Where can you see the Northern Lights in the UK?

The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, are one of nature's most mesmerizing phenomena. This spectacular light display occurs when charged particles from the sun collide with atoms in Earth's atmosphere, creating vibrant and ethereal colors that dance across the night sky.

While the Northern Lights are typically associated with regions near the Arctic Circle, it is indeed possible to witness this awe-inspiring spectacle in certain parts of the UK. In this article, we will explore where you can see the Northern Lights in the UK, allowing you to witness this enchanting natural wonder without venturing too far from home.

Best Northern Lights viewpoints in the UK

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Loch Slapin, Isle of Skye, Scotland. Near Morvich Club Campsite. Photo by James Wallace.

Located in the Scottish Highlands, the Isle of Skye offers dark skies and minimal light pollution, providing an ideal setting for witnessing the Northern Lights. Iconic locations such as the Fairy Pools and Old Man of Storr offer stunning viewpoints to observe the aurora dancing above the rugged landscape.


Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

Cairngorms National Park. Near Silverbank Club Campsite. Photo by Fiona Driver.

As one of the darkest places in the UK, Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands is another prime spot for experiencing the Northern Lights. Head to locations like Loch Morlich or Glenlivet Estate, where you can marvel at the celestial display against the backdrop of breathtaking scenery.


Shetland Islands, Scotland

St Ninian's Tombola, Shetland Islands. Near Dunnet Bay Club Campsite. Photo by Jill and Simon Ward.

The remote and sparsely populated Shetland Islands offer excellent opportunities for viewing the Northern Lights. With minimal light pollution and a northerly location, places like Eshaness and St. Ninian's Isle provide stunning vistas to witness the dancing lights.


Northumberland National Park, England

Nunnykirk Club Campsite. Photo by Sharon Sutcliffe.

With its designated Dark Sky Park status, Northumberland National Park is a fantastic destination for stargazing and Northern Lights sightings. Kielder Water & Forest Park within the national park offers unobstructed views of the night sky, making it an ideal location to catch the aurora.


Snowdonia National Park, Wales

Snowdonia National Park. Near Coed-y-Llywn Club Campsite. Photo by Martyn Foss.

Snowdonia's remote mountainous landscapes and low light pollution levels make it a viable option for viewing the Northern Lights. Head to areas like Llyn Geirionydd or Llyn Padarn for unobstructed views of the night sky and a chance to witness this celestial spectacle.


Orkney Islands, Scotland

Sands of Wright, Orkney Islands. Near Altnaharra Club Campsite. Photo by Gillian Butler.

The Orkney Islands, situated off the northeastern coast of Scotland, provide a prime location for Northern Lights sightings. With their relatively low population and clear coastal views, places like Yesnaby and Skara Brae offer excellent opportunities to witness this natural phenomenon.

Remember, seeing the Northern Lights is dependent on various factors such as solar activity, weather conditions, and light pollution levels. It's important to check Aurora forecasts and choose nights with minimal cloud cover for the best chances of experiencing this magical phenomenon.

While the Northern Lights are most commonly associated with Arctic regions, it is indeed possible to witness this captivating natural display in certain parts of the UK. From the remote landscapes of the Scottish Highlands to the dark skies of national parks, there are several prime locations to observe the aurora.

Whether you venture to the Isle of Skye, Cairngorms National Park, or the Shetland Islands in Scotland, or explore Snowdonia National Park in Wales and Northumberland National Park in England, each destination offers unique opportunities to witness the beauty of the Northern Lights. So, keep an eye on the forecast, pack your camera and warm clothing, and embark on an unforgettable journey to see this celestial marvel right here in the UK.