York Mumbler's guide to celebrating the night and discovering starry delights at this year’s Dark Skies Fringe Festival
This half term we can’t wait to head to the North York Moors National Park Fringe Dark Skies Festival (27 October – 5 November 2023) to make the most of one of nature’s greatest spectacles, the night sky!
This ten day festival has an events programme jam packed full of exciting after dark adventures for the full family to explore. It will only prepare you for what’s to come in our ninth Dark Skies Festival, taking place in February 2024…
Walking at twilight and night time provides a fresh perspective on the countryside, particularly as people’s senses become more attuned to noticing sights, sounds and smells when daylight fades.
Discover exciting events taking place throughout the festival – some top picks for families are below:
Stargazing in Dalby Forest with Astro Dog
Join Astro Dog for a magical evening of stargazing in Dalby Forest.
Enjoy a guided tour of the night sky, learning about stars, asterisms, constellations, star-hopping and how to navigate the night sky. Use telescopes and binoculars to view the planets, the Moon and stunning deep space objects such as double stars, star clusters, galaxies and nebulae.
Get to know the equipment and accessories involved in stargazing and astrophotography such as binoculars, telescopes, tripods and tracking mounts. Enjoy a short presentation on astrophotography, including images of planets, star clusters, galaxies, nebulae, noctilucent clouds and the Aurora Borealis.
📅 Various days through October, November, December 2023 ℹ️ Booking is essential. For more information about this event, please click here.
Light Spectacular Express – North Yorkshire Moors Railway
Marvel at the heritage carriages, decorated with thousands of lights, before departing from Pickering Station for an awe-inspiring journey. Let their voiceover man and DJ-Mix of music get you in the mood for a party the whole family will enjoy.
Each passenger will be given their own interactive LED wristband which is synchronised to the music and passengers become part of the show.
This hour-long round trip, with on-board narration and music, departs from Pickering Station for Levisham Station every evening from 27th October to 5th November & 10th-12th November.
📅 27 Oct – 5th Nov & 10th-12th November. ℹ️ For more information about this event, please click here.
Dark Sky Trail at Danby Lodge National Park Centre
Stars have been used by travellers for centuries to navigate their way around the globe. Use our stars today to navigate your way around the grounds to claim your treasure! Drop-in no booking required, please check visitor centre opening hours. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Sorry no dogs, wheelchair accessible.
£5 per child. No charge for adults.
📅 September 2023 – March 2024. 10.30am – 3pm ℹ️ For more information about this event, please click here.
Introduction to Night time Bike Riding at Sutton Bank National Park Centre
Introductory after dark sessions in partnership with Sutton Bank Bikes. You will be taken out on a guided bike ride along the green route (3 miles) at Sutton Bank National Park Centre. This is for people experienced in riding bikes on off-road terrain but who are keen to see how different riding at night can be. Minimum age is 12 for children.
📅 27th Oct 2023 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm ℹ️ For more information about this event, please click here.
Planetarium shows – Guisborough
Join Cosmic Wonders in their planetarium dome and join in on the search for alien life & explore the wonderful telescope.
These events are suitable for all ages and a ticket must be purchased for every person entering the dome. Under 5s go free and under 12s must be accompanied by an adult.
📅28th Oct 2023 ℹ️ For more information about these events, please click here.
Winter Owl Evenings
Wrap up warm and visit the National Centre for Birds of Prey for a magical “must-do” evening event with the world’s most famous nocturnal birds! Winter Owl Evenings are a great idea for an evening out with family or friends, a present for someone special and are a superb way to treat yourself – the memories will last forever. Tickets are £45 and include a hot drink, owl experience and 2 course meal. Suitable for children aged 8 and over.
📅 Every Saturday Evening through October and November plus 3 dates in December. ℹ️ For more information about these events, please click here.
Nocturnal Adventure Cropton
Join Forest Rangers for an adventure under the stars, just as the forest comes to life. Did you know? Your senses are super-heightened at night, so you’ll be extra tuned-in to all the animal calls. Step into a forest full of wonder…something magical happens when the sun goes down.
📅29th Oct, 1st & 5th November, 2023 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm ℹ️ For more information about this event, please click here.
Whitby Abbey Headland Walk
oin YHA Whitby for a guided look at the fantastic night sky around the spooky Whitby Abbey with a talk from the Whitby Astronomical Society. This event is suitable for all people of all ages, there is limited free parking on-site and pay & display is free from 6pm and about 3 minute walk away.
📅30th Oct 2023 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm ℹ️ For more information about this event, please click here.
Dark Skies Experience at Sutton Bank
During this night time event you will learn about beautiful dark skies and the cosmos with night’s sky guides, gaze in awe through our variety of telescopes trained on the celestial bodies providing the best views on the night and take home souvenir digital images of the celestial bodies you see on the night – taken by the telescopes! suitable for children aged 12+.
📅2nd Nov 2023 6:45 pm – 9:45 pm ℹ️ For more information about this event, please click here.
Dark Skies at Sutton Bank with York Astro
York Astro join us at Sutton Bank National Park Centre to show us the night sky in all its glory! Enjoy an evening of illustrated talks and stargazing at Sutton Bank, now part of an international dark skies reserve. Talk begins at 7pm. Two talks will be delivered should the weather be unsuitable for stargazing.
📅4th Nov 2023 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm ℹ️ For more information about this event, please click here.
More information about the Dark Skies Fringe Festival 2023 & 2024