45 fabulous free events to try at the York Residents Festival 2015

28 Jan 2015 @ 6.30 pm
| Entertainment

Zilch. Nada. Zero. Nuffink. That’s the price of entry to some of York’s top attractions and events this weekend.

york-residents-festival-logoIt is the 20th York Residents Festival, a time when the tourism sector says thank you to the rest of us for welcoming so many visitors over the past year. And they get to show off their attractions too.

The festival runs across Saturday, January 31 and Sunday, February, 1. You can see all the events in our festival listings, and check out dining discounts on the Visit York pages.

Remember you need a York Card to get in to these attractions for free. They cost £3 from York Explore and other libraries.

We’ve picked out the best places and events which come with Yorkshire’s favourite price tag: free! Have a good one.

What’s new for 2015

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Treasurer’s House. Photograph © Charlesdrakew on Wikipedia
1. Behind the scenes at Treasurer’s House

Sat & Sun @ 11am-3pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Find out what conservation means for a place like Treasurer’s House, meet the House Steward and conservation volunteers, take part in some conservation tasks too.

2. Behind the scenes at York City FC

Sat @ various times

Pre booking required? Yes: 01904 559508

More details

A chance to look round the “Arena Of Audacity” aka Bootham Crescent. Tours will last up to an hour, and will include players dressing rooms, players tunnel, pitchside and matchday hospitality rooms. Numbers limited, booking required.

3. Short film festival

Sat @ 11am onwards

Pre booking required? No

More details

The Aesthetica Short Film Festival is a firm favourite every November. Now you can sample some of its best mini movies for free as it comes to the Residents Festival for the first time. Thirty-four films are showing throughout Saturday at King’s Manor, from family friendly stories to the best of the festival.

4. Karting at York MotorSports Village

Sun @ 10am-noon (free rides), 10am-6.30pm (reduced rates)

Pre booking required? Yes: 01904 673555

More details

York MotorSports Village is offering York Card holders the opportunity to sample its facilities for free for under-eights and for a reduced cost for older petrol heads.

5. Howsham Mill

Sun @ 11am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

This 18th century watermill near Malton was designed by John Carr of York as a garden folly in the Gothic style. It’s now restored as an education centre, generating renewable energy.

6. Birds of Prey at Duncombe Park

10am-4.30pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

See eagles, vultures, owls, hawks, falcons and more and watch flying demonstrations at 11.30am and 2pm.

UNESCO City of Media Arts

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A slice of Raspberry Pi with a side order of musical bollard please…
7. Open day

Sat @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Last December York won UNESCO City of Media Arts status. Now residents can learn a little more about what that means as organisers hold an open day featuring talks from the likes of film champion Screen Yorkshire and the people who created the London Olympic cauldron, Stage One. Plus there are kids activity sessions where they can use a Raspberry Pi to program Minecraft among other things… You can watch York films on the pop-up cinema, or try the amazing musical Theremin Bollards.

8. Screening: The Knife That Killed Me

Sun @ noon

Pre booking required? Yes: go here

More details

Named by HuffPo as one of the movies of last year, York co-production The Knife That Killed Me is being screened at City Screen in this UNESCO City of Media Arts presentation.

Living history

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York’s Cold War Bunker
9. Cold War Bunker

Sat @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? Yes: 01904 646940

More details

Discover how York’s men and women of the Royal Observer Corps would have protected the country during a nuclear attack. From underneath Acomb.

10. The Mansion House

Sat & Sun @ 11am-3pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

A rare chance to take a look round the Lord Mayor’s gaff, built in 1732, and see what pictures he has on his wall.

11. Merchant Adventurer’s Hall

Sat @ 9am-1pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Explore this stunning timber framed Hall which has been part of York life for over 655 years.

12. York Minster

Sat @ 9am-5pm; Sun @ 12.45pm-5pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Explore our biggest landmark and its 2,000 year history in the interactive exhibition in the underground chambers, and see the stained glass in The Orb.

13. Clifford’s Tower

Sat & Sun @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Tour the tower. One hundred free entry tickets will be available on a first come first served basis and all residents will receive a discounted entry rate of £1.

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Can you dig it? yes you can… Photograph: DIG / visityork.org
14. DIG

Sat & Sun @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Discover York’s ancient historical roots at the family friendly archaeological centre. Residents will not be able to pre-book tours but spaces will be allocated on arrival.

15. Henry VII Experience

Sat & Sun @ 2pm-5pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Find out about the first Tudor King of England, who ruled for twenty-four years after defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. Micklegate Bar.

16. Richard III Experience

Sat & Sun @ 2pm-5pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Why not do the double, and call in to Monk Bar for a guided tour round the life of York’s favourite monarch. A York Card, a York Card, my kingdom for a York Card…

17. Fishergate Postern Tower

Sat & Sun @ 10am-3pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

As part of the festival, the Friends Of York Walls are offering guided tours of the tower free of charge, with one warning – the spiral staircase could pose a bit of a threat!

18. The Red Tower

Sat & Sun @ 10am-3pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

See inside this 15th Century tower and learn from The Incredible Movement in York of their plans to make it a public building in future. Perhaps you could help?

19. Fairfax House

Sat @ 11am-4pm, Sun @ 11am-2pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Go behind the scenes and see Fairfax House as never normally seen during its deep-clean winter hibernation. Learn what it is like to be involved in this Georgian York treasure, once better known as St George’s cinema and dancehall.

20. Jorvik Viking Centre

Sat & Sun @ 2pm-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

A rare chance to tour this world famous attraction for free. Discover how Coppergate’s Vikings looked, sounded and smelled.

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Holgate Windmill. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr
21. Holgate Windmill

Sat & Sun @ 11am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Restored to its full working glory, the windmill is well worth seeing, and you can buy stoneground York flour from here too.

