The last display of this size occurred in 2003, when the lights were seen as far south as France and northern Spain, and the recent increase in activity due to the Sun's eleven-year cycle means Britain stands a reasonable chance of further viewings over the next few years.
Robert Massey, of the Royal Astronomical Society, said there was no guarantee aurora borealis would be visible on any given night, but that the sky must be clear.
The chance of seeing the lights is better in areas such as the countryside where light pollution is low, and on nights where the moon is not too bright, he added.
He said: "For the lights to be this spectacular is effectively a once in a decade event – that is not to say minor displays are not visible more often than that, but to get something you would actually notice is much less common.
"These things are somewhat unpredictable but it depends what happens with this lump of material ejected from the Sun as it interacts with the Earth."
Asked about the chance of seeing aurora borealis from the south of England, he said it was "absolutely possible", adding that on extremely rare occasions in history it had been visible close to the equator.