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Events in May

Walkers in the North York Moors National Park Credit in the North York Moors National Park Credit

Embrace spring and two long bank holiday weekends this month, with events and festivals celebrating artisan food, culture and outdoor activities. Plus don't forget the Tour de Yorkshire makes its fourth visit to the North York Moors (5 May) passing through some of our most iconic landscapes.

If that inspires you to get out into our great outdoors, we're holding our fourth Walking Festival later in the month. WalkFest 2018 (26–28 May) features eight guided themed walks led by expert guides. There's a chance to walk linear stretches of Wainwright's Coast to Coast or the Cleveland Way too, with transport provided! See the full Festival schedule for more details.

Find more walking challenges, cycling and mountain biking, and fell and road running events listed in our Enjoy Outdoors pages while there’s a wealth of wildlife, nature and other outdoors experiences waiting to be discovered too. Foodie fans should also check out the growing number of farmers' markets in and around the North York Moors.

You can also search for events by date here or book online.

May Bank Holiday Weekend (5-7 May)

Combine watching the Tour de Yorkshire with a spot of biking at spectacular Sutton Bank, including round 2 of Sutton Bank Bikes' Kids Time Trial (5 May), with five categories starting from balance bikes; prizes for winners and best fancy dress (Tour de Yorkshire themed).

Railway fans should head to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway for the return of its Behind the Scenes weekend (5–7 May) for a sneaky peek in areas normally not open to the public, including at Grosmont and Goathland.

The annual Beadlam Charity Tractor Run returns on 6 May, with around 200 tractors trundling around the 50-mile route and taking in many of the traditional villages of the North York Moors including Gillamoor, Hutton le Hole, Spaunton, Cropton and Newton-upon-Rawcliffe. The event starts and finishes at Beadlam Farm Shop.

Centuries of tradition are celebrated on May Day (7 May) in Slingsby, centred around the village's impressive maypole, along with Minster Stray dancers, Swinton Brass Bank and the Scarecrow Trail (5-7 May). Pick up a leaflet for £2 from the 'pop up' cafe in the Methodist Chapel, Robin Hood Caravan Park or Tony's village shop and follow the trail around the village to see this year's creations. 

Over at Whitby Abbey, witness spectacular aerial displays of birds of prey in flight with gothic falconers (5-7 May).

Festivals and performing arts

Musicport on the Moors (4-7 May) is a new festival for 2018 from the organisers of Whitby's popular autumn event. Head to The Hut, a brand new venue in Goathland for workshops, performance, live music, South American street food and more. Booking essential

Also new this year, Scarborough Food & Drink Festival (12-13 May) is a two day food and drink celebration, with exhibitors, live cookery demonstrations and music. A seafront kitchen will be hosted by top chef Stephanie Moon with guest appearances from Michelin Star chefs.

Beertown returns to Malton (17-19 May) for a fifth helping, with even more craft beers, street food and live music. Hosted by microbreweries Bad Seed Brewery and Brass Castle in the Milton Rooms, the beer festival will include a preview day on Thursday. All proceeds go to the Ryedale Special Families.

Festival on the Moor's The Great North Folk Festival (25-28 May), takes place at Botton Village, nestled in Danby Dale. This small friendly festival features concerts, craft & music workshops, singarounds and all day acoustic programme, with onsite camping and real ale bar.

The famous Malton Food Lovers Festival (26-27 May) is one of the year's highlights - a food connoisseur's dream, with 180 stalls and street food, cookery theatre, cookery school, festival bar, live music and more. This year sees the return of the late night street food party on Saturday. There's also a chance to see some of the North York Moors' star chefs including Tommy Banks from the Black Swan at Oldstead and Debbie Raw (BBC2's Further Back in Time for Dinner).

Other events and exhibitions

Ampleforth Abbey is running its orchard tours (2, 9, 16, 23 May), including a tour of the orchard and cider mill, plus a chance to taste its ciders. Pre-booking advised. Not to be missed too is the chance to go on a Wildflower Wander with Rievaulx Terrace's head gardener Nick (10 May).

Yorkshire Arboretum is also hosting a insightful talk with Defra's Chief Plant Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spence, Plant biosecurity and tree health: identifying new threats and protecting our plants and trees (10 May).

‘Prospect Refuge Hazard’ an exhibition by artist Helen Sear, opens concurrently on 5 May at Dalby Forest, Crescent Arts (Scarborough) and Ryedale Folk Museum and runs through to 10 June. Works at Ryedale Folk Museum include 'The Woods will Turn' a series of photographs of felled trees, 'Viewfinder' a series of photographs of haybales and ‘Cateatera Fumus’, a light and image installation, first exhibited at the Venice Biennele in 2015.

