The highly anticipated Cumbria Dark Skies Festival is back for 2023, running for 3 weeks from 28 October to 18 November. It’s officially launching the dark skies season across Cumbria, and will kickstart further events during the winter.
Suitable for everyone from absolute newcomers to experienced stargazing enthusiasts, the 2023 line-up kicks off the winter Dark Skies season across Cumbria includes everything from night-time canoeing and stargazing swims to night-sky photography workshops, expert astronomy talks, night-time wildlife walks in nature reserves and even bushcraft cookery under the stars.
It has been put together by a collaboration of partners from the Lake District National Park Partnership, including Cumbria Tourism, Forestry England, Friends of the Lake District, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Lake District National Park with fantastic support from local businesses and Astronomers.
Visitors looking to experience the Dark Skies Festival can attend a host of events from dipping their toes in the water with a tranquil night-time canoe paddle on Coniston Water, as Path to Adventure helps them to explore the hidden coves and remote islands you can’t access by foot and identify the constellations that stretch majestically above our heads.
How about fully submerging yourself in the experience on Ullswater where you can take the opportunity to swim in the lake at night under The Milky Way, the glow of your light-up tow float keeping you company under the stars with an open water swimming specialist.
The festival offers plenty of activities for families too including starry sky art sessions and story time under starry ceilings at Carlisle Cathedral, to night-time nature walks at Grizedale Forest and even UV rockpooling at South Walney Nature Reserve.
The Cumbria Dark Skies Festival coincides with the North Pennines Stargazing Festival where visitors can head towards Talkin Tarn’s new Skygazing Pavilion. Here they can take in some of the darkest skies in the North Pennines, with experienced astronomers from the Border Astronomical Society.
Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “The Dark Skies Festival kicks off the spectacular winter season in Cumbria, and visitors will be spoiled for choice across the county with so many locations perfect for a night of stargazing. Cumbria is famed for its dark skies, and this years festival programme will make visitors feel spoilt for choice with such a fabulous array of events hosted right across the county!”
Jonny Winter, Marketing Manager at Forestry England (North) said: “The Lake District’s unique and stunning landscape takes on an extra-special dimension once the sun sets. Looking up through the trees and soaking up the night sky is a truly unforgettable experience that we’re excited to share with visitors. Whether you’re getting active under the stars on an after-dark adventure hike or learning all about nocturnal wildlife on a family-friendly nature walk there really is something for everyone to enjoy.”