North York Moors

North York Moors logo
Browse section

Dark Skies Festival

Northern Lights at Saltwick Bay Credit Andy Dawson PhotographyNorthern Lights at Saltwick Bay Credit Andy Dawson Photography

Watch this space! Dark Skies Festival is coming soon (15 February - 3 March 2019)

Dark Skies Festival 2019 The North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales are a stargazer’s paradise, with some of the best night skies in the country. 

In an urban area you'll be lucky to see 20 stars on a clear night, but in an area of low light pollution, such as our National Parks, you could see as many as 2,000.

Plans are now in place for our fourth Dark Skies Festival, teaming up with the Yorkshire Dales once again. Building on the success of the 2018 festival, 2019 is even bigger with headline acts and film premieres already lined up between 15 February - 3 March 2019. 

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing the Dark Skies Festival 2019 will focus on our lunar satellite. From moon gazing events and planetariums to exhibitions and photography workshops, discover the thrills, fun and fascinating science that makes up the night sky. 

Events and activities will be taking place all over the moorland, coast and Howardian Hills. As well as some of the incredibly successful events from previous years, such as stargazing at our three Dark Skies Discovery Centres, ghost walks on the coast and night zips at Dalby Forest, new events for this year include: a special talk from Dr Tim O'Brien of the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, Ale and Astronomy evenings at Whitby Brewery, film screenings of Saving the Dark, and Whitby and the Cosmos Exhibition. 

Detailed listings of events will be coming soon. See you in February!

If you run a business and would like to help or run an event, please contact

Highlights for 2019 include:
  • Our Place in the Universe: Dr Tim O'Brien, University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics 
  • Go Ape! Night Zip
  • Dark Skies gravel biking challenge
  • A multimedia, indoor planetarium pop-up experience, a 360 degree journey through the stars
  • Moonrock geocache, astro treasure hunts, rocket workshops and other crafty activities
  • Whitby and the Cosmos Exhibition
  • Ghost walks through Robin Hood's Bay
  • Dark Run in Dalby Forest
  • Saving the Dark Film Screening
  • Photography workshops
  • Astronomy talks, advice, stargazing and moon gazing evenings

The full Festival programme will soon be available on our Dark Skies Festival website.

Bookings and information

Advance bookings and payment are essential for many of the festival events, unless stated as a drop-in event. Booking details are included under each individual event. Please note:

  • Children are welcome at most events but minimum ages may apply.
  • Dogs are allowed at some events, but must be kept on a short fixed lead at all times.
  • Appropriate clothing and footwear is essential. Wrap up warm especially for evening outdoor activities! A torch could be useful too.
Check out the 2019 Dark Skies Festival leaflet