Starry skies and Halloween happenings - Dark Skies Festival Fringe
Join Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society (SARAS) as their regular stargazing events return for 2018 in Dalby Forest on 5 October. Held the first Friday of most months between October and March from 8-9.30pm, these are free to attend (charitable donations welcome). The Forestry Commission will charge £3 per car on exit.
Also in Dalby Forest, Go Ape will be running a number of Night Zip Wire Adventures for those aged 10+ (27-28 October), just don't forget to bring a head torch!
Whitby Astronomical Society will be sharing their love of Dark Skies at Danby, a stargazing evening at The Moors National Park Centre (27 October 6.30-8.30pm). Expect to see planets, moons, stars, nebulae and galaxies through a range of telescopes. Soup and hot drinks will be available to purchase too.
Is there a better way of exploring the gothic splendour of Whitby Abbey than after dark? Head there for The Illuminated Abbey (25-31 October) to admire Bram Stoker's inspiration in a new light, illuminated by coloured floodlighting. Costumed characters will talk of grave robbing and witch trials and experience a live performance of Dracula. This time of year, Whitby is also the natural home to the legendary biannual Whitby Goth Weekend autumn gathering (26-28 October), when thousands of Goths descend on their favourite haunt, and pay homage to Bram Stoker.
Do you dare to explore Scarborough Castle after hours? When the light fades the headland becomes eerie... join a Torchlight Ghost Tour (27-28 October) and hear tales from the castle’s haunted past.
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway has fangtastic Halloween Trains (27-31 October) with scary storytelling, and spooktacular characters as they tell ghost stories and frightful tales along the way! Fancy dress encouraged (suitable for aged 5-12).
Just north of the National Park, enter the Scream Factory at Kirkleatham Museum (12-13, 19-21, 24-31 October) and be prepared to be scared! The Twilight Tour is for families (aged 3+) but as night-time falls, the atmosphere becomes more sinister for the Extreme Tour, a heart pumping, stomach-churning trail of fear. Or why not try the Isolated Tour, where you walk the Extreme Tour all by yourself in the dead of the night!
There's also special late Fright Night! Adults only ghoulish ghost tours around Nunnington Hall (31 October) and hear haunted tales of the house.
Down in the dark, very dark, depths of Dalby Forest, prepare to be spooked as Fear in the Forest returns, you never know what’s lurking around the next tree… (31 October, walks from 5.30-8pm). The guided trail includes terrifying tales and cryptish comedy while there's captive bats and live bugs and ‘Creepy Crafts’ back at the Visitor Centre.
Look out for more details of next year's Dark Skies Festival which will return 15 February - 3 March 2019!
Other great events and exhibitions
Autumn means fungi! Celebrate UK Fungus Day on 7 October with the Whitby Naturalists. Meet at 10.30am at Wheeldale Gill ford (SE801992) for a look at mixed woodland, conifers, heath and grassland or join Tees Valley Wildlife Trust and fungi expert Alan Simkins on a Fungus Discovery Walk at Lockwood Beck Reservoir (11 October). If you'd like to find out which ones are edible, get yourself booked onto a Fungi Foray (30 October) at Yorkshire Arboretum.
The spectacular North York Moors Coast is one on which dinosaurs have well and truly left their mark; and one of the best ways to discover it is on a Hidden Horizons Dinosaur Coast Discover Breaks hosted at Cober Hill (8-10 October). Expect to visit Runswick Bay, Saltwick Bay and Robin Hood's Bay in the search for fossils and dinosaur footprints.
Turn the clock back to the 1940s for Railway in Wartime (12-14 October), North Yorkshire Moors Railway's biggest event, with street parades, vehicle displays and re-enactments along the line. They'll be special events at Pickering Castle and Beck Isle Museum too.
As the autumn colours peak, drop into Nunnington Hall for its Autumn Festival (18-21 October) for nature displays, apple tastings and garden tours with the experts. Helmsley Walled Garden also celebrates the English apple and more than 100 apple trees, at its fourth Apple Day (20 October), where you'll be able to taste, sample and find how to train apples to fit a space. Children gave have a go at apple bobbing and follow the family-friendly Apple Trail, plus enjoy apple-themed dishes in The Vine House Café.
