to future upgrades. It’s about 2 kg heavier than other offerings, but the large cutouts in the base make it easier to carry. Its Crayford focuser is higher quality than the cheaper one provided with the Orion or Sky-Watcher telescopes, and its adjustable tube rings and large bearings make balancing a breeze with even the heaviest eyepieces or finderscope. The tube rings also allow you to rotate the tube and place the eyepiece at whatever angle you want.

7. Best 10″ Dob Telescope – Sky-Watcher Skyliner 250P

The 10” of aperture that the Skyliner 250P provides will give excellent views of deep sky objects and fantastic views of the Moon and planets arguably better than any photograph when the air is steady and crisp. It still fits in most automobiles, too.
Sky-Watcher Classic 250P Dobsonian
  • Large aperture brings even more photons and thus brighter and better views
  • Relatively easy to use
  • Not much bulkier than an 8”

The Skyliner 250P is a pretty standard 10” Dobsonian with the same offerings as all of Sky-Watcher’s other Dobs – a single-speed Crayford focuser, a 50mm finder scope, and 25mm and 10mm eyepieces (48x and 120x respectively). 

While it’s not much taller than an 8” Dobsonian, the mount is a little fatter and thus transporting it by car might be a little more difficult. It’s also a bit more challenging to collimate. But if you’re willing to accept these compromises, you’ll be rewarded with even brighter images than an 8” telescope and views that simply blow away a smaller instrument. 

8. Best 12″ Dob Telescope – Sky-Watcher Skyliner 300P FlexTube

While a bit large for a first telescope, the Skyliner 300P’s humongous aperture gives breathtaking views of almost every target, and its collapsible tube allows it to fit in most vehicles with relative ease.
Sky-Watcher Skyliner-300P FlexTube Parabolic Dobsonian Telescope
  • Collapsible tube makes for a fairly portable instrument
  • Monster aperture will show fabulous deep-sky views and breathtaking planetary images
  • Operation is no different from a smaller telescope

The Skyliner 300P isn’t for everyone. It’s a big telescope that requires a large vehicle to transport, and you’ll need to be in fairly good shape to easily lift and carry the 17kg base and 21kg tube around. However, the views through a telescope this size are amazing, especially if you’re fortunate enough to get it away from city lights. With 4 times the light gathering ability of a 6” telescope and 2 times the light gathering of an 8”, you’ll be able to view thousands of interesting targets under good conditions.

The 9×50 right-angle finder makes aiming the 300P FlexTube a breeze, though you might want to add a Telrad or red dot sight to the mix. The 300P’s collapsible tube makes storing and transporting it a fair bit easier than it would be with a solid-tubed telescope this size, though you’ll really need to make or buy a cloth shroud to go over the middle to prevent stray light, bugs, moisture, and curious hands from getting into the tube during operation. 

9. Best £1000 Computerised TelescopeCelestron NexStar 6SE

The NexStar 6SE has great optics, and the NexStar mounting will point at and track anything you want in the sky. With 6” of aperture you can see the brightest deep-sky objects and get great views of the planets, and it’s relatively compact and easy to transport too.
Celestron Nexstar 6SE
  • Collapsible tube makes for a fairly portable instrument
  • Monster aperture will show fabulous deep-sky views and breathtaking planetary images
  • Operation is no different from a smaller telescope

The NexStar 6SE’s computerised mount greatly simplifies finding faint deep-sky objects. Keep in mind, however, that its aperture of only 6 inches won’t be able to show you many of the objects listed in its database and for the price you’re putting more into the mount than the telescope itself.

The 6SE comes with a single eyepiece, a 25mm Plossl providing 60x. You’ll almost certainly need additional eyepieces to get the most out of this scope.

Being a Schmidt-Cassegrain catadioptric design, the 6SE’s focal length is quite long at 1500mm, giving it a lesser field of view than a typical 6” reflector like the lower-cost Dobsonians we’ve mentioned here. However, the computerised mount somewhat compensates for this. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which telescope brand is better – Sky-Watcher, Celestron or Orion?

Almost all of the major telescope brands make great products – and unfortunately, they all market irredeemable garbage at low price points using their good reputations to fool newcomers. Brand loyalty or image should never be a factor in choosing a telescope or accessories.

Where should I buy telescopes from?

FirstLightOptics, 365Astronomy, AstroShop are all trustworthy retailers of telescopes with excellent customer service.

How much is a decent telescope?

A decent telescope can cost as little as £100, but we recommend spending at least £200 for something good with no compromises. You get what you pay for.

Can you see galaxies with a telescope?

Any telescope can at least show you the Andromeda Galaxy, but the quality of your views and the number of galaxies depends on your telescope’s aperture, your light pollution and sky conditions, and your skill as an observer.

Are telescopes easy to maintain and service?

The most complicated things you’ll generally need to do to your telescope are collimate it (at least check every time you take it out) and clean the optics every few months or years. Collimation requires nothing more than a star and/or a collimation tool and is explained in our guide, while cleaning is generally little more than a rinse with distilled water (for mirrors) or cleaning with optical tissue and coating-safe lens cleaner or lens wipes (for lenses).

Why are Dobsonian telescopes considered to be the best telescopes?

Dobsonian telescopes have smooth and simple motions – up and down, left and right with no complicated equatorial coordinates or locks or levers. Their simple construction means they’re also relatively lightweight, cheap, and easy to assemble, meaning you can put your money and focus on the telescope tube itself. The Dobsonian’s Newtonian reflector optical design also provides you the most aperture for your buck allowing you to see more of the Universe – and without the pesky chromatic aberration of a refractor.

Small, medium, & large telescopes – What’s the difference?

Usually, when astronomers refer to amateur-sized telescopes, they lump them into several classes. 
“Small” used to refer to telescopes of 6 inches of aperture or less, but the trend of larger and larger telescopes means that most astronomers today term “Small” to be 8 inches of aperture or less.
“Medium” usually refers to telescopes between 8 and 13.1 inches of aperture. Larger amateur telescopes (almost all of which are Dobsonians) pretty much require truss tubes to be managed by one person and fit in an automobile.
“Large” is a confusing term because there is no set definition as to where it ends. Some people would call a 30” Dob a “large telescope”. However, we would term it to be anything between 14” and 22” of aperture. A 22” is about the largest one-person scope you can buy.
“Very large” usually refers to telescopes above 22” of aperture. Telescopes above 22” (with the exception of some very exotic groundbreaking ATM builds) are simply not manageable by one person and seldom fit in a regular car or truck. They also typically cost over £10,000 so few tend to own them. The largest amateur-owned telescopes you typically see are 36” to 42” in aperture, but there are some 50-inch, 60-inch, and even two 72-inch amateur telescopes that either exist or are in development.


These are just a few things to keep in mind as you shop for getting the best telescope for beginners in the United Kingdom. Whether you’re an avid astronomer at the local observatory or just a college student looking for something to poke out of your dorm room window, now you are prepared enough to make a smart decision about what telescope you want next.

Good luck getting the top telescope there is for your budget. 

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