As February half-term approaches, you'll find many attractions opening their doors again for the 2019 season. Find more ideas and which attractions are open at this time of year on our Winter page.
Find fell and road running events listed in our Enjoy Outdoors pages while foodie fans should check out farmers' markets in and around the North York Moors.
See what's coming up in March too or you can search for events by date here or book our events online. Plus look out for more details of this year's Dark Skies Festival. Early booking recommended!
Dark Skies Festival (15 February - 3 March)
Once again we're teaming up with the Yorkshire Dales National Park to hold a joint Dark Skies Festival. Thanks to low light pollution in both National Parks, our skies are ideal for spotting constellations, shooting stars and other cosmic happenings.
The programme of family-friendly activities in the North York Moors includes the return of some of the popular events from previous years, such as stargazing at our three Dark Skies Discovery Centres, night time photography workshops and and night zips with Go Ape in Dalby Forest, new events this year include a special talk from Dr Tim O'Brien. Highlights include:
- Dark Run and No Ego Torch Run both in Dalby Forest
- The Search for Dark Matter, a special talk from Dr Tim O'Brien of the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at Castle Howard
- Whitby and the Cosmos Exhibition at Whitby Museum
- Night walks (from Chop Gate, Appleton le Moors, Sutton Bank, Robin Hood's Bay, Staithes and more)
- Learn how to go walking at night from Lastingham
- Yorkshire True Grit Dark Skies (nighttime gravel and mountain bike ride)
- Film screenings of Saving the Dark followed by a Star Party
- Astronomy talks, advice, stargazing and moon gazing evenings at Cropton Forest, Ryedale Folk Museum, Yorkshire Arboretum, Newlands Farm, Dalby Forest, Sutton Bank and Danby
- Owl Prowl
- Ghost and smugglers walks in Robin Hood's Bay
- Photography workshops
- And for adrenaline junkies – a pitch black night zip. Thrill seekers will be able to plunge more than 200 metres into the darkness of Dalby Forest courtesy of Go Ape.
Booking details and the full programme of events is available on the Dark Skies Festival website. Please note our Eventbite page includes details of how to book for our own events only.
There's also a chance to join Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society (SARAS) earlier in the month (1 February) for their regular stargazing event in Dalby Forest from 8-9.30pm; free to attend, although charitable donations welcome. The Forestry Commission will charge £3 per car on exit.
JORVIK Viking Festival, York (20–27 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.
Half-term fun for children
Head to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway where daily trains will be running between Pickering and Grosmont (16-24 February).
You'll find plenty of family-based Dark Skies activities going on at our two National Park Centres this week during the daytime. At The Moors National Park Centre, take part in our Astro Treasure Hunt (25 February), create your own moon (26 February), find out all about planets (26 February) or go Moonrock Geocaching (28 February).
Over at Sutton Bank, Little Moon Boots includes space crafts as well as a lunar trail (drop in event) or make and launch a rocket (both 27 February). Plus drop in any time (23 February - 3 March) for Dark Skies, a galaxy of activities, themed crafts and trails, celebrating our beautiful night skies as well as space exploration and the anniversary of the moon landing, you are sure to have a blast!
Experience Victorian Countryside Life at Ryedale Folk Museum (25-27 February), from cooking to rug rugging, and classic tales. Plus a chance to dress up in the photographic studio and check out their Victorian toys in the schoolroom.
Beck Isle Museum has plenty on, starting with one of its popular Traditional Craft Days (27 February). See rural skills such as printing on the beautiful Columbian letterpress, butter making, and rag rugging. They're also running Fossil Hunters (1 March) where you'll learn all about dinosaurs, and hunt for clues in the grounds.
For the little ones, head to Dalby Forest or Guisborough Forest to join Zog and his friendly fire-breathing dragons on the Zog activity trail where all the characters from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s story come alive. Enrol in dragon school, collect stars and complete challenges along the way. Activity packs are available from the visitor centre for £3.
Other great events and exhibitions
The Redcar and Cleveland’s Winter Walking Festival continues until 3 February, with plenty of walks to pick, from 1 to 9 miles, plus a chance to have a go at Nordic walking.
Join Adrian Glasser at St Matthew's Church, Grosmont (8 February from 7pm) for a talk of photogrammetry, three dimensional reconstructions and how to mergeold and new photographs, techniques currently being used to record and interpret archaeological sites as part of our Land of Iron project (free but a donation of £3 would be welcome).
A welcome sight heralding the end of winter is the 'white carpet' of snowdrops on Burton Agnes' woodland walk. Their annual Snowdrop Spectacular runs from 8 February to 3 March. There's also a stunning display at Mount Grace Priory, where an estimated million-plus bulbs will be bursting into life throughout the grounds and woodland (open weekends only, daily during half-term then open Wednesdays-Sundays).
Throughout the Dark Skies Festival and running through to 31 March, we will be hosting Moon, an exhibition in our Studio Gallery that take inspiration from our dramatic night skies and the moon in particular, including a collection of work by Bridget Wilkinson, Brinton Darnell, Patrick Smith and Stev Hayward. In the main Inspired by… gallery, Showcase Exhibition is our opening exhibition for 2019, where we welcome back artists who have previously shown work here and look forward to new highlights in our current exhibition programme.
Over at Ryedale Folk Museum's Art Gallery, don't miss their North York Moors Open Exhibition (23 February - 7 April), with more than 60 works of art showing off the places, people, landscapes, seascapes and wildlife of the North York Moors.
Well-known for its friendliness, the Sinnington Hunt hosts its annual point to point within the grounds of Duncombe Park (17 February). The card kicks off at 12.30pm.
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.