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21st York Residents’ Festival –
Highlights Announced
Sponsored by First

Celebrating its 21st year, over sixty attractions, eateries and retailers will be on offer for York residents to help cheer up the January blues next year. York residents will once again have the chance to explore what’s on their doorstep free of charge, when the York Residents’ Festival takes place on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st January 2016.

Organised by Make It York and sponsored by First, the 2016 event is set to offer free entry to a host of York’s most celebrated attractions, one-off behind-the-scenes access to some of the city’s hidden gems, special events and some fantastic restaurant and retail deals. This annual event is organised as a thank you to York’s residents for the warm welcome they give to York’s seven million global visitors each year.

A £5 FirstDay Group ticket (discounted by a third) is available to purchase from the bus driver to anyone with a valid YorkCard during Residents Festival. Any four people may travel and customers travelling must board together. A First Bus will be positioned in Parliament Street during the weekend offering free wi-fi, as well as complimentary muffins and a free gift.

For the first time this year the festival is being promoted to thousands of students studying in the city too, who can also take part with a valid York student ID card. Since its inception twenty one years ago it is estimated that over 300,000 free visits have been taken up by York residents and 2015 saw the highest recorded participation yet with 40,000 free visits being made to York’s attractions – a figure that has more than doubled since the festival’s first year.

Kate McMullen, Head of Consumer Products and Marketing, Make It York, said ‘We’re delighted to be celebrating twenty one years of this free event. When it was first set up our Residents Festival was unique in the country. Since then it has gone from strength to strength and we’ve expanded the programme each year to include not only free entry to our world-class attractions but also a range of shopping and restaurant offers. We hope even more people will take part and benefit from the festival in 2016.’

New free additions for 2016 include the York Army Museum and a chance to visit one of the city’s hidden gems; the stunning Victorian Ballroom in the De Grey Rooms at Exhibition Square. This includes a chance to get up close to costumes in the hire department from past theatrical productions - including the famous panto - and take tea in the Cocktail Bar café.

Residents and students will also be able to explore some of York’s award-winning out of town attractions with free entry to Beningbrough Hall & Gardens, Castle Howard’s impressive grounds & parkland and Eden Camp Modern History Theme Museum in Malton. Or take a trip on the Kirklees Light Railway for a scenic journey through the south Pennine foothills. Exclusive dining deals, including some Buy One Get One Free offers and free starters or desserts will be available over the weekend too, amongst other offers.

Eateries new to the Residents’ Festival line up for 2016 are:
• 29 States - Indian Kitchen - Tower Street
• Applejacks Sports Bar and Dinner - Tower Street
• Prezzo - Clifford Street
• Hotel Noir - Clifton Green
• Dean Court Hotel -Duncombe Place

The 2016 festival features offers from the following retailers:
• According To McGee, Tower Street - 20% discount
• Bradley’s Jewellers, Low Petergate - 15% discount on diamonds and coloured gems
• Cleggs, Goodramgate - 10% discount (excludes greeting cards)
• Give the Dog a Bone, Gillygate - 10% discount
• Jack Wolfskin, Lendal - 20% off RRP, further 10% off sale items.
• Leia Lingerie, Spurriergate – 10% discount
• Palenque Jewellery, Low Petergate – 10% discount
• Il Gusto, Low Petergate – 10% discount

Will Pearson, Business Manager for First in York, said: ‘As one of York's local bus providers, we’re proud to sponsor this event again and we’re keen to help York’s community by supporting local initiatives. We encourage people to take advantage of this opportunity to come and speak to our staff about First services in York.’

Pre-booking is required for some of the attractions and guided tours and some venues have limited tickets available – the advice is to plan your visits carefully in advance. Full details will be available in the Festival brochure, from the Visit York Information Centre at 1 Museum Street (available from early January).

Residents need to show a valid YorkCard or York Student ID Card to gain admission at each venue and for all shopping and restaurant offers, YorkCards are available from Explore York Libraries – check your nearest at

YorkCards have a £5 admin charge for adults and are free for under 18’s. The YorkCard also entitles free or discounted entry to a range of leisure facilities and attractions in York throughout the year.


A full list of participating attractions will be available from early January.

Please request this.

For further information please contact:

Kay Hyde – Head of PR and Communications – Make It York
Direct Line: 01904 554451
Mobile: 07506 048852

Katie Parsons – Senior Communications Executive – Make It York
Direct Line: 01904 554436

Notes To The Editor

£5 FirstDay Group ticket (discounted by a third) is available to purchase from the bus driver to anyone with a valid YorkCard during Residents Festival. Any four people may travel and customers travelling must board together.

Make It York (York’s Destination Organisation) has an overarching remit to market the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, stud, work and do business. The remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events, business support and inward investment.

Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand.
Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York

Key tourism facts:
6.7 million visitors annually, £573 million total visitor spend, supporting 19,000 jobs