1. Northern Lights or aurora borealis near the village of Vik, in southern Iceland
1. Northern Lights or aurora borealis near the village of Vik, in southern IcelandGetty

Seeing the extraordinary Northern Lights have come top of the "bucket list" of things the British want to see or do before they shuffle off this mortal coil.

A survey of 2,000 people by the National Lottery has placed seeing the aurora borealis as the number one personal desire before dying.

In second place was retiring comfortably, followed by visiting the Niagara Falls in Canada, with the pyramids in Egypt and the Grand Canyon in fourth and fifth places.

Andy Carter, a winners' adviser for the National Lottery, told the Press Association: "Everyone has their special bucket list of dreams but we have seen a shift among our winners in recent years.

"It is now less about owning a fleet of cars or getting a swimming pool installed and more about shared experiences with family and friends.

"It's gone from the tangible to the memorable.

"Fifteen years ago, winners often bought top-of-the-range cars, holiday homes and expensive designer handbags but now we hear many more tales of winners taking groups of 20 or more friends and family on holiday.

"Gifting and sharing memorable moments brings a great deal of happiness to our winners so it is no surprise to see these feature on the nation's bucket list."

Top ten things people in the UK want to do before they die

  1. See the Northern Lights
  2. Retire comfortably
  3. Niagara Falls, Canada
  4. The pyramids in Egypt
  5. Grand Canyon
  6. Great Wall of China
  7. Houses for all my family
  8. Fly first class
  9. Go on a cruise
  10. Norwegian Fjords
2. Retire comfortably, with plenty of leisure time and no money worries
2. Retire comfortably, with plenty of leisure time and no money worriesGetty
3. Blue light illuminates the falls in Niagara Falls
3. Blue light illuminates the falls in Niagara FallsGetty
4. The Pyramids of Giza, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and built around 2600 B.C
4. The Pyramids of Giza, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and built around 2600 B.CGetty
5. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (1.8km).
5. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (1.8km).Getty