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Record number of attractions and offers for the 21st York Residents’ Festival
Sponsored by First

Celebrating its 21st year, over seventy attractions, eateries and retailers will be on offer for York residents to help cheer up the January blues this weekend. 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. More retailers are taking part this year too with a range of brilliant discounts. 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 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 advice on traveling by bus visit Residents can also take advantage of a choice of special offers over the weekend. Customers buying a First Day Ticket (£3.80) on Saturday can travel for free all day on Sunday. Also groups of any four people can travel for only £5.00 (discounted by a third).

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 this year that for the first time students will take advantage of the event too.’

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. And one of the most popular offers, back this year, will be the free tours all day Saturday and Sunday with York CitySightseeing. JORVIK’s sister attraction DIG will be offering free tours on the hour from 10am and ‘Little Diggers’ sessions will run throughout the weekend.

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.

To help retailers get back on their feet following the Boxing Day floods, organisers Make It York, have also co-ordinated some brilliant shopping deals over the weekend. Retailers such as Fenwick and Jack Wolfskin for example will be offering an extra 20% off sale prices and Shambles market traders such as Olley and Olley are offering a fantastic 25% off. All retail offers will be online at and look out for signage at retailers during the weekend.

Eateries new to the Residents’ Festival line up for 2016 are:

• Applejacks Sports Bar and Dinner- Tower Street
• Prezzo- Clifford Street
• Hotel Noir- Clifton Green
• Dean Court Hotel-Duncombe Place
• Los Moros
• Olley & Olley Wholehogsausage co
• York Pie Co
• Shambles tavern

Just some of the retail offers are:

• 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)
• 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. With a choice of bus ticketing offers available there’s no better time to get to know your local bus service and visit the Festival.’

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. Check the website for up to date offers or late entries

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.

Throughout January and February, City of York Council is also offering free bus travel for all under 18’s on weekends on presentation of their YOzone card.



The Festival brochure which includes a full list of participating attractions is available from the Visit York Information Centre at 1 Museum Street.

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:
6.8 million visitors annually, £606million total visitor spend, supporting 20,300 jobs