Travel experts have identified four areas in the UK where stars shine the brightest and celestial events can be seen more clearly with limited light pollution.

The nighttime glow of artificial light, also known as light pollution, obscures the visibility of the night sky and twinkling stars.

John Charnock, CEO of StressFreeCarRental.com who collated the hotspots, said: “With interest in the stars, skies and space growing, many are switching out beaches and sun loungers for dark skies and meteor showers.

“We expect astrotourism will be a huge trend in 2024, and more people than ever will flock to remote spots to witness celestial events like the northern lights and a lunar eclipse.”

What are the northern lights?

Royal Museums Greenwich describes an aurora as “one of the most spectacular displays in the night sky”.

The aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, are caused by particles from the sun that are captured in the Earth’s magnetic field, and heated up, so they glow.

The aurora borealis can be seen in the northern hemisphere, with Charnock suggesting that Malin Head, in Northern Ireland, is a place where the northern lights might be spotted.

The most northern point in Ireland, there are northern light tours available in the area.

The Milky Way

Charnock suggested Northumberland in England and Brecon Beacons in Wales to witness the Milky Way.

EarthSky says the Milky Way is a spiral structure of our galaxy composed of hundreds of billions of stars.

In Brecon Beacons, Wales, the Milky Way, major constellations, meteor showers and bright nebulae are a common view for stargazers.

The pristine dark skies mean visitors can catch a glimpse of galaxies such as M81, M82, and the Leo triplet.

Top four UK hotspots for stargazing

  • Northumberland, England
  • Malin Head, Northern Ireland
  • Brecon Beacons, Wales
  • Galloway Forest, Scotland

The Galloway Forest in Scotland is home to some of the darkest skies in Europe with very little light population.

Visitors to the area are said to see more than 7,000 stars and planets in the night sky.

For those who are staying in London, which is lit up at all times, there is Peter Harrison Planetarium located at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

The planetarium shows offer an immersive experience to learn more about the night sky.