The best places to see the Northern Lights have been revealed as part of a guide to give people more advice on how to see the stunning phenomenon. 

With the sun's solar cycle heading towards peak activity in 2024, Newmarket Holidays, an escorted tour specialist with trips to Northern Lights’ hotspots Iceland and Norway in the Arctic Circle, has created a free guide to showcase the best places to see the stunning light show in the UK.

This phenomenon, known as Solar Maximum, only happens every 11 to 15 years and means that the dazzling Northern Lights are becoming more intense and more frequent, increasing the chances of seeing them from the UK.

The Northern Echo: The best places to see the Northern LightsThe best places to see the Northern Lights (Image: NEWMARKET)

Almost 30 locations across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been selected thanks to attributes that include a northerly outlook, dark skies, little light pollution and past aurora experiences.

They include Tan Hill Inn, Hawes National Park Visitor Centre, Buckden National Park Car Park and Malham National Park Visitor Centre in North Yorkshire, plus Harbottle, Stonehaugh and Cawfields in Northumberland.

The guide also features top tips for seeing the lights in the UK from Newmarket Holidays’ tour leaders, with recommendations including to sign up to Aurora Watch UK for alerts when the lights are visible, check the weather to avoid cloudy nights, have back-up sites in case of adverse conditions, bring plenty of supplies, and to prepare well for long, cold nights as sightings could take hours.

Whilst the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights is on a specialist tour, the guide is intended to help customers catch a glimpse of the spectacle closer to home before embarking on a trip.

The Northern Echo: The Northern Lights

Based on past sightings, Scottish locations that are most likely to provide a successful viewing experience include Dava Moor in the heart of Scotland and Glen Tanar Visitor Centre, a Dark Sky Discovery Site in Aberdeenshire.

In England, the one-street village of Harbottle in Northumberland, Derwentwater in the Lake District, Tan Hill Inn - Britain's highest pub - in the Yorkshire Dales, and the Buckden National Park car park, in North Yorkshire all have dark skies that are needed for aurora views.

Here are the top places in the North East and North Yorkshire to see the Northern Lights: 

  • Harbottle, Northumberland
  • Stonehaugh, Northumberland
  • Cawfields, Northumberland
  • Tan Hill Inn, Yorkshire Dale
  • Buckden National Park car park, North Yorkshire
  • Malham, North Yorkshire
  • Hawes National Park, North Yorkshire

Mike Fleetwood, head of short-haul at Newmarket Holidays, said: "Northern Lights watchers are getting excited about Solar Maximum, which is the most active part of the sun’s 11-year solar cycle when a build-up of activity increases the frequency and intensity of the incredible Northern Lights.

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"The next 18 months offer a rare chance to watch the awe-inspiring light show for free in the UK – something we hope will inspire travellers to plan a future trip to see them again on one of our Northern Lights tours to Iceland or Norway.

“We’ve rounded up the locations where the auroras are most regularly seen in the UK, but a successful sighting requires preparation and good timing, just like a trip to the Arctic Circle, where the Northern Lights are most famously on show.

"Our advice is to remember the three p’s to make the most of Solar Maximum: prepare well, make plans and have plenty of provisions to get through cold nights – our free guide will help.”