Events that will light up your night
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 - 9 to 25 February 2024
We're delighted to be showcasing our ninth Dark Skies Festival - full of activities and opportunities to appreciate the wonders of the night sky. This festival has an events programme jam packed full of exciting after dark adventures for the full family to explore. So, get prepared for the wonders of what's to come in our ninth Dark Skies Festival, taking place in February 2024...
So, what are you waiting for? Tis the season to look up and marvel at the thousands of sparkles in the sky. There's stay and gaze packages to spend a night under the stars, all manners of night walks, stargazing aplenty, daytime adventures and craft activities, bat-box making, mindful experiences and much more. See our exciting programme here!
As an International Dark Sky Reserve, designated by DarkSky (formerly International Dark-Sky Association), the North York Moors is one of the best places in the world to appreciate what's above. Our festivals are the best opportunity to learn about and enjoy our sparkling night skies.
Events and activities
There's 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 safaris, nocturnal nature and ghost walks, starlight runs, mindful sessions, children's trails, art workshops 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 Astro Dog 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 2021 we opened the Star Hub at Sutton Bank; Dark Skies expert Richard Darn often hosts stargazing events at the Hub.
- Large Outdoors run a series of stargazing experiences throughout the year, including at Sutton Bank Star Hub.
- 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.
Stay and Gaze in the National Park
Looking for somewhere to 'Stay and Gaze'? Find great places to stay with our Dark Skies Friendly businesses. 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.