There’s plenty to get excited about in Yorkshire as we move into 2023, so Bethan Andrews takes a look at some of the biggest and best events in the calendar
Yorkshire is pretty good when it comes to pulling out all the stops for events throughout the year, and 2023 is looking to be no exception to this. From an abundance of new festivals to annual celebrations that get bigger and better each year, there looks set to be a number of events you won’t want to miss across the county this year. So, we’ve taken a look at some of the biggest so that you can start marking out your calendars and getting ahead with planning.
DARK SKIES FESTIVAL
The Dark Skies Festival, which takes place in the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors from 10-26 February, is a celebration of looking up around National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The festival was invented due to the threat of pollution and light on our night skies and how hard it can be for people to truly experience the phenomenon above us. Since 2016’s inaugural Festival in the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales, Dark Skies Festivals throughout the UK have become an unmissable fixture in the stargazing calendar. This year, you can expect all sorts of stargazing and astronomical legends coming to Yorkshire, from Pete Collins to Richard Darn and Neill Sanders. You can look forward to events such as canoeing, stargazing and pizza nights, as well as Stargazing Beneath Ingleborough, Dark Skies in the Vale, Beginners Guide to the Night Sky and Rocket Making, and a Dark Skies Night Run.
HARROGATE SPRING FLOWER SHOW
From 20-23 April, the Great Yorkshire Showground springs to life once again for the inaugural Harrogate Spring Flower Show. In addition to welcoming the UK’s top plant nurseries, the event showcases the ideas and inspiration of both established and up-and-coming garden designers. As Britain’s biggest exhibition of floral art, it also features the work of hundreds of flower arrangers and florists and has become known as one of the biggest dates in the annual diary for those in the industry – in fact, it’s widely regarded as the biggest and most prestigious independent shows in the gardening year. There’s a Grand Floral Hall, a section purely for garden inspiration, a magnificent food hall, as well as the Floral Art Pavilion, Live Theatre and a garden shopping area. There’s also the autumn flower show from 15-17 September, which is held at Newby Hall and Gardens, near Ripon. Not only does it offer flower show favourites like the world-famous giant veg competition and an amazing array of autumn blooms grown by specialist societies, but it also includes access to Newby’s award-winning gardens and spectacular floral installations in the stately home.
LIVE AT LEEDS
Although a relatively new event in the grand scheme of things, Live at Leeds has become one of the biggest and most anticipated dates in the diary for many people across Yorkshire. The multi-stage, greenfield, one-day festival is held at the wonderful Temple Newsam, and is a music event open to all ages so that the whole family can get involved. This year, the festival will take place on 23 May, with Tom Walker, Two Door Cinema Club, Enola Gay and The Lathams already confirmed.
SHEFFIELD DOC FEST
Sheffield DocFest will be running from 14-19 June this year, and is expected to be as big and as pioneering as ever, continuing to put Sheffield and Yorkshire on the map as a leader in the documentary industry. Sheffield DocFest is the UK’s leading documentary festival and one of the world’s most influential markets for documentary projects. They champion and present the breadth of documentary form – film, television, immersive and art – in the vibrant city of Sheffield each June, and offer makers and audiences a place for inspiration, debate, development, learning and challenge. Their programming is fascinating, pushes boundaries and represents their core values – creativity, empathy, freedom, inclusivity and internationalism. This year, Annabel Grundy takes over as a new Managing Director, so it’s an exciting year to look out for what’s happening.
GREAT YORKSHIRE SHOW
It wouldn’t be a list of the biggest events in the county’s calendar without including the Great Yorkshire Show now, would it? Taking place this year from 11-14 July, it will be the impressive 164th version of this inaugural country show, known as one of the best agricultural shows in the UK, and expected to welcome 140,000 people to the 250-acre showground in 2023. Although the official timetable of events is yet to be announced and confirmed, you can expect the usual foray of show jumping from some of the best riders in the country, agricultural shows and judging rings, forestry escapades, the best of rural fashion to mooch around, talks, workshops and celebrities, as well as garden showcases and a fabulous food hall.
ILKLEY LITERATURE FESTIVAL
Celebrating its impressive 50th golden anniversary this year, the Ilkley Literature Festival is one of the biggest dates in the calendar for authors, librarians, avid readers and literature enthusiasts from all over the world. As the second oldest literature festival in the UK, you can always expect to see all the stops pulled out and for world-famous authors to take to the streets of Ilkley throughout October. Of course, they have some exciting plans to mark the big anniversary this year, although they are keeping those under wraps for now. But, typically, around 150 events take place in a variety of venues across the town and beyond over 17 days of October. However, keep your eyes peeled this year as the events are no longer confined simply to October, with special events taking place across the year.