Many of us have the Northern Lights on our travel bucket lists.
But thankfully, you don't actually need to jump on a plane to Norway or Iceland to experience the Aurora Borealis.
Over the weekend, Brits marvelled at the stunning phenomenon in Scotland.
Due to solar wind, the ethereal light display was visible from Aberdeenshire, Moray and Caithness.
And you don't even need to be that close to the North Pole to experience the Northern Lights as they were spotted as south as Norfolk last year.
Here are some places to look out for the Aurora Borealis this winter – from the Shetland Islands to Queen of the Lakes…
Scotland lies on the same latitude as Stavanger in Norway and Nunivak Island in Alaska, which is why you have a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights there.
Autumn and winter is the best seasons to spot the “Mirrie Dancers”.
This is because nights are colder and darker, which are optimum conditions for spotting solar activity.
According to Visit Scotland, the following locations are great for seeing the polar lights…
- Shetland, Orkney and Caithness (e.g. Noss Head, Wick)
- Aberdeenshire and the Moray Coast (eg. Nairn, Portknockie, Cairn o’ Mount)
- Lewis, Harris and the most northerly tip of Skye
- The far north west of Scotland (e.g. Applecross, Lochinver, north of Ullapool)
- The Cairngorms
- Galloway Forest Park – the only Dark Sky Park in Scotland
- Rannoch Moor and Perthshire
- Angus and the coast of Fife (e.g. St Andrews)
- Calton Hill or Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh
England and Wales
The more North you are, the increased likelihood you have of seeing the polar lights.
It’s also important to choose a location with little light pollution.
This makes the gorgeous phenomenon more visible in the dark sky.
According to the National Trust, Derwentwater, Cumbria is a good place to consider.
At the “Queen of the Lakes” you can occasionally see the Aurora Borealis appear over the water.
Nestled in Northumberland International Dark Sky Park is Sycamore Gap in Hadrian’s Wall.
And if you look up, you’ll see Europe’s largest area of protected night sky.
It’s equally as good for spotting Northern Lights as it is for stargazing.
According to meteorologists, increased geomagnetic activity gives counties as far south as Suffolk and Norfolk a chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis too.
This was the case back in October, when there was increased geomagnetic activity.
Northern Lights sightings are rare in Wales – but they are still possible.
In recent years, the Aurora Borealis have been spotted above the Brecon Beacons and Anglesey.
These instances tend to occur after a strong geomagnetic event so aren’t as common as we’d like.
According to the WWF, the Antrim coastline is a great place to go searching for the polar lights.
This is because it boasts a breathtaking view of the northern horizon over the Malin Sea.
There are plenty of places for photo opportunities here too.
From the rock formations at Giant’s Causeway to Dunluce Castle, the possibilities are endless.
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