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Forget Norway and Alaska, Scotland offers incredible opportunities to see the Northern Lights, during the fall and winter months when the nights are longer and the air is crisper. While the northern reaches of Scotland are your best bet for spotting the “Mirrie Dancers,” the lights can be seen from any of the area’s Dark Sky sites when the right conditions are met.  

Please note that cloud cover and full moons may impair visibility of Northern Lights.

Shetland Islands
As the northernmost part of the British Isles, Shetland offers visitors fantastic opportunities to see the Northern Lights gracing its sky. Throughout the winter, there are frequent chances to catch both low-level displays as well as spectacular colors.

Galloway Forest Park
Although Galloway Forest Park is farther south in Scotland, visitors can still view displays of the Northern Lights on occasion. As Great Britain’s first Dark Sky site, the Galloway Forest Park offers visitors the chance to see over 7,000 stars and planets with the naked eye, as well as the beautiful Milky Way that arches across.

Cairngorms National Park
Head to the largest national park in Great Britain for a great shot of seeing the Northern Lights. In the northeast of the park, Glenlivet Estate (a recently designated Dark Sky Discovery Site), has some of the best views. The hood of your car will provide exceptional front row seating, and don’t forget the hot cocoa and warm blankets!

Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
If you’re visiting Edinburgh and fancy a climb, don’t forget about these vantage points that offer great views of both the city and sky. While it’s not as common to spot the lights in Edinburgh as it is in Northern Scotland, with the right conditions the Northern Lights have been spotted illuminating the city. In any case, you’ll be rewarded with the beautiful cityscape vista.

Posted in Scotland

Cover Photo: Glenlivet Estate