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The North York Moors is a designated International Dark Sky Reserve, home to some of the darkest skies in the UK. As there is so much light pollution elsewhere, places where the darkness of night is preserved are vitally important, both to wildlife and to stargazers.

Every year, the Dark Skies Festival celebrates the night’s sky, and the main festival is returning early next year 2022, 18 February – 6 March. In the meantime, the Dark Skies Fringe Festival will be taking place later this month, 22 – 31 October.

Here are some of the highlights:

1. Night Walks with Walk Yorkshire

Rievaulx Dark Skies Blog

A must for outdoor enthusiasts, experience the wonder of the Great Outdoors under the stars with the supervision of an expert instructor. These walks are taking place at various locations across the National Park, with each route taking in a unique landscape and history.

2. Stargazing at Gilling Castle

At the stunning Gilling Castle, astronomy guides Richard Darn and Neill Sanders from Go Stargazing will invite you to discover the Milky Way. Given clear skies, you should be able to see this elusive river of light arching overhead, as well as planets Jupiter and Saturn.

3. North York Moors National Park: Our dark skies journey

Milky Way Dark Skies Blog

Almost a year ago, the North York Moors National Park celebrated its official designation as an International Dark Skies Reserve. In this free online event, find out what it took to achieve the designation, while looking to the future on the importance of preserving night skies, including learning a thing or two you can do yourself to help save the night.

4. Nature adventure: all things nocturnal

In these family friendly, day-time activities, little ones can discover more about the night sky and all things nocturnal, while enjoying trails, storytelling, creative activities and looking through a real-life telescope.

The Grand, York's Dark Skies Package

The Grand’s partnership with the stargazers of North York Moors provides the ideal experiential winter stay, whether a staycation or travelling to visit the sights of Yorkshire. Relax and unwind with an two course meal and one-night stay in the luxury of The Grand, York. Escape to the North York Moors and enjoy an unforgettable stargazing experience with your friends and family.

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The Grand Dark Skies

5. Dark Skies Meander at Dalby

Dalby Dark Skies Blog

Enjoy warming drinks and delicious hot food on arrival, before embarking on a short, sensory night- time walk. Listen and look, and feel the forest in a whole new way. Then, enjoy an astronomer led study of the night sky.

6. Light Spectacular at North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Marvel at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway heritage carriages, decorated with thousands of lights, before departing from Pickering Station for an awe-inspiring journey. There will be a real party atmosphere with a DJ mix, and light up wristbands synchronised to the music.

7. Illuminated Abbey at Whitby Abbey

Whitby Blog 2

This unique event casts light on a dark history. See Bram Stoker's inspiration in a whole new way as Whitby Abbey is bathed in dramatic illuminations once again. Have your camera at the ready as you explore the gothic splendour of the ruins lit up with all the colours of the rainbow.

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