City counts down to free festival for residents

MANY of York's major attractions will open their doors without charge this month, as part of a festival for local residents.

The annual York Residents Festival will offer free admission to the likes of York Minster and York Dungeon over the weekend of Saturday January 30 and Sunday January 31.

The event, which attracts about 20,000 York residents each year, also offers free art exhibitions, tours and discounted restaurant meals to those with YORKCards.

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Holy Trinity Church will stage the Beliefs in Relief photographic exhibition of monumental and sculpture art, produced in partnership with Yorkshire Museum and York Camera Club.

St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel, one of the city's oldest brick buildings, will host a display about the life and work of Victorian novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, now made famous again by the BBC TV series Cranford.

Families can also get involved with the "Complete York Treasure Hunt", which will take them on an adventure around the city in a hunt for prizes while visitors can also enjoy free entertainment in the city centre.

Gillian Cruddas, Chief Executive of organisers Visit York, said: "Following on from the success of last year's Residents Festival, we're delighted to offer another exciting programme of events for 2010.

"We hope everyone enjoys it and we'd especially like to thank all the businesses in the city who have supported it.

"We hope by encouraging residents to explore what's on their doorstep they will help us to spread the word about what a great city York is," she said.

YORKCards are available free of charge to residents living within the City of York Council area from any City of York library and the full festival programme has been put online at www.visityork.org.