Scampston Hall plays host to the Pickering Game and Country Fair (19-20 May), a fantastic day out for all the family and a chance to have a go at country sports, including fishing, clayshooting and archery.

The British Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition returns to Nunnington Hall and runs from 19 May through to 25 July. Expect to see some spectacular images from this year's winners while exhibitions at the Inspired by... gallery in Danby begin with Shoreside to Moorside featuring artists Pam Scott, Ian Nicholas, Sally Nicholas and Anthony Cos and Alongside, with the work of Suzie Devey. Describing herself as a ‘story-seeker’, Suzie is fascinated by the people, flora and fauna that inhabit our local landscape. For anyone keen to have a go at lino printing, Suzie Devey will be running a family-friendly drop-in session on 7 May.

Moor Impressions opens on 24 May when we welcome the East Anglian Group of Marine Artists to the Inspired by... gallery who have amassed an amazing body of work inspired by their annual visits to the North York Moors. There's a chance to meet the artists on 26 May (drop in anytime).

Our exciting programme of workshops in the gallery continues with John Shave's Landscapes in Oils on 27 May and Sue Williams who explores the use of watercolours and acrylic inks (28 May). Booking essential for all.

Lockton Artists Open Studios makes a welcome return this month (26 May - 3 June), giving you a chance to visit artists’ studios (weekends only) and view/purchase high quality artwork (daily in the village hall) from 12 talented artists who live in or near this beautiful National Park village.

The definitive history of Rosedale Railway and ironstone mining lecture programme, Land of Iron: Tales over Tea by leading expert, Malcolm Bisby, continues on 30 May, at Danby Village Hall (YO21 2LZ). Booking not required. Free admission and cake too!

Help National Trust rangers with their Small Mammal Survey at Hayburn Wyke (30 May) with a chance to get up close to voles, shrews and wood mice. Booking essential on 01723 870 423.

May half-term fun for children (26 May - 3 June)

Hunt for treasures on a great geocaching hunt at Ravenscar (26 May), using a GPS unit to search for clues and goodies along a three mile walk. Come and explore the natural world with Nature at Nunnington Hall (27-28 May), join a bug hunt, make a bird box, snail racing and get even closer with Lion Learners animal encounters or go on a mini-beast safari with a National Trust ranger at Ravenscar (1 June).

Find out all about the birds and insects that make their home at Sutton Bank with Birds and Bugs (26 May - 3 June) with themed crafts, trails, treasure hunts, walks and talks. Drop in anytime. Learn even more with Brilliant Birds & Gooey Grub (30 May), booking essential.

Half-term kicks off at The Moors National Park Centre with our Dragonfly Treasure Hunt (28 May - 3 June). Plus our popular archery sessions return on 28 May where The Whitby Company of Archers are on hand to give Robin Hood wannabes instruction. The little ones can join the Hungry Caterpillar's Party (29 May), while older children can spend the day finding out what it's like to be a National Park Ranger (31 May). You'll find full details of all these events in our events calendar.

Beck Isle Museum has plenty on too, starting with Victorian Childhood (29 May), and Easy Peasy Printing (31 May) where you'll learn about basic printing on the beautiful Columbian letterpress, while its Traditional Craft Day (30 May) is popular too. See traditional skills such as butter making, blacksmithing and rag rugging.

Head to Castle Howard for an outdoor performance of The Tales of Beatrix Potter (26 May - 3 June), bringing everyone’s favourite fury friends to life on an adventure full of mischief and mayhem around the grounds. They’ll also be an indoor trail and the chance to take part in an outdoor hunt around 'Mr McGregor's' walled garden.

Think you know the story of Dracula? Think again. To truly understand Bram Stoker's gothic icon, you need to hear his tale in the setting of the writer's inspiration, Whitby Abbey and you can do that over the bank holiday weekend (26-28 May) (Performances 11am, 1pm and 3pm).

Hutton le Hole's popular annual Duck Race and cake stall (28 May) sees 100s of ducks released into the beck at 3pm. 

East Barnby Outdoor Centre will be running their supervised Bushcraft and Beck Adventure day with National Trust (29 May), including bushcraft, den-building and wild art, and getting wet! For details and bookings, call 01947 893333 or see their website.

More watery fun can be had on the National Trust's rock pool rummage at Robin Hood's Bay on 31 May, where you can learn about amazing anemones, crazy crabs, funny fish, and at Guisborough Forest & Walkway's Pond Day (1 June) for a chance to discover some of the creatures lurking under the surface of the water. 

Head to Dalby Forest or Guisborough Forest and take a journey with the Highway Rat and all the characters from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s story. Packs are available from the visitor centre for £3.