To see the Northern Lights in the UK: an exact list of places

By Tychyna TetianaFeb 17, 2024 18:28 PMNews
To see the Northern Lights in the UK: an exact list of places
Northern lights. Source:

In 2024, a spectacular natural phenomenon is expected to be observed in the UK. The Met Office's Space Weather Management Center predicts an increase in the Sun's activity in the 11-year activity cycle known as the solar maximum.

Thus, in 2024, we will be able to witness the strongest northern lights in a decade. Euronews reports on where they can be seen on British territory.

"In 2024, the sun will reach the peak of its 11-year activity cycle," says Megan Eaves, a London-based representative of DarkSky International.

According to the expert, due to the increased activity in both hemispheres, including the UK, we will see more intense and frequent auroras.

To witness this natural phenomenon, you need to visit internationally certified dark sky sites in the UK, such as parks and nature reserves.

Where to see the northern lights in the UK

Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands, one of the largest national parks in the UK, is a vast expanse of wilderness with minimal light pollution. This creates excellent conditions for stargazing and has the potential to see the northern lights.

Tomintoul and Glenlivet in particular have earned the prestigious status of "International Dark Sky Park," making them the northernmost parks of their kind in the world.

Ynys Enlli, Wales

The island of Ynys Enlli is located two miles off the Llyn Peninsula in northwest Wales. It is considered to be one of the darkest places in the UK, making it ideal for watching the northern lights.

Famous for its bird diversity and ancient Celtic monastery, the rugged Isle of Inis Enlly, also known as Bardsey Island, gained international attention in February 2023 when it received an International Dark Sky Reserve certificate from the International Dark Sky Association (IDA). As the first in Europe to receive this status, it joins 17 other sites around the world.

To see the Northern Lights in the UK: an exact list of places
Northern lights can be seen in Finland as well. Source:

South Downs National Park, England

Since 2020, the South Downs National Park in southeastern England has been recognized as the world's newest International Dark Sky Reserve.

Surrounded by rolling hills, chalk cliffs, and scenic vistas, you'll get clear views of the starry sky, planets, and, if you're lucky, even the elusive northern lights.

Elan Valley, Wales

Recognized in 2015 as a Dark Sky Park, the Elan Valley, located in the Cambrian Mountains of Wales, is famous for its Victorian reservoirs, forests, and vast open spaces.

The valley's remote location, minimal light pollution, and easy access create excellent opportunities to observe the wonders of the night sky.

Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, England

Northumberland International Dark Sky Park is located in the northern county of England and is the largest dark sky park in Europe.

It covers areas such as Kielder Water Park and Forest Park, as well as Northumberland National Park. This place offers spectacular views of the night sky and the opportunity to observe astronomical events and increased solar activity.

Isle of Skye, Scotland

On the northwest coast of Scotland is the Isle of Skye, which is famous for its rugged landscapes, majestic cliffs, and dark skies.

Thanks to its remote location and lack of light pollution, the island is becoming one of the best places in the UK to watch the northern lights, especially during times of intense solar activity.

Carrick-a-Rede, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Carrick-a-Rede, a picturesque area on the coast of County Antrim, is famous for its rope bridge that connects the mainland to the small island of Carrick-a-Rede.

Although opportunities to see the Northern Lights in the area may be less frequent than in northern regions such as Scotland, due to the relatively dark skies and northern latitude, your chances of seeing them can increase significantly during times of strong geomagnetic activity.

Secrets to a successful northern lights viewing experience

Although the northern lights are rare in the UK compared to regions at higher latitudes, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of seeing this spectacular phenomenon.

Choose places with minimal light pollution, such as national parks, coastal areas, and remote islands, to see the northern lights in the best possible conditions.

Check the weather forecast and choose periods with low cloud cover and minimal rainfall to maximize your chances of seeing the northern lights. Sites like the Met Office provide detailed weather forecasts for different regions of the UK.

Keep an eye on solar activity, as geomagnetic storms caused by solar flares and coronal mass ejections increase the likelihood of aurorae. and NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center provide real-time data and forecasts of solar activity and geomagnetic conditions.

Use dedicated aurora tracking apps - My Aurora Forecast and AuroraWatch UK provide alerts based on geomagnetic activity levels and aurora forecasts.

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