As February half-term approaches, you'll find many attractions opening their doors again for the 2018 season. Find more ideas and which attractions are open at this time of year on our Winter page.
Find fell and road running events listed in our Enjoy Outdoors pages while foodie fans should check out farmers' markets in and around the North York Moors.
See what's coming up in March too or you can search for events by date here or book online.
Dark Skies Festival (9-25 February)
Once again we're teaming up with the Yorkshire Dales National Park to hold a joint Dark Skies Festival now extended to 17 days for 2018. Thanks to low light pollution in both National Parks, our skies are ideal for spotting constellations, shooting stars and other cosmic happenings.
The programme of family-friendly activities in the North York Moors includes the return of some of the popular events from previous years, such as stargazing at our three Dark Skies Discovery Centres, daytime craft activities, ghost walks on the coast and night vision walks with forest rangers. New events for 2018 include:
- Dark Run in Dalby Forest
- Nighttime gravel and mountain bike rides (from Coxwold, Thornton le Dale, Fryup Dale and Sutton Bank)
- Stargazing at new venues including Ryedale Folk Museum, Secret Seaview (Robin Hood's Bay), The Spa Hotel, Saltburn and Chapelgarth Estate, Great Broughton.
- Owl Prowl
- And for adrenaline junkies – a pitch black night zip. Thrill seekers will be able to plunge more than 200 metres into the darkness of Dalby Forest courtesy of Go Ape.
Early booking recommended! Booking details and the full programme of events is available on the Dark Skies Festival website. Please note our Eventbite page includes details of how to book for our own events only.
There's also a chance to join Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society (SARAS) earlier in the month (2 February) for their regular stargazing event in Dalby Forest from 8-9.30pm; free to attend, although charitable donations welcome. The Forestry Commission will charge £2 per car on exit.
Half-term fun for children (10-18 February)
There's half-term fun at Whitby Abbey and Castle Howard all week or head to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway where daily trains will be running between Pickering and Grosmont.
You'll find plenty of family-based Dark Skies activities going on at our two National Park Centres this week during the daytime. At The Moors Centre, take part in our Star Trekking Treasure Hunt (10-25 February), create your very own hybrid star creature (12 February), find out about nocturnal animals (13 February) or make and launch a rocket (15 February).
Create sparkly stars, balloon rockets and glittering galaxies at our Star Party (13 February at Danby or 14 February at Sutton Bank) plus Anthea Firth will be joining us to help you create your very own lanterns on 15 February (Sutton Bank in the morning and Danby in the afternoon).
Plus drop in any time to Sutton Bank all week for a galaxy of activities from themed crafts, trails, treasure hunts, walks and talks.
As well as their stargazing evenings, Hidden Horizons will be running their Fossil Hunting Trips from Runswick Bay (19 February) and Boggle Hole (20 February).
Beck Isle Museum has plenty on, starting with Valentine crafts (12 February) followed by one of its popular Traditional Craft Days (14 February). See rural skills such as printing on the beautiful Columbian letterpress, butter making, and rag rugging. They're also running Fossil Hunters (16 February) where you'll learn all about dinosaurs, and hunt for clues in the grounds.
At Nunnington Hall, drop in and enjoy their feathery friends' garden trail or fat feeder and bird box making (12-18 February), test your detective skills on Eden Camp's Spy Trail (all week) or learn Circus Skills with Mr Dan the Circus Man at Helmsley Arts Centre (17 February).
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.
Other great events and exhibitions
The Redcar and Cleveland’s Winter Walking Festival continues until 4 February, with plenty of walks to pick, from 2 to 9 miles, plus a chance to have a go at Nordic walking.
A welcome sight heralding the end of winter is the 'white carpet' of snowdrops on Burton Agnes' woodland walk. Their annual Snowdrop Spectacular runs from 10 February to 4 March. There's also a stunning display at Mount Grace Priory, where an estimated million-plus bulbs will be bursting into life throughout the grounds and woodland (open weekends only).
Throughout the Dark Skies Festival and running through to 16 April, we will be hosting two exhibitions at our Inspired by… gallery that take inspiration from our dramatic night skies, featuring local artists, photographers and jewellery makes, showcasing a stunning display of the National Park’s dark side.
Join us on 11 February too for a special event Love in the Air – Valentine’s in the Gallery, a chance to meet some of the artists, browse our special selection of jewellery from selected makers, hear harpist Sarah Dean playing a special repertoire of romantic music, enjoy free chocolates and a glass of wine on arrival.
Well-known for its friendliness, the Sinnington Hunt hosts its annual point to point within the grounds of Duncombe Park (11 February). The card kicks off at 12.30pm.
This year the Laurence Sterne Trust will be celebrating the 250th anniversary of A Sentimental Journey through a series of talks by individuals who have undertaken Different Journeys, beginning with award-winning singer songwriter Jim Boyes. Join Jim for Sensations of a Wound, St Michael's Church, Coxwold (24 February), an evening of new songs accompanied by singer-songwriter and pianist Belinda O'Hooley.
Don a bee suit and delve into the wondrous world of bee keeping on a beginners course starting 28 February and running for 7 sessions (indoors and outdoors) with Ryedale Beekeepers Association.