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York opens its doors for residents

Sixty Free Attractions and Events at the 19th York Residents’ Festival

Visit York is encouraging York residents to enjoy a holiday at home next weekend as the 19th York Residents’ Festival takes place on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th January 2014.

The brainchild of Visit York in partnership with the City of York Council, the event is organised as a thank you to residents for the warm welcome they give to York’s visitors each year. Bus company First has pledged its support to the annual festival by signing up as the principal sponsor and Business Manager, Will Pearson, got a sneak preview this week inside York’s Georgian gem Fairfax House.

Sixty free attractions and events will be on offer in total giving access to a host of York’s most celebrated attractions, one-off behind-the-scenes access to some of the city’s hidden treasures, tours, special events and restaurant deals. There will also be live entertainment throughout the weekend with Minster FM on Parliament Street.

Kate McMullen, Head of Visit York, said ‘With fifteen new attractions and events and ten new restaurant offers this year, the 2014 Festival is set to offer the perfect opportunity to experience a holiday at home. Residents play an important part in York’s welcome for visitors so this is our way of saying a big thank you.’

Will Pearson, Business Manager for First in York, said, ‘We’re delighted to be the lead sponsor of the York Residents’ Festival. This partnership will enable us to engage more closely with the York community. In particular we’re keen to raise awareness of our services and encourage residents to try travelling by bus. A key part of the Festival is about encouraging local people to explore what’s on their doorstep, so throughout the weekend First will be offering a discounted FirstDay Group ticket for £5 for YorkCard holders*, allowing up to four people to travel with one bus ticket.’

New free additions for the 2014 programme include:
• Go behind the scenes and see Fairfax House as not usually seen during its deep-clean winter hibernation
• Take a guided tour of the world famous stained glass and Lady Chapel at All Saints North Street church
• Explore the hidden treasure Jacob’s Well, a small medieval building originally home to the chantry priests of Holy Trinity Priory
• Design a stained glass window at the Stained Glass Centre at St Martin-Cum-Gregory
• Get to know the Romans at the Roman Bath Museum

York residents will also be able to explore some of York’s award-winning out of town attractions with free entry to Beningbrough Hall gallery & gardens, Castle Howard’s impressive grounds & parkland and the Eden Camp modern history theme museum in Malton. Kirklees Light Railway is offering York residents a free ride on Yorkshire’s biggest little railway and Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary is also offering free admission to YorkCard holders throughout the weekend.

Exclusive dining deals, including some Buy One Get One Free offers and free starters or desserts will be available over the weekend too. Eateries new to the Residents’ Festival line up for 2014 are:

• Bagel Nash
• Caffe Dell Opera 3
• Cakes d’Licious
• Côte Brasserie
• Junction Restaurant at the Holiday Inn
• Jaipur Spice
• Kafeneion
• Strada
• Belmont Room at Bettys
• Centre View Restaurant - Fenwick

Cllr Sonja Crisp, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, said: ‘Inviting York residents to sample their home city’s award-winning visitor attractions, tours and restaurants is perfectly complemented by First’s discounted all-day bus ticket offer. As well as spreading the word to friends and family about what York has to offer, this is another way of making attractions more accessible and of saying thank you to residents for helping make York such a fabulous city’.

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 can be found on the Visit York website at or by picking up a York Residents’ Festival leaflet from the Visit York Information Centre at 1 Museum Street.

Residents need a YorkCard to gain admission at each venue, available from all of York’s public libraries. YorkCards have a £3 admin charge for adults but are free for under 18’s. The YorkCard also entitles residents to free or discounted entry to a range of leisure facilities and attractions in York throughout the year. A list of all participating attractions and restaurants can be found by visiting


For further information please contact:

Kay Hyde – Head of PR and Communications – Visit York
Direct Line: 01904 554451
Mobile: 07961 828092

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

Notes To The Editor

About Visit York
• Visit York is supported by the City of York Council and over 700 tourism businesses and works in partnership with VisitEngland.
• Visit York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure and business visitor, and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York. Visit York is responsible for leisure and conference marketing, visitor services (running the city’s Visitor Information Centre), training and ensuring a quality visitor experience.
• Visit York is the driving force of the city’s tourism industry.

Key facts:
7.1 million visitors, £443 million total visitor spend, 23, 000 jobs