If you live in an urban area, chances are you’ve forgotten that stars even exist, what with all the light pollution, so head to the Dark Skies Festival this winter and prepare to be dazzled.
Dark Skies Festival takes place in the five locations of Exmoor, Yorkshire Dales, South Downs, North York Moors and Northumberland, and we’ve rounded up the best events between October and March 2024.
Stargazing overnight at Camp Katur, North Yorkshire
Cocktails around the forest campfire, yes please. On a clear night you can feast your eyes on 2,000 stars, including the Milky Way, Jupiter and Saturn. There’s often a shimmer of meteors and if you’re really lucky you may even get to bask in the glory of the Northern Lights.
October 31. Book now
E-bike Night Rides with Exmoor Adventures
If walking in the moonlight is too sedate for you, how about late-night mountain biking? Exmoor National Park is the perfect venue for a night ride on an e-mountain bike. Coming down the hillside trails with just a bike light to guide you is definitely one for the adrenaline junkies. Or possibly ET.
18, 21, 27 October Book now
Dark Skies and Creatures of the Night, Northumberland
Use telescopes at this stargazing workshop, and then take a starlit amble through the Northumberland National Park (only the very best place in the UK for dark skies) with a wildlife expert to discover how different local animals behave nocturnally. There’s hot chocolate and a warming wood burner back at base camp too.
November 10. Book now
Moonlit canoeing, Yorkshire
Moonlit canoeing on the Scar House Reservoir is definitely the most dramatic ways to stargaze. Afloat in your canoe surrounded by reflected stars is like drifting through outer space. It’s no wonder the limited spaces are being snapped up fast: get booking straight away.
Various dates from January 20-March 18 2024.
Malham Cove Magical Full Moon Walk, North Yorkshire
Tip toe through the moonlight on this guided tour to Janet’s Foss waterfall, Gordale Scar (famously painted by Turner, no less) and the atmospheric Malham Cove. There’s stargazing, moon bathing and mindfulness with some excellent guides.
March 4. Book now
Deep space telescope, Yorkshire
On the fringes of the Dalby Forest visitors’ centre the Astro Dog team, a trio of astrophotographers are running a series events marvelling at deep space star clusters, galaxies and nebulae through a large aperture telescope. Astro Dog’s mission is to be as community minded as they can, so strive to keep their events accessible, affordable and inclusive.
Bookings are now open but very popular.
Stars on your plate
There are seven spectacular Michelin starred restaurants tucked amid the dales and moors. Our favourite is The Angel at Hetton near Skipton. It’s an easy drive from the National Park itself and their malt loaf and styrofoam parfait is out of this world.
The Angel at Hetton
Affordable, convenient and comfy rooms close to the event you're going to
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