The most favourite weekend of all York residents is finally here - the annual York Resident’s Festival returns for the 25th time, celebrating its quarter of a century anniversary. The inaugural festival was held in January 1996, where 15 visitor attractions participated, and some like York Minster, York Castle Museum and the JORVIK Viking Centre still take part in the festival to this day. With over 100 attractions, special events and secret tours held across the city over the festival weekend, all York residents can become visitors for two days and explore the city in a new light.

To celebrate the big date, we have put together 25 experiences to enjoy this Residents' Festival that will make you discover new things that are right here in the city for all to enjoy. 

1. Join a brewery tour and sample some of Yorkshire’s best ales at Brew York – the only working brewery within the ancient city walls.

2. Be part of the Eye Project and watch the movie about the past, present and future of Castle Gateway projected onto Clifford’s Tower.

3. Head over to the Black Swan Folk Club and enjoy an evening of folk music, with over a dozen musicians performing over the weekend.

4. Embark on a journey across the mesmerising North York Moors and to the fishermen’s town of Whitby with a 50% discount from the Mountain Goat Tours.

5. Laugh out loud at Right Here Right Now comedy improv night with music, mayhem and making it all up along the way.

6. Walk in the footsteps of Anne Lister, popularised in the recent BBC hit drama Gentleman Jack, and learn more about York’s Georgian history.

7. See the largest collection of hunting birds at the National Centre for Birds of Prey and watch them fly across the centre, including some of the largest eagles in the world.

8. Step behind the scenes at the Grand Opera House and see what goes on at York’s theatre of variety.

9. Come and see the only working windmill and buy spelt flower milled right there – the Holgate Windmill also celebrates its 250th anniversary this year.

10. Explore the latest exhibition of Gerard Hobson’s artwork ‘Winter Wildlife in Print’ in the surrounding of the beautiful Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens.

11. Enjoy a day of family fun at William’s Den – an indoor and outdoor adventure attraction that gives you freedom to play whatever the weather.

12. Embark on a canoeing adventure off the beaten path with Lost Earth Adventures to a truly remarkable hidden gem at Evestone Lake.

13. Meet the astronomers, who will be showing off their refurbished observatory and look at the sun in a safe way at the Beetle Bank Open Farm.

14. Show your need for speed at York Motorsport Village by joining the F1 racing over the weekend with discounted pricing.

15. What would York look like in 20, 50 or even 100 years? Present your vision of future York through Lego designs at York Explore Library.

16. Add your personal touch to York by colouring in copies of historic plans of the city at York Mansion House, or draw your own designs.

17. Join the friends of York Cemetery on the History and Garden Walks, Catacomb Tours, and Grave Searches this weekend.

18. Discover the green heart of York by exploring the woodland trail, joining in for the biochar demonstrations and getting advice on sustainability issues at St Nick’s Environment Centre and Nature Reserve.

19. Hear about the history of Freemasonry, sit in the lodge room and experience the atmosphere of a meeting of Freemasons at Masonic Hall.

20. Learn how to make Viking jewellery and create bracelets and necklaces that will match your Viking outfits at Viking Loom.

21. Travel back in time to explore the Coppergate Viking settlement, its look and smells at the JORVIK Viking Centre.

22. Hop on a board the road train for a free ride from York Minster to the National Railway Museum.

23. Join a free tour of York’s sweet history and chocolate making, and discover the stories behind the greatest names in chocolate and unwrap the secrets of chocolate making at York’s Chocolate Story.

24. Get a free fright at York Dungeons and learn all about York’s gruesome and dark history, its villains, witches and ghosts.

25. Climb 275 steps to the top of the York Minster’s Central Tower for a breath-taking views of the city and beyond. 

The Residents' Festival is sponsored by Grand Central - who are offering 500 goodie bags - 250 per each day -  to those visiting the Visitor Information Centre at 1 Museum Street (YO1 7DT) during the festival weekend. The first 400 visitors through the VIC doors will also receive a £5 York Gift Card provided by the York BID (until stock runs out). 

To find out more about the festival and to see all experiences on offer, visit our Residents' Festival webpage.
Share your adventures with us, using hashtag #ResFest20 on Twitter and Instagram, and don’t forget to tag us in your image @visityork. You might end up being featured on official page.

Visit York Blog Written By Ana Ignatova