Join in The National Parks Dark Skies Festival This February

With cold days, even colder nights and lockdown in full swing here in the UK, it’s no wonder a lot of us are feeling fed up of the same routine. If you’re looking for something a bit different to engage the whole family, then it’s the perfect time to get involved in the UK Dark Skies Festival.

dark skies festival

What is the National Parks Dark Skies Festival?

Every Autumn and Winter, the UK’s national parks celebrate stargazing with an array of different activities encouraging us to get out and get looking up at the night sky. As some of the darkest places in the UK, the National Parks are well equipped for stargazing, and although sadly the events can’t go ahead as usual this year, they are being held virtually, with bookable live talks and activities, as well as activities that can be done in your own garden or locality.

dark skies festival

When is the National Parks Dark Skies Festival in 2021?

The events run throughout February (and later in the year at Exmoor), with each National Park holding its own events and timetable.

Cumbria – 5-21 February

South Downs – 12-28 February

Northumberland – 12-21 February

North Yorkshire Moors & Yorkshire Dales – 12 – 28 February

Exmoor – 22 October – 7 November

Full details about the darks skies festival can be found here.

dark skies festival

Activities for children during the dark skies festival

There are a number of dark skies festival activities, crafts and quizzes to suit the younger members of the family. Here’s our favourites to ensure everyone can get involved:

1. Stargazing in your back garden

On a dark and clear night, this can be an amazing experience for all the family. Children can draw the constellations they see with the help of this downloadable beginner’s stargazing guide. Alternatively, the free Night Sky App allows phones and tablets to identify the whereabouts of the planets and constellations in real time.

2. Make some star biscuits

We love these constellation biscuits from Humble Pie Cookery Kitchen! 

3. Get Quizzing

Have a go at this fun Children’s Galaxy Quiz, or the Constellation Challenge, both from the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

4. Get Crafty

Make a Star Wreath, a Space Rock magnet or a planet painting with these fun space themed crafts

5. Play Torch Tag

Stay warm while stargazing outside with this fun twist on traditional tag. Grab a torch and get moving!

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