Running from 20 October until 4 November stargazers in and around the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and UNESCO Global Geopark will have almost 30 star-themed events and tourist experiences to enjoy. The programme covers the autumn half-term holidays for schools in Durham, Cumbria and Northumberland and will offer family-friendly events to enjoy the dark skies of the North Pennines AONB. There will also be lots events aimed at aspiring astronomers as well as visitors with a general interest in the night sky and stargazing.
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. Away from the intense light pollution in many areas, there are amazing opportunities to see the wonders of the night sky.
“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.”
Last year over 800 people attended Stargazing Festival events, including over 250 at the family Skywatch at Killhope Lead Mining Museum. This popular Skywatch event will run again in 2018 alongside numerous new additions and experiences to the programme.
Michelle Gorman, Managing Director at Visitor County Durham: “We're thrilled, once again to be working in partnership with the North Pennines AONB Partnership on the second North Pennines Stargazing Festival. Following on from the huge success of last year's event, we're hopeful that the exciting programme of star-studded events and experiences will attract visitors of all ages to the area to appreciate the magnificence of the North Pennines 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.