Star trails over a sign post.
Northern lights over Saltwick Bay
Star trails over Buster Ancient Farm

Welcome to the National Parks Dark Skies Festival

Northumberland, North York Moors, South Downs and Yorkshire Dales: 9 to 25 February 2018

National Parks remain some of the darkest places in England and we are excited to celebrate this with our  Dark Skies Festivals. The Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland, North York Moors and the South Downs will be running a joint festival in February 2018.

Our Dark Skies festivals are all about discovering, learning and enjoying the dark and the stars you can see as a result. This could mean getting out for an activity such as cycling, walking, running or caving at night, attending a stargazing party, or taking part in a daytime event, learning more about star constellations or making a rocket.

There are events for families, first-time stargazers and those wishing to expand their knowledge or astrophotography skills further. We work with local astronomy clubs and other star loving organisations to help you discover the wonder of the night skies above your National Parks.

Our National Parks


Exmoor National Park is recognised as one of the finest landscapes in the UK. Its deep valleys, high cliffs, wide open moorlands and clear streams provide inspiration and enjoyment to locals and visitors. What's less well known is that Exmoor is also an amazing place to marvel at the full wonders of the night sky.

Events in Exmoor

North York Moors

When the sun sets in the North York Moors, another breathtaking view emerges – a sky full of stars! The low levels of light pollution and dark skies of the National Park are one of the things that makes it such a special place. Come and join in our star-filled festival of fun and learn more about the magic above us, with events suitable for all ages.

Events in the North York Moors

South Downs

We think our star-studded skies overhead are as valuable as our beautiful rolling landscapes and, with properly dark skies in the South East of England under threat, our International Dark Sky Reserve status is a statement that the skies of the South Downs are worth protecting.

Events in the South Downs

Yorkshire Dales

Its superb dark skies are one of the things that make the Yorkshire Dales National Park so special. With large areas completely free from local light pollution, it's a fantastic place to start your stargazing adventure.

Events in the Yorkshire Dales