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Best UK Sites for seeing the Northern Lights this March

Newmarket Holidays has created a free guide to showcase the best places to see the Northern Lights across the UK in March when the spring equinox and a once-in-a-decade phenomenon known as the solar maximum give Brits a dazzling chance to see the aurora.

Northern lights over Callanish stones
Northern lights over Callanish stones

The escorted tours specialist, better known for running guided tours to see the Northern Lights in the Arctic Circle, has pinpointed nearly 30 locations across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland that offer the best chance to see the phenomenon thanks to attributes that include a northerly outlook, dark skies, little light pollution, and past aurora experiences

March offers a superb opportunity to see a spectacular light show in the UK, with the Northern Lights usually most active during the equinox, which next falls on 20th March, thanks to the Earth's position in relation to the Sun. Plus, 2024 is expected to be the year of the next solar maximum, which only happens every 11 to 15 years and means that the lights are their more intense and frequent.

Locations that Newmarket Holidays has highlighted as the best to see the Northern Lights in the UK include the Isle of Lewis, Britain's highest pub and castle ruins on the Antrim coast, with beaches and rural areas in remote destinations such as the Outer Hebrides in Scotland; Northumberland, the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales in England, and Snowdonia National Park in Wales, featuring heavily.

Northern lights infographic
Northern lights infographic

The guide also features top tips for seeing the lights in the UK from Newmarket Holidays' tour leaders, with recommendations including signing up to Aurora Watch UK for alerts when the lights are visible, checking the weather to avoid cloudy nights, having backup 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.

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.

Isle of Skye Scotland
Isle of Skye Scotland

In Wales, Snowdonia National Park is highlighted as a perfect spot, with the lakes of Llyn Geirionydd and Llyn y Dywarchen reflecting the dazzling beauty of the lights. In Northern Ireland the Antrim coast is highlighted with Ballintoy Harbour, Whitepark Bay Beach and the medieval ruins of Dunluce Castle highlighted as excellent locations for previous displays.

Mike Fleetwood, head of short-haul at Newmarket Holidays, says: "The combination of the spring equinox, when there's an increase in geomagnetic activity between the Sun and Earth, plus the impact of the solar maximum, which is the most active part of the sun's 11-year solar cycle, gives Brits an incredible chance to see the Northern Lights over the next few weeks - 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.

Portobello beach in Edinburgh
Portobello beach in Edinburgh

“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.”

About Newmarket Holidays

Newmarket Holidays is a multi-award winning, independently owned British tour operator, providing a portfolio of escorted trips, resort-centred stays, and event-focused tours throughout the world. Founded in 1983, Newmarket Holidays has steadily grown and expanded to become one of the UK's leading and most respected travel companies. High standards of customer care and value are integral to Newmarket Holidays' operations and this is reflected in the meticulously-designed tours, from accommodation to on-the-ground experiences.

Offering a vast selection of escorted, air-inclusive tours within the UK, Europe, Americas, India and South-east Asia, Newmarket Holidays also presents a range of ocean and river cruises. Additionally, the tour operator is a popular provider of concert and event experiences such as Lapland Santa Experience, the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships and performances by classical violinist and orchestra leader André Rieu.

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