Northern Lights to sparkle over UK this November – where to see them

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Though this November there sadly won’t be any major firework displays like there usually are, the skies may still host a magic display for lucky Britons. The Northern Lights tend to make their first appearances in the autumn and winter months, making November a prime time to spot them.

Though aurora borealis, as the lights are also known, are best spotted from countries including Iceland, Canada and Russia, they have been known to glisten across certain parts of the UK.

In fact, while they are most prominent in the North, some eagle-eyed Britons have even managed to spot them as far south as Cornwall and Kent.

The stunning array of greens and blues are best viewed when it is particularly dark, which makes the long nights of winter an ideal backdrop.

What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights are a beautiful array of hues which span across the sky.

They are most commonly in shades of pink and green but have also been known to produce vibrant blue, violet, yellow and sometimes even red.

The impressive display is caused by charged solar particles which are interacting with the Earth’s magnetic fields.

At the magnetic North and South Pole, the particles collide with gas to produce the colours.

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Where in the UK can Britons spot the Northern Lights?

Due to their polar locations, the best spots to see aurora borealis is in the Northern parts of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Scotland

Scotland is a common area for the Northern Lights to be viewed.

Largely, this is thanks to its Northern location, but also because around 70 percent of the country is made up of rural farm.

This means even darker skies unpolluted by city lights – a haven for the colours to truly shine.

According to WWF, the Scottish Highlands and Scottish Isles are some of the best viewing spots.

WWF additionally lists some extra Scottish hotspots, including:

  • Shetland, Orkney and Caithness
  • Aberdeenshire and the Moray Coast
  • Lewis, Harris and the most northerly tip of Skye
  • The Cairngorms
  • Galloway Forest Park
  • Rannoch Moor and Perthshire
  • Angus and the coast of Fife
  • Calton Hill or Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh

England

If you aren’t in Scotland, there are plenty of locations across England where aurora borealis has been seen before.

Northern England, with the Lake District, in particular, is an ideal place to set up camp.

Derwent water near Keswick is listed as England’s prime hotspot.

Similarly, Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland is also listed due to its location in the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park – Europe’s largest area of protected night sky.

However, Southern residents in England have also been treated to a surprise appearance of colour in the past.

The Northern Lights have been seen from Exmoor National Park in Devon and southernmost parts of the Cornish coastline in recent years.

Wales

Wales is home to a few prime viewing locations.

Breacon Beacons and Anglesey are listed as two major places for avid viewers to scope out the lights.

National Trust also lists Carneddau, Snowdonia, as an ideal hotspot due to its 21,000 acres of mountainous land, perfect for a magical display in the right conditions.

Stackpole, on the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast similarly provides a delightful vantage point.

Northern Ireland

As you might imagine, thanks to its location, Northern Ireland is home to some excellent areas ideal for a late-night light display.

This is further emphasised by the array of countryside.

The uppermost coastline of Northern Ireland, toward the Malin sea, has been known to attract the colours in the past.

Giants Causeway also offers a scenic place to soak up the natural wonder.

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