The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis are visible when solar particles interact with the Earth’s magnetic fields. These glowing lights can be seen in different parts of the UK during the winter periods October – March and we’re going to tell you the best places that you can see the Northern Lights in the UK.
Snowdonia National Park
Snowdonia National Park has some of the highest peaks in Wales and is also known as an International Dark Sky Reserve, one of 17 in the world. A Dark Sky Reserve is where you can see the best starry nights due to the low levels of light pollution. On a clear night at Snowdonia, you’ll be able to see the northern Lights during the months October-March.
The best spots to see the Northern Lights at Snowdonia are:
- Tŷ Cipar between Llan Ffestiniog and Ysbyty Ifan
- Llyn y Dywarchen in Dyffryn Nantlle, near Rhyd Ddu
- The North York Moors have a Dark Sky Discovery Site status at Danby and Sutton Bank
- Llyn Geirionnydd in Gwydir Forest above Betws-y-Coed
- Bwlch y Groes on the minor road linking Dinas Mawddwy and Llanuwchllyn.
Not only can you just see the Northern Lights at Snowdonia, but you also have a chance of seeing the Milky Way, all the major constellations as well as shooting stars. Whilst it isn’t guaranteed you’ll see the Northern Lights every night, you’re always going to see a breath-taking starry night sky.
The Brecon Beacons
The Brecon Beacons is a popular Welsh location for spotting the Northern Lights in the UK and is also registered as an International Dark Sky Reserve.
The most common location where the Northern Lights have been spotted are:
- Mynydd Llltud
- Rhigos Mountain
If you’re looking to do more stargazing at the Brecon Beacons, locations such as the Llangorse Laske and the USK Reservoir are great locations for capturing views of the Milky Way and are great locations for days out.
Anglesey is one of the top destinations in Wales to spot the Northern Lights due to its closer proximity to the North Pole compared to the Brecon Beacons.
Popular spots to see purple Auroras are:
- Cemlyn Bay
- Penmont Point (a great location to see glowing plankton also known as bioluminescent plankton)
Northumberland National Park
Northumberland National Park is a great place to have great views of the North Sea and the sky lit up in shade of purple and green. A popular spot for adventurers and campers to experience sleeping under the night sky and Northern Lights!
Lake District National Park
The Lake District has become an incredibly popular spot for adventurers and campers. Whilst the Lake District isn’t classed as a Dark Sky Reserve, they are seeking recognition for the amazing views and brilliant stargazing spots.
The Northern Lights are a pretty rare sight at the Lake District, however when they are visible, there are some brilliant viewpoints that give you a stunning view of both the lakes and sky:
- Langdale Valley
Cairngorms National Park – Scotland
Scotland has some great viewpoints to see the Northern Lights, Cairngorms National Park being one of them. One of the best places in the Cairngorms is the Glenlivet and Tomintoul area which is accessible to everyone.
Calton Hill – Edinburgh
Calton Hill is home to the national monument and old city observatory and is a must-visit location to anyone visiting Edinburgh. On the occasions that the Northern Lights are visible, the hill will provide a panoramic view across the city and out towards the North Sea and is a great location to see the night sky all year round.
Visiting any of these locations at any time of the year is a great day out or weekend away and are adventures we’d recommend to everyone to try at least once. You can’t beat a night under the stars.