Northern Lights in Inverness: our top tips

Spotting the Northern Lights in Inverness

At the Kingsmills Hotel, we believe that experiencing the breathtaking beauty of the Northern Lights is something very much deserving of a spot on your bucket list… even if you’re visiting Inverness! Believe it or not, the Highlands is on the same latitude as some southern parts of Norway and Sweden, so you may get the chance to spot this phenomenon while on your visit to the Highlands!

However, as the Northern Lights are dependent on solar activity, there is no guaranteed way to ensure you will witness this natural wonder during your stay. As we approach the end of winter, the conditions in the Northern Highlands do become more favourable for Aurora Borealis sightings.

Here are some tips for our guests who are eager to see the Northern Lights during their stay:

Be prepared

Check the Aurora Forecast: The first step to seeing Aurora Borealis is to check the forecast. Websites such as AuroraWatch UK and SpaceWeatherLive provide real-time updates on the Aurora Borealis activity. Before setting out to see the Northern Lights, make sure the weather forecast is favourable for Inverness with a clear night sky!

Dress for the weather: Inverness can get quite chilly, especially during the winter months when the Aurora Borealis is most visible. Dressing warmly is essential, as you may be outside for an extended period. Wearing layers, hats, gloves, and warm boots is advisable. Fear not, return from your excursion and warm up with a dram in our Whisky Bar.

The Whisky Bar whisky selection at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness

Location, location, location

Find a dark location: Once you have checked the forecast, it’s time to find a dark location. The Inverness area has many places to offer for Aurora spotting, such as Loch Ness, Clava Cairns or the Black Isle. Make sure to find a location away from any light pollution, such as streetlights or buildings, to ensure the best possible viewing experience. Occasionally, you may see the brightest lights from the city, but your best chance is in a remote spot away from city lights.

Be patient: The Aurora Borealis is a natural phenomenon, and it can be unpredictable. Even with the best forecast and dark location, there’s no guarantee that you’ll see the Northern Lights. It’s essential to be patient and keep an eye on the sky. The best time to see Aurora Borealis in the Highlands is between September and April.

Let the moment live on

Capture the moment: Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the moment. Often the most colourful Northern Lights are not best viewed by the naked eye. To get the best possible photos of Aurora Borealis, use a tripod, a remote shutter release and a fast lens with a low aperture. Or, let your smartphone do all the work with its automatic long shutter!

Northern Lights over Kingsmills Hotel

Seeing the Aurora Borealis in Inverness is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should not be missed. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to witnessing this awe-inspiring natural wonder!