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Dark Skies Festival

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

The Dark Skies Festival is upon us!

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.

Events are confirmed 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 between 15 February - 3 March 2019. 

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, 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 are taking place all over the moorland, dales, coast and Howardian Hills.

The full Festival programme is available on our Dark Skies Festival website

Highlights include:

  • Special talk at Castle Howard: Our Place in the Universe by Dr Tim O'Brien, University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics 
  • Go Ape! Night Zip
  • Dining on the HM Bark Endeavour and stargazing on its deck
  • Dark Skies gravel biking challenge with True Grit
  • 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 at our visitor centres
  • Whitby and the Cosmos Exhibition at Whitby Museum as well as a special preview lecture with Henrique Araujo, Professor of Physics at Imperial College
  • Ghost walks through Robin Hood's Bay
  • Dark Runs and Night Navigation Expeditions
  • Saving the Dark Film Screening
  • Photography workshops
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 suitable 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.
JORVIK Viking Festival, York (Wednesday 20 – Wednesday 27 February 2019)

Why not combine your trip with a visit to the 35th JORVIK Viking Festival, a week-long celebration of York’s rich Norse heritage. This year’s theme is ‘The Untold Story of Women in the Viking Age’.

An exciting programme of events is held across the city and includes living history encampments, walks, talks, tours and, dramatic combat performances. Find out more.

Check out the 2019 Dark Skies Festival leaflet