Rookhope Arch

The North Pennines Stargazing Festival will run for a second time this year, complete with events aimed at aspiring astronomers as well as visitors with a general interest in the night sky and stargazing.

Running from 20th October until 4th November, the festival, taking place in and around the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and UNESCO Global Geopark, will have almost 30 star-themed events and experiences to enjoy.

Last year over 800 people attended Stargazing Festival events, including over 250 at the family Skywatch at Killhope Lead Mining Museum. This Skywatch event will run again in 2018 alongside numerous new additions and experiences to the programme.

Full details are yet to be released, but groups can expect a similar format to last year’s inaugural event, which included astronomer-led talks and rocket-making workshops in Teesdale, stargazing workshops for beginnings in Alston, and pop-up planetarium shows in Stanhope.

Lessons in astrophotography, the solar system and telescope use were also on the agenda last year.

Lots of the events are free to enjoy and welcome groups, with no booking needed. Others have a small charge and can be prebooked ahead of the festival on the website.

Shane Harris, responsible tourism lead for the North Pennines AONB Partnership, said: “The North Pennines AONB is the darkest mainland AONB, and has some of the darkest skies in England.

“The bigger and better festival this year will mean that more people will have the chance to come along to one of the events, and there are opportunities for visitors to the area to come and stay to enjoy the amazing experience of our truly dark skies.”

The 2018 North Pennines Stargazing Festival is once again being organised by the North Pennines AONB Partnership. It is being funded by Durham County Council, Northumberland County Council and Visit County Durham.

For more information on the North Pennines Stargazing Festival events as they are released, visit