Dark Skies Festival

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Experience the majesty of the pure night sky in the North York Moors

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  • Duration

    Single Day Event
  • Accommodation

    Not required
  • Food

    None provided
  • Difficulty Levels

    Multiple options available
    1 - 2

Dark Skies Festival in the North York Moors

On a clear night in one of our National Parks the night sky can be simply stunning. Thousands of stars, shooting stars, the moon, and of course the different atmosphere the night gives to the natural world around us. These are all things it’s ideal to experience with a friendly group and a leader who can take you on a walk into the countryside to show you some great spots to look up at the heavens.

The Dark Skies Festival runs from mid-February to early March and we’re running several walks during the festival. Each walk takes around 3 hours and runs from 7pm (6pm for the full moon walks). At the end of each walk we know of great pubs you can all relax in afterwards and re-live the experience while warming up after an adventurous wander.

Dark Skies Festival in the North York Moors


We are running several night walks, with two specifically timed around the full moon, and you can sign up to as many as you want! Please see the kit list notes below, and note that a head-torch is essential for any of these walks.

In a nutshell:

  • Join one of many night-time walks into different parts of the North York Moors to see the incredible night sky.
  • Experience nature at night, where the moors, woods and valleys feel totally different to the day time.
  • Meet new people and enjoy the experience without worrying about the navigation, as you’ll be led by a Large Outdoors leader.
  • Finish in a great local pub where we definitely recommend staying for a drink!

Dark Skies Festival in the North York Moors

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Dark Skies Walks


On the southern edge of the moors, Lastingham is a village with easy access to the wide-open moors this part of England is famous for, and that means big skies! We’ll walk from Lastingham the short distance to the moors themselves, and go on a circuit, stopping of course to admire the skies above and listen out for night-time wildlife. We will be heading to Blacksmiths Arms for a print afterwards.

  • Friday 15th February
  • Saturday 23rd February
  • Thursday 28th February
  • Saturday 2nd March

Robin Hood’s Bay

The famous smugglers haunt on the North Sea, the village of Robin Hood’s Bay gives us easy access to the coastal path and the abandoned railway line over to Ravenscar. We’ll not only get some fantastic dark skies, but we’ll be able to hear the sea down over the cliffs as well, returning to the warm glow of Robin Hood’s Bay for a drink.

  • Saturday 16th February
  • Saturday 23rd February
  • Wednesday 27th February
  • Saturday 2nd March

Dark Skies Festival in the North York Moors

Sutton Bank

Home to ‘England’s Finest View’ from the scarp of Sutton Bank over the Vale of York, this walk takes us along the edge of the North York Moors, where woodland clings to the slopes. Our elevated position allows a great opportunity to see the skies, and the lights of the villages far below in the valley. We’ll really feel remote! Unfortunately this is the one walk where there’s no nearby pub at the end, but we may suggest a cheeky tipple in Helmsley.

  • Saturday 16th February

Chop Gate

Right in the heart of the National Park, the scenery around Chop Gate is why the North York Moors is famous – deep valleys cut into the open moors, sheltering woodland and scattered villages. We’ll walk up onto the moors, near the highest point in the Park at Urra Moor, and enjoy the darkness of a mid-winter’s night in this special part of England.

  • Saturday 16th February
  • Friday 1st March


Full Moon Walks

  • Full Moon Walk – Tuesday February 19th
  • Moonrise Walk – Wednesday February 20th

We’re running two walks during the festival to celebrate the moon, and as they’re both running from Robin Hood’s Bay, we’ll see it over the North Sea, hopefully with the light reflected off the water. These walks will meet at 6pm, on both the 19thand 20thFebruary. Although the 19this the night of the full moon, we are running a walk on the 20thas moonrise happens at 6.40pm, meaning we’ll be able to watch it rise over the sea from our cliff-top vantage point. An experience not to be missed!

These walks will also last 2-3 hours and finish at a pub in Robin Hood’s Bay.

Good to know:

Meeting Locations and times:



The Basics:

Age Limit:  You must be over 14 to attend this trip, there is no upper age limit. All under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult.

Dogs:  I am afraid dogs are not allowed on this trip, unless they are registered assistance dogs.


Useful Links:

Kit lists – You can view our kit lists here…

For important information on what’s included with our standard trips, such as what food we supply, arrival times and answer to our most commonly asked questions please visit out our FAQ’s page

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What our members have to say...

  • Well, for a non-walker it was certainly challenging but my word was it exhilarating! The feeling of achievement after every day, was just fabulous. The group we went with were all strangers on day one, but firm friends by the end of the week. The comradery on some of the tougher walks, helped me to the top…..and wow what views. Anyone thinking of doing it - don’t worry….just go for it!
    Member Since 2016
  • My first Large Outdoors and (Ulster & the Giant's Causeway Walking Weekend) Irish experience was absolutely fantastic. Everything was organised perfectly and Gareth is a joy to be around. I loved every minute and will definitely book myself onto another trip. #toldallmyfriendstheyhavetocome
    Member Since 2018
  • “I didn’t really know what to expect on my first ever walking holiday and wasn’t very prepared if truth be known – lesson to all read the essential kit list especially waterproofs! It was great fun and what a lovely group of supportive and encouraging people, especially Gareth who did a great job looking after us all. I must admit at times I found it a bit challenging but what a great sense of achievement when we reached the top of the mountains (hills) I will definitely do this again.
    Member Since 2016
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