Festivals, events and activities
The North York Moors National Park is a stargazer’s paradise, with some of the best dark skies in the country. It’s all about discovering, learning and enjoying the dark and the stars you can see as a result, with events throughout the year, suitable for all ages. Have a look at our Where to go, what to see page for some ideas on the best locations for stargazing or read on to discover more about our star studded events.
Dark Skies Festival (18 February - 6 March 2022)
Celebrate our seventh Dark Skies Festival with the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Our programme is now live and packed full of events to experience our special dark skies. See the full line up and book your place for some festival fun.
Events and activities
There are a whole host of events running throughout the year at various locations across the National Park. You can find other great sites for stargazing and places hosting events in the area on the Go Stargazing website.
- Dark Skies Festival - our annual celestial celebration for 17 days during February. Expect stargazing, night zips, wildlife and ghost walks, starlight runs and bike rides, children's trails, activities and more, from Hawes to the Moors and shores!
- Dark Skies Fringe Festival - One festival isn't enough! We know you want to #SeeMoorStars so we added another fixture to the stargazing calendar. During every October half term expect more starry delights.
- Scarborough & Ryedale Astronomical Society (SARAS) holds stargazing events in Dalby Forest on the first Friday of most months between October and March each year between 8pm and 9.30pm. Check their website for the latest dates.
- Whitby Astronomical Society organise Star Parties on Whitby's West Cliff during the summer and in the Bruce Observatory at Whitby School during the rest of the year and at other locations in the North York Moors, including The Moors National Park Centre at Danby.
- Join Hidden Horizons for one of their stargazing events which start in September and run all winter. With access to their large telescope, enjoy a guided tour of our night sky with their experts. From nebulae and star clusters to planets and constellations, including Orion the Hunter and Taurus the Bull, the secrets of our skies will be revealed. Booking is essential. If the skies aren't clear, you'll get a chance to experience their immersive star dome with space related film and a virtual tour of the night sky.
- Steve Bell Photography runs a limited number of weekend photography workshops throughout the year. Join Steve, an experienced astro-photographer to take in the very best the North York Moors National Park, during the day and night. Learn all you need to take your photography skills to the next level.
- Adventures for the Soul host events incorporating night walks with yoga and mindfulness, the ultimate way to appreciate your surroundings in a reflective and 'present' approach, truly connecting with nature.
- Rewilding Adventure specialise in bushcraft and outdoor activities. Check out their varied programme of after-dark experiences including night navigation, moon rise viewings, dinner by campfire and moonlit meanders.
- AFS Mountaineering run night navigation masterclasses to improve your understanding and confidence in the dark. Such skills could allow you to travel to more remote spots and admire the skies.
- Starfest is an annual 3-night star camp run by SARAS at Dalby Forest (every August), which attracts amateur astronomers from around the UK. There's camping, talks and events, and even a rocket-building competition.
- On a clear night, why not visit our two National Park Centres at Sutton Bank and Danby and simply enjoy the night sky. In September 2021 we opened the Star Hub at Sutton Bank. Ask the team if any dark skies events are coming up.
- The Grand in York offer stargazing packages for those wanting to stay in the city, with countryside on the doorstep. Alongside astronomer Richard Darn you'll spend an evening at the Star Hub at the Sutton Bank National Park Centre.
Looking for somewhere to 'Stay and Gaze'? Find great places to stay on our Dark Skies Friendly map. All of the accommodation owners have gone the extra mile to provide equipment and information so you can stargaze from the comfort of your property.
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