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Events in May

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Embrace spring and two long bank holiday weekends this month, with events, experiences and festivals celebrating artisan food, culture and outdoor activities. Plus don't forget the Tour de Yorkshire makes its fifth visit to the North York Moors (4 May) passing through some of our most iconic landscapes.

Find walking challenges, cycling and mountain biking, and fell and road running events listed in our Enjoy Outdoors pages while there’s a wealth of wildlife, nature and other outdoors experiences waiting to be discovered too. Foodie fans should also check out the growing number of farmers' markets in and around the North York Moors.

You can also search for events by date here or book online.

May Bank Holiday Weekend (4-6 May)

No plans for the Bank Holiday? Join us at Sutton Bank for Rhythm and Brews on 6 May. A whole day to enjoy live music, beer tents, cider and gin tastings - all while taking in “the finest view in England”. Drop in anytime between 11am and 4pm. No booking required.

Railway fans should head to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway for the return of its Behind the Scenes weekend (4–6 May) for a sneaky peek in areas normally not open to the public, including at Grosmont and Goathland.

Head to Castle Howard for Festival of Dogs (4 - 6 May), bring your fury friend along for packed weekend of dog themed events, including a Family Dog Show with prizes for Best in Show, and Most Handsome Hound, plus a gun dog display and dog clinic.

Over at Whitby Abbey, enjoy the story of Dracula with the backdrop of the Gothic ruins that inspired Bram Stoker's famous tale, before watching a fascinating display of birds of prey in free flight and marvel at curious tales of 19th century falconry (4-6 May).

The annual Beadlam Charity Tractor Run returns on 5 May, with around 200 tractors trundling around the 50-mile route and taking in many of the traditional villages of the North York Moors including Gillamoor, Hutton le Hole, Spaunton, Cropton and Newton upon Rawcliffe. The event starts and finishes at Beadlam Farm Shop.

Centuries of tradition are celebrated on May Day (6 May) in Slingsby, centred around the village's impressive maypole, along with Minster Stray dancers, Swinton Brass Bank and the Scarecrow Trail (4-6 May). Pick up a leaflet for £2 from the 'pop up' cafe in the Methodist Chapel, Robin Hood Caravan Park or Tony's village shop and follow the trail around the village to see this year's creations.

Celebrate the Cleveland Way 50th

This year our National Trail turns 50! To celebrate we're hosting a range of events, exhibitions, competitions and walks for you to enjoy this month. 

We kick off the celebrations with exhibitions at the Inspired by... gallery in Danby from 11 May - 9 June. 109 Miles by artist-in-residence Debbie Loane, focuses on seven varied trail landscapes in works that incorporate found materials and minerals. Alongside 109 Miles, a smaller exhibition Cleveland Way in Miniature will showcase small works of art inspired by the Cleveland Way from numerous artists and will be available to buy for £25.

For anyone keen to have a go at creating their own Cleveland Way inspired artwork. Debbie Loane will be running two special workshops; one for families on 18 May and a Natural Landscape Workshop for adults on 19 May. Both workshops will involve collecting natural finds, making nature notes, taking photos and making quick sketches, before talking home a concertina book as a memory of your walk. Booking essential for both.

From 16-24 May the Loftus Accord Walking Group and Skelton History Group are leading five short guided walks celebrating the industrial and social history of the Skelton and Saltburn area. For those with even more energy the Castle to Abbey Coastal Challenge (11 May) covers 24 spectacular miles along the Trail between Scarborough and Whitby with Large Outdoors. Families can enjoy a Cleveland Way Geocaching Treasure Hunt on 26 May, with a 2 - 3 mile walk, searching for clues in hidden boxes. 

If that inspires you to get out into our great outdoors, we're holding our fourth Walking Festival later in the month. WalkFest 2019 (25–27 May) features seven guided walks led by expert guides, all exploring linear stretches of the Cleveland Way. See the full Festival schedule for more details.

Festivals and performing arts

Returning for a second year, Scarborough Food & Drink Festival (11-12 May) is a two day food and drink celebration, with exhibitors, live cookery demonstrations and music. A seafront kitchen will be hosted by top chef Stephanie Moon with guest appearances from Michelin Star chefs.

Beertown returns to Malton (16-18 May) for a sixth helping, with even more craft beers, street food and live music. Hosted by microbreweries Bad Seed Brewery and Brass Castle in the Milton Rooms, the beer festival will include a preview day on Thursday. All proceeds go to the Ryedale Special Families.

