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Dark Skies Festival

Northern Lights at Saltwick Bay Credit Andy Dawson PhotographyNorthern Lights at Saltwick Bay Credit Andy Dawson Photography

Friday 9 – Sunday 25 February 2018

Dark Skies Festival logo The North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales are a stargazer’s paradise, with some of the best night skies in the country. 

In an urban area you'll be lucky to see 20 stars on a clear night, but in an area of low light pollution, such as our National Parks, you could see as many as 2,000.

Plans are now in place for our third Dark Skies Festival, teaming up with the Yorkshire Dales once again. Building on the success of the 2017 festival, 2018 is even bigger with some 100 events already lined up between 9 and 25 February.

Discover the thrills, fun and nocturnal wildlife wonders that come with getting outside after dark, as well as simply marvelling the beauty of the National Parks’ pristine night skies in the company of astronomers. From cycling, walking and running to wildlife-watching, stargazing parties and daytime rocket-making workshops, look up and look out, and discover more about the sky above you.

Events and activities will be taking place all over the moors, coast and Howardian Hills. As well as some of the incredibly successful events from previous years, such as stargazing at our three Dark Skies Discovery Centres, ghost walks on the coast and night vision walks with forest rangers, there’ll be a night run in Dalby Forest, night mountain bike rides at Coxwold and Sutton Bank, nocturnal nature walks, bushcraft and night photography workshops, with more amazing events to come.

Detailed listings of events are now online. See you in February 2018!

If you run a business and would like to help or run an event, please contact m.hawtin@northyorkmoors.org.uk

Interested in being a expert astro-guide? We're running a starmakers initiative to recruit and develop a band of astro-guides to meet the booming interest in stargazing and the night sky. Find our more about our starmakers programme here.


Highlights for 2018 include:

  • Go Ape Night Zip
  • Dark Skies gravel biking challenge
  • A multimedia, indoor planetarium pop-up experience, a 360 degree journey through the stars
  • Storytelling, rocket building, lantern making and other crafty activities
  • Night Vision using the latest infra-red technology
  • Ghost walks through Robin Hood's Bay
  • Dark Run in Dalby Forest
  • Night owl flying demonstrations
  • Photography workshops
  • Astronomy talks, advice and stargazing evenings

The full Festival programme is available on our Dark Skies Festival website.

Dark Skies photography competition

Take a jaw-dropping photo of the Dark Skies Festival and WIN a backpack of Columbia Sportswear outdoor goodies!

The competition is open to both adult and young photographers, find out more about how you can enter.

Bookings and information

Advance bookings and payment are essential for many of the festival events, unless stated as a drop-in event. Booking details are included under each individual event. Please note:

  • Children are welcome at most events but minimum ages may apply.
  • Dogs are allowed at some events, but must be kept on a short fixed lead at all times.
  • Appropriate clothing and footwear is essential. Wrap up warm especially for evening outdoor activities! A torch could be useful too.
Check out the 2018 Dark Skies Festival leaflet