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Festivals, events and activities

Dark Skies Festival by Steve Bell Dark Skies Festival by Steve Bell

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 Fringe Festival (22 - 31 October 2021)

February's Virtual Dark Skies Festival was a blast. You watched in your thousands and reveled over the mind-boggling, beautiful and brilliant presentations. But, it's made us even more determined to show you our dark sky delights in person.

The Fringe Festival is back for a second time to celebrate our night skies. We're even more excited as it's the first time since we were awarded International Dark Sky Reserve status. Keep an eye on the Dark Skies Festival page for more information.

Hidden Horizons at Dalby by Steve Bell

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've added another fixture to the stargazing calendar. During 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.
  • 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. Starfest 2020 is the 19th annual event and one which promises to be a star-studded occasion.
  • On a clear night, why not visit our two National Park Centres at Sutton Bank and Danby and simply enjoy the night sky.

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.