Festival on the Moor's The Great North Folk Festival (24-27 May), takes place at Botton Village, nestled in Danby Dale. This small friendly festival features concerts, craft & music workshops, singarounds and all day acoustic programme, with onsite camping and real ale bar.

The famous Malton Food Lovers Festival (25-26 May) is one of the year's highlights - a food connoisseur's dream, with 180 stalls and street food, cookery theatre, cookery school, festival bar, live music and more. This year welcomes a brand new indoor market. There's also a chance to see some of the North York Moors' star chefs including Tommy Banks from the Black Swan at Oldstead.

Other events and exhibitions

Earthworks by Simon Crawford runs until 19 May at Ryedale Folk Museum. From photographs taken on his walks or small sketches done in the field, Simon has produced a series of colourful, impactful and large paintings that explore the Yorkshire and British countryside. 

Ampleforth Abbey is running its orchard tours (11, 15, 22 May), including a tour of the orchard and cider mill, plus a chance to taste its ciders. Pre-booking advised. Not to be missed too is the chance to go on a Wildflower Wander with Rievaulx Terrace's head gardener Nick (9 May).

Scampston Hall plays host to the Yorkshire Game and Country Fair (18-19 May), a fantastic day out for all the family and a chance to have a go at country sports, including fishing, clayshooting and archery. Don't miss another fantastic event with Natural England, Wonderful Wildlife Day (31 May) encouraging kids to get outdoors and explore!

The British Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition returns to Nunnington Hall and runs from 18 May through to 7 July. Expect to see some spectacular images from this year's winners, while our exciting programme of workshops in the Inspired by... gallery includes willow weaving with Anthea Firth on 11 May, focusing on Beaded dragon fly or bumble bee and Painting with Acrylics with James McGairy on 19 May. Booking essential for all.

There's a rare opportunity to see inside the amazing hidden gem of Scotch Corner Chapel, near Sutton Bank on 5 May. Come along and talk to the relatives of artist and sculptor John Bunting, who built the chapel.

May half-term fun for children (25 May - 2 June)

Hunt for treasures on a great geocaching hunt at Ravenscar (26 May), using a GPS unit to search for clues and goodies along a 1.5 mile walk. Come and explore the natural world with Nature Fest at Nunnington Hall (25 & 26 May), meet local wildlife rescue organisations and keepers, get hands on with animal encounters, bug hunting, nest building and more or go on a mini-beast safari with a National Trust ranger at Ravenscar (31 May).

Half-term kicks off at The Moors National Park Centre with Holiday Club: The Creative Adventure (28 May), where kids can create wonderful art in the countryside with natural materials. Still feeling creative? Young ones can have a go at printing using found objects to create their own concertina book in our Young Artist Workshop (29 May). The little ones can enjoy Beautiful bugs (30 May), while older children can hunt for minibeasts in the grounds at Minibeast Madness (30 May). All events required booking. You'll find full details of all these events in our events calendar.

From 27 May, families can search the grounds for animal footprints using a trackers guide at both Sutton Bank National Park Centre and The Moors National Park Centre with Mammal-Tracker Treasure Hunt, drop in anytime between 11am - 4pm. Plus Geocache fans can enjoy the circular White Horse Walk while searching for clues in hidden boxes at our Geocaching Treasure Hunt at Sutton Bank National Park Centre on 29 May. Drop in anytime. 

Ever dreamt of standing face to face with your favourite classic writers? This may very well be your chance. Delve into the world of classic writers such as Bram Stoker, Emily Bronte and Charles Dickens and learn more about their literature in the very setting which inspired many of them at Whitby Abby (25-27 May).

Watery fun can be had on the National Trust's rock pool rummage at Robin Hood's Bay on 28 May, where you can learn about amazing anemones, crazy crabs, funny fish.

Head to Dalby Forest or Guisborough Forest and take a journey with Zog and all the characters from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s story. Packs are available from the visitor centre for £3.

Year of Green Action

2019 is the Year of Green Action – a 12 month drive to get more people from all backgrounds involved in projects to improve the natural world. Throughout 2019 there will be events and activities across the North York Moors aiming to help people connect, protect and enhance nature.  

Join in the events and activities we have planned across the National Park.