Enjoy the gorgeous colours at Yorkshire Arboretum too, including Meeting with Trees: Autumn Glory (21 October).
The last major music festival of the year is Musicport (19-22 October), held in Whitby Pavilion and it just happens to be the UK's biggest indoor World Music festival. Swiftly followed by Musicport on Tour (22-26 October), when selected musicians from the main festival will bring a selection of sounds to other venues, including a gig in our own Inspired by... gallery (23 October) with award-winning Namibian Afro jazz & traditional singer Erna Chimu. Don't miss it!
We welcome Leeds Fine Artists back to the Inspired by... gallery on 20 October for Time and Place, running through until 13 November. One of the oldest regional arts bodies in the UK, expect a direct personal response to Yorkshire landscapes especially the North York Moors – whether abstract, figurative or sensory.
If that all inspires you to have a go yourself, there’s plenty of workshops to choose from. Our gallery hosts artist James McGairy's popular small-group painting workshop (21 October) while you can get ready for Christmas and make an alternative 'Christmas tree' with willow expert Anthea Firth (27 October). Elsewhere there's a chance to Carve your Initials into a stone (13-14 October), under the expert guidance of sculptor Fiona Bowley in Dalby Forest that will become part of the world's largest dry stone wall maze.
Burton Agnes Hall hosts its inaugural Autumn Festival (27-28 October), filled with seasonal craft and food stalls, music, entertainers and fairground fun.
Half-term fun for children
The National Trust are marking the Mammal Society's National Mammal Week with lots of activities for all the family, from visiting Ravenscar's seal colony with a ranger (21 October) to carrying out a small mammal survey (27 October) and building hedgehog houses (28 October).
It's all about Halloween this holiday! There's ghoulish and ghostly going-ons at Nunnington Hall on the Haunted Happenings trail (23 October - 4 November). Drop in for spooky characters and creepy crafts at Whitby Abbey, join #TeamPirate or #TeamZombie at Castle Howard, follow the Alien Bugs and autumn activity trails at Yorkshire Arboretum or delve into the mysterious world of folklore at Ryedale Folk Museum (all 27 October - 4 November).
The Old Coastguard Station's Hallowe'en Trail features chilling clues and spooky prizes or explore the Spooky Woodland Trail from Ravenscar Visitor Centre (both 27-28 October). There's a Spooky Woodland Trail at Burton Agnes Hall too (27 October - 4 November) if you're brave enough!
Over at Sutton Bank, there'll be strange things happening (27 October - 4 November) with seasonal crafts, trails and family activities on the theme of 'Creatures of the Night'. Drop in anytime. They'll be going Bonkers About Bats too (31 October), booking essential. Combine a visit with a spot of biking too, including round 4 of Sutton Bank Bikes' Kids Time Trial (26 October), with five categories starting from balance bikes and Halloween fancy dress; £6 per person and prizes for winners.
There's plenty going on at The Moors National Park Centre in Danby this week too, including Super Spider Treasure Hunt (29 October), Rotten Witches and Fireworks and Lanterns (both 30 October). Have a browse here to find our other events. Take part in quizzes and trails to get closer to nature and discover fun facts about this amazing place.
Enjoy Halloween Holiday Fun at Guisborough Priory and Woodland Gardens (28 October), explore the witches den, make a scary spider or listen to spooky stories. At Ryedale Folk Museum, create Apothecary Potions & Broomstick Making (29 October), hear Terrific Tales (30 October) or make Willow Wands & Soul Cakes (31 October).
Beck Isle Museum is running one of its popular Rural Craft Days too (31 October). See traditional skills such as printing on the beautiful Columbian letterpress, butter making, and rag rugging.
If you'd rather get hands-on this holiday, join Hidden Horizons for a day of bushcraft activities (31 October) and learn about animal tracking, plant and tree identification, shelter building, fire lighting, outdoor cooking, sourcing fresh water and foraging.
Head to Dalby Forest and take a journey with the Highway Rat and all the characters from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s story. Packs are available from the visitor centre for £3.