22. Roman Bath Museum

Sat & Sun @ 11am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

It had hot and cold running water long before you’re Calor Gas boilers, squire. The Roman Bath underneath the pub of the same name also offers a dressing up corner.

23. Railway history

11am-3.30pm

Pre booking required? Yes: [email protected]

More details

Historian Bill Fawcett tells the story of York’s first railway station, in the council’s swish West Offices HQ where the station once stood.

24. Bar Convent

Sat @ 10am-3pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Enjoy free entry to the museum in England’s oldest living convent, and learn a little of its secret past.

25. Eden Camp

Sat Jan 31-Sun, Feb 8 @ 10am-5pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

The former Second World War camp for prisoners of war will transport you back to our darkest hour, with the sights and sounds of life on the home front and the front line.

26. Beningbrough Hall

Sat & Sun @ 11am-3.30pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Explore the interactive galleries on the top floor of the house, take a walk in the parkland and or build a den in the wilderness play area.

Music

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The Golden Rail Band
27. Come And Play: A Brass Instrument

Sun @ 10.30am-12.30pm

Pre booking required? Drop-in sessions – no; concert – yes: 01904 658338

More details

A chance for beginners of all ages to have a go on a brass instruments in a relaxed setting.
The drop-in sessions at the National Centre For Early Music (from 10.30am-12.30pm) will be followed by a free community concert, A Young Person’s Guide To The Brass Band, at 2.30pm given by the York RI Golden Rail Band and its Development Band.

28. Winter folk day

Sun @ 2pm-10.30pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Join a relaxed afternoon and evening of music from York’s many talented local singers and bands at the award-winning Black Swan Folk Club.

29. Organ mini-recitals

Sat @ 1pm-5pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

St Helen’s Church is the atmospheric setting for a series of organ recitals, and have a go on the keyboard yourself.

30. Sing The Messiah

Sat @ 6.30pm-9.30pm

Pre booking required? Email [email protected]

More details

A chance to sing Handel’s biggest hit along with St Olave’s under the direction of its musical director? Only one word for that – hallelujah!

Tours by foot, boat and train

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Beautiful… York Cemetery. Photograph © Colleen Morgan on Flickr
31. YorkWalk’s walking tours

Sat & Sun @ 10.30am for Essential York; Sat @ 2.15pm for Roman York; Sun @ 2.15pm for Roman York

Pre booking required? No

More details

Let seasoned tour guides from YorkWalk take you round the best of the city, via snickelways, Romans and walls.

32. York Cemetery guided walk

Sun @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Taking in the cemetery grounds, the Grade II listed chapel and a rare glimpse inside the usually private catacombs.

33. York On The Run

Sat & Sun, times vary

Pre booking required? Yes: contact 07966 315770

More details

Too busy to walk around some of York’s interesting landmarks? Well, this could be for you. An hour’s jog round the city with an experienced guide.

34. York river cruise

Sat & Sun @ 11am-3pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Enjoy a 30 minute cruise through our beautiful city courtesy of YorkBoat. Departing at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm from Lendal Bridge and King Staith landings.

35. Kirklees Light Railway

Sat & Sun @ 11am-3.40pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Unlimited travel is on offer from this light railway which takes passengers through the South Pennine foothills. There’s a miniature train for kids too.

Outdoor fun

See all, hear all, say owt… the boys survey the Howardian Hills
Castle Howard grounds. Photograph: Richard McDougall
36. Wired high ropes course

Sat & Sun @ 10am-5pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Fancy yourself as York’s Tarzan? You can enjoy a free lap of the 22 element high rope course at Web Adventure Park on Wigginton Road, as long as you’re over the age of seven.

37. Castle Howard grounds

Sat-Sun, Feb 8 @ 10am-5pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Stroll around the glorious parkland surrounding the Brideshead-style house (which is closed) and enjoy the statues, temples, lake, woodland and adventure playground.

38. St Nicks open day

Sun @ 10.30am-3pm. Tours: 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Explore the green heart of York with guided tours of St Nicks Nature Reserve and Environment Centre. Includes demonstrations of coppicing and green woodworking skills.

39. Abseil down Brimham Rocks

Sat @ 9am-6pm

Pre booking required? Yes: 01904 500094

More details

Holiday adventure types Lost Earth Adventures invite you to abseil down a vertical face. Minimum age: seven.

Arts, crafts and theatre

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What’s backstage? York Theatre Royal
40. York Theatre Royal tours

Sun @ 12-4pm

Pre booking required? Yes: 01904 623568

More details

See below the skirts of this grand old lady of theatreland, with backstage tours running every half hour. Booking essential.

41. Joseph Rowntree Theatre

Sat & Sun @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? For the children’s workshops, yes: 01904 658197

More details

Here’s a chance to look round the wonderful Joseph Rowntree Theatre and talk to the people who make it tick. There are also children’s stage craft workshops.

42. Workshop with artist Jake Attree

Sat @ 11am-5pm

Pre booking required? Yes: 01904 687633

More details

Taking place in York Castle Museum, the workshop’s focus is its famous Victorian street, Kirkgate. A series of two-hour sessions throughout the day.

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Stonemasonry… one of the York College taster courses
43. York College free workshops

Sat & Sun @ 10am-2pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Children can make dinosaur eggs and adults try their hand at stonemasonry – just a couple of the taster sessions put on by York College.

44. Stained glass centre

Sat @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

York’s amazing history of creating stunning stained glass is here for all to see, and you can have a go yourself.

45. Quilt Museum

Sat @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Take a look at some of the beautiful exhibits, including a guest exhibition of quilts stitched by prisoners.