Home » UK destination experts say is one of the ‘top’ Northern Lights hotspots in 2024

UK destination experts say is one of the ‘top’ Northern Lights hotspots in 2024

UK destination experts say is one of the ‘top’ Northern Lights hotspots in 2024

Northern Lights over the Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye is among the top trending destinations in Expedia’s Northern Lights guide (Image: Getty Images)

The that people often many miles to catch a glimpse of. But in 2024, the colourful display, also known as aurora borealis, is set to be even brighter due to the solar maximum. According to experts from Expedia, there is one destination right here in the UK that is one of the “top destinations” people are hoping to visit to catch a glimpse of the beautiful array of colours.

This means that the lights are likely to be brighter and therefore easier to see in many destinations. As the northern lights are caused by activity on the surface of the sun, with more sunspots in 2024, more particles will be able to enter the atmosphere and thus, more intense displays. It’s likely displays will be more frequent too and could even be seen further south and therefore even closer to home than usual.

As part of its Expedia Northern Lights Insider Guide, the experts revealed that the Isle of Skye is among the top 10 trending destinations to spot the aurora borealis in 2024 – beating Tromsø in Norway. They found that searches for this destination has increased by 60 percent year-on-year, and it is likely the Scottish destination will remain popular in 2024.

However, the Northern Lights are usually at their best over the Isle of Skye between October and March, with some of the best visibility in March. As the evenings get lighter, it is typically less likely you will spot the display.

Spotting the aurora borealis is really a matter of chance and luck, as well as the right conditions. The less light pollution the better, and you will want a very dark and dry night with no clouds.

Northern Lights over Skye

Whether you see the Northern Lights can depend on a lot of factors including light pollution (Image: Getty Images)

How to get to the Isle of Skye

Depending on where you are travelling from, there are a few ways to get to the Isle of Skye. If you are flying up to Scotland, before heading across to Skye, Inverness is the closest airport.

Airlines including British Airways, Loganair and easyJet all operate domestic flights to and from Inverness Airport. British Airways has each-way flights between Inverness and London for as little as £33. If you are hoping to jet off with British Airways, you can see our top picks of their latest deals and offers here.

easyJet also offers a number of cheap flights to Inverness, with fares from Bristol and London starting from £17.99 one-way.

You will then need to make the roughly two-and-a-half-hour drive between Inverness and the Isle of Skye.

There is not a train station on the Isle of Skye, but you can still reach the region via one of two train routes – the West Highland Line and the Kyle Line. When considering travel by train, you will need to make the final part of your journey from the end of the railway line to your destination by bus or taxi.

You can search for trains and see the latest timetables using the ScotRail website. Alternatively, you can compare prices and plan your route using Trainline.

Where to stay on the Isle of Skye

There is no exact spot on the Isle of Skye that promises the best views of displays, though there are plenty of cosy hotels and B&Bs in the area. In a Tripadvisor forum, one Tripadvisor contributor from Aberdeen advised either staying in the main town or Portree, a little further away in Uig.

They wrote: “Portree is the main town with the most to offer and it is pretty central for the island. Uig is a short drive away by the main road, so you can reach the Quirang and the top of Trotternish fairly quickly/easily at night and Dunvegan is easily enough reached by a good main road. I have seen good shots of the aurora from over Portree itself and Dunvegan in the last few weeks but of course, the further away from any light pollution, the better.

They continued: “Personally, Uig is my go-to when I can’t find anywhere in Portree, although a small place, it also has the basics and is minutes away from some great dark spots.

They added: “Portree is the main town with the most to offer and it is pretty central for the island. Uig is a short drive away by the main road, so you can reach the Quirang and the top of Trotternish fairly quickly and easily at night and Dunvegan is easily enough reached by a good main road. I have seen good shots of the aurora from over Portree itself and Dunvegan in the last few weeks but of course, the further away from any light pollution, the better.”

Prices for a stay in Portree vary depending on the type of accommodation you are looking for. One of the top-rated stays on Booking.com is the luxurious Cullin Hills Hotel, which is set in 15 acres of private grounds and boasts views over Portree Bay to the Cullin Mountain range. Previous guests have rated the hotel as “superb”, with stays on average £214.60 a night.

Or, if you want to stay in your own self-contained room with a private hot tub and sea views, Stones Luxury B&B is one of the top-rated properties in Uig with a score of “Exceptional”.

Top tips for seeing the Northern Lights on the Isle of Skye

Seeing the Northern Lights on the Isle of Skye is really a matter of luck. Often, it can be hard to tell when the lights will show up until a few hours before, and even then you aren’t guaranteed a sighting.

According to experts from Glendaleskye.com: “The Northern Lights can provide an amazing spectacle in the Winter months. The incredible, shifting columns of light appear like searchlights in the skies over Glendale.

“Most auroras on the Isle of Skye appear white to the eye. It is extremely rare for colours to be visible at this latitude (57.5° North). The spectacular colours reveal themselves when the aurora is photographed using a long exposure.”

The perfect conditions are those on very dark nights when there is no light pollution for vehicles, buildings or streetlamps. You also want a dry night with no clouds.