Our Guide to the Dark Skies Festival February 2024

Our Guide to the Dark Skies Festival February 9th to 25th 2024


The North York Moors National Park Dark Skies Festival takes place from 9th to 25th February 2024 inclusive.

This much-loved event coincides with the February half term, too.


North York Moors National Park

The North York Moors National Park is an International Dark Sky Reserve, one of just 21 across the world!

Here at the Riviera, we love nothing better than a bit of stargazing!

We are just hoping for clear skies, but if the skies are cloudy, don’t worry there are indoor locations aplenty during this ‘star studded’ event.

Please note some events are not suitable for children.


Dark Skies 2024

2024’s event is the ninth festival and is full of activities and opportunities to observe the stunning night sky at various National Park locations.

Whether you are a seasoned star spotter, or a nocturnal beginner, this festival is perfect for some stellar experiences.


Things That You’ll Hopefully See!


The Moon, planets, meteors (shooting stars), stars, galaxies, constellations, the ISS (International Space Station) and if you’re very, very lucky, the Northern Lights.
Clear skies are not guaranteed of course … but finger’s crossed!


Sneak Preview

Did you know there is a sneak preview ahead of the festival?

This takes place on 2nd February from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

You should be able to see stars and galaxies clearly as there is no moon.

This preview event takes place at The Star Hub at Sutton Bank which is perfect for indoor and outdoor stargazing.



Stargazing in Dalby Forest

Just a short drive from the Riviera Guesthouse, this event takes place in Dalby Forest, a designated Dark Sky Discovery Site.

Ticket prices apply and they take place on the following dates:

9th Friday 7pm / 9:45pm
10th Saturday 7pm / 9:45pm
13th Tuesday 7:30pm
14th Wednesday 7:30pm
16th Friday 7pm / 9:45pm
17th Saturday 7pm / 9:45pm
19th Monday 7:30pm
20th Tuesday 7:30pm
22nd Thursday 7:30pm
23rd Friday 7pm / 9:45pm
24th Saturday 7pm / 9:45pm


Dark Skies – Walking in Heartbeat Country

As well as taking place in Goathland, the film location for the popular Heartbeat TV series, this walk sets off from 5.30pm.


Robin Hood’s Bay Dark Skies Walk: A Smugglers Paradise

Always popular during daylight hours, Robin Hood’s Bay is a short drive from Whitby.

A walk that takes in parts of the old railway line along the Cleveland Way on 10th February from 5.30pm.

This event also takes place on 23rd February.

Find more here. 


Whitby Night Photography Workshop



Dark Skies at Whitby Abbey House with Whitby Astronomical Society from 7pm.

Find out more here.


Festival Stars and a Stunning Moon

An event will give  you the opportunity to observe our nearest neighbour in space, the moon.


Dark Skies Crafts

Taking place on 14th February (perfect timing if you’ve forgotten that Valentine’s Day gift …) at Danby Lodge National Park Centre, a short drive from the Riviera.


Magical Moonlight Coastal Walk

23rd February 8pm to 11pm.

Meet at the Bank Top Car Park, Robin Hood’s Bay.


Then there is the Magical Moonlit Meander,

full moon experience for women, on 24th February 5.30pm to 8pm.


Other Events at Various Locations

Terrington Stargaze, 9th February

Starry Nights Watercolour Workshop in York 10th Feb and 22nd February.

Sutton Bank White Horse Circuit Walk 16th February

Evening Adventure Walk, Clay Bank 20th February 5pm to 8pm, also on the 22nd February.

Cistercian Dark Skies Walk, from the Black Swan Helmsley, 21st February from 5.30pm

Hole of Horcum Dark Skies Walk 24th February from 5.30pm.


What To Wear and Bring

There are lots of great phone apps for astronomy lovers! These will help you navigate the night skies but remember using them will stop your eyes adjusting to the darkness.

And you really can’t beat seeing it for real, anyway!

If you have them, bring a pair of binoculars.

Remember, patience is a virtue when observing planet, star clusters and more.

Dress warmly with suitable footwear.

You can even bring blankets or a pop-up seat.

For walking events, suitable attire is essential, including a tide timetable for coastal excursions.

Bringing a torch? A red bike light is ideal as this helps keep you eyes adjusted.


Did You Know …

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is also hosting a Dark Skies Festival. Other national parks that host similar events include the South Downs and Exmoor with events also taking place in Northumberland.


The Riviera Guesthouse

You’ll get star treatment at the Riviera Guesthouse.

An independent and family run holiday venue, we are based close to the Whalebone Arch, just moments from the sea.

Book here!

All details correct at time of posting. Please check with event organisers for full details, availability, costs and other details.


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