York Residents’ Festival 2016: What’s new, what’s free and where to go

Lots to see and do for all ages at ResFest 2016. Photograph: visityork.org
27 Jan 2016 @ 8.48 am
| Entertainment

Fun, free and family-friendly, the York Residents’ Festival returns this weekend.

City attractions and businesses are saying thank-you to the people of York for being tourism ambassadors all year round by offering free tickets and big discounts.

Organised by Make It York, this year’s festival includes more than 70 attractions, events and offers to enjoy – a record number.

Saturday January 30 and Sunday January 31

All the ResFest 2016 events here

You will need a valid YorkCard, issued by York Explore for a yearly cost of £5 for adults (under 18s free). This year students can go free as well with York Student ID.

There are lots of bargains for residents too. Find out the shops offering discounts here and the food and drink offers here.

So are you ready to enjoy the freedom of the city? Here’s what’s on this year…

What’s new for 2016

Miniature soldiers at York Army Museum. Photograph: Museum on Facebook
Miniature soldiers at York Army Museum. Photograph: Museum on Facebook

York Army Museum

Sat & Sun @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Completely revamped, the Tower Street museum tells the stories of British Army soldiers from 1685 to the present. And between 1pm-2pm on Saturday professional actors will bring the stories in the museum’s First World War Yorkshire Pals exhibition to life

Bitchdaughter Tower

Sat @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

The strangely named tower is opened for the first time by Friends of York Walls. Visitors will be able to see the small room with its brick arched roof and stone fireplace

An ancient York landmark with a very odd name opens for the first time

Victorian Ballroom at the De Grey Rooms

Sat @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

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One of York’s hidden gems, the Victorian Ballroom is a stunning centrepiece of the De Grey Rooms in St Leonard’s Place. Now part of York Theatre Royal you can see some of the costumes from past productions, including those outrageous panto frocks

Jacobs Well

Sat Jan 30 @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Jacobs Well has a fascinating history. Dating from medieval times the Trinity Lane building has been a private house, a pub and has had storeys added and taken away

Living history

Meet the Victorian shopkeepers at the York Castle Museum. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr
Meet the Victorian shopkeepers at the York Castle Museum. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr

York Castle Museum

Sat & Sun, 9.30am-5pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Old favourite the Castle Museum will have a host of Victorian shopkeepers for the weekend, allowing visitors to explore more of the shops and learn about the businesses that thrived in York 100 years ago

York Guildhall

Sat & Sun @ 10.30am-4.30pm

Pre booking required? Yes

More details

York Past & Present give you the opportunity to explore the Guildhall complex including: the Council Chamber, the previously unseen basement and the former council office spaces, together with the chance to see the emerging proposals for re-use of the complex as a business club

Barley Hall

Sat & Sun @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

The stunning medieval townhouse, once home to the Lord Mayor of York, welcomes you for ResFest 2016

Immersive… Eden Camp. Photograph: Eden Camp on Facebook
Immersive… Eden Camp. Photograph: Eden Camp on Facebook

Eden Camp

Sat & Sun @ 10am-5pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Housed in the grounds and buildings of an original World War II prisoner of war camp a visit to the unique and award winning museum will transport you back in time to experience life in the Second World War

York College at the Yorkshire Museum

Sat & Sun @ 11am-3pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

York College Archaeology and History students are at the Yorkshire Museum, exploring everyday life in Roman York.

Find out about the Ivory Bangle Lady and how bones can inform archaeologists about people’s lives

Yorkshire Museum

Sat & Sun @ 10am-5pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Meanwhile the Yorkshire Museum itself is free to visit, with its collection spanning from the dinosaurs through the Romans and even some medieval bling

Roman Bath Museum

Sat & Sun @ 11am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Not many pubs have a Roman bath house in their basement. See where the legionnaires would chill out and clean up, plus a dressing up corner for the kids

Holgate Windmill

Sat & Sun @ 11am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Beautifully restored, York’s one surviving windmill still mills its own flour – and you can buy a bag on the way out

Fairfax House

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

Pre booking required? No

More details

Go behind the scenes to see Fairfax House during its deep-clean winter hibernation. Learn what makes this house tick and its history from Georgian times to its 20th century cinema

Beningbrough Hall

Sat & Sun 11am-3.30pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

A chance to stroll round the marvellous Beningbrough Hall gardens, including the adventure playground, and explore the interactive galleries on the top floor of the house

Admiring the vintage ads at York's Chocolate Story
Admiring the vintage ads at York’s Chocolate Story

York’s Chocolate Story

Sat & Sun @ 9.30am, 9.45am and 10am

Pre booking required? No

More details

Residents can join one of three morning tours of the attraction dedicated to York’s chocolate each day. Yum

Cold War Bunker

Sat & Sun, 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? Yes

More details

This chilling reminder of the Cold War offers a fascinating insight into our recent past. Enter the blast-proof doors for a tour of what life would have been like in the nuclear winter

Richard III Experience

Sat & Sun 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Forget all that nonsense about princes in the tower, Richard III was a good guy – at least according to the York folk around at the time of his reign. Find out more about the last Plantagenet monarch at Monk Bar

Henry VII Experience

Sat & Sun 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Richard’s successor to the throne is championed in Micklegate Bar. Discover his impact on York and enjoy interactive experiences exploring life and death in Tudor times

The Red Tower on Foss Islands Road
The Red Tower on Foss Islands Road

Red Tower

Sat & Sun 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Distinctively rendered in brick, the Red Tower on Foss Islands Road has a fascinating – and murderous – history from the time it was built in 1490 to the recent floods

Fishergate Postern Tower

Sat & Sun @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

The sturdy, square Fishergate Postern Tower goes back 500 years. Climb the narrow spiral staircase, find the garderobe, look for masons marks and maybe sponsor a stone…

DIG

Sat & Sun 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No, but places limited

More details

Thirty-two places are available on a first-come, first-served basis with a tour of the archaeological attraction. There will also be special ‘Little Diggers’ sessions running throughout the weekend at DIG for ages 2-5

Clifford’s Tower

Sat & Sun @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? Yes – or don’t book and pay £1

More details

The recent controversy over plans to add a roof and visitor centre are a reminder of how important Clifford’s Tower is to the people of York. There are 100 free entry tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis

Merchant Taylors’ Hall

Sun @ 11am-3pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Is it really 600 years since they built Merchant Taylors Hall? Yes it is, and you can see what they’ve done with the place on Aldwark on Sunday

Churches

The ‘Little Admiral’ clock on St Martin's Church. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr
The ‘Little Admiral’ clock on St Martin’s Church. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr

York Minster

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

Pre booking required? No

More details

York’s mother church includes the interactive York Minster Revealed attraction in the undercroft

Central Methodist Church

Sat @ 11am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Now hidden away behind Stonebow, this 1840 church is well worth a visit. See the horseshoe shaped interior with gallery and box pews, and listen to the organ

All Saints North Street

Sat Jan 30 from 10.15am

Pre booking required? No

More details

Various tours are planned of the church during the day, including of the famous stained glass windows

All Saints Pavement

Sat & Sun, times vary

Pre booking required? No

More details

With a free lecture on the recently-installed Afghanistan window on Saturday, and an evening tour for students on the Sunday

St Martin’s Church

Sat @ 2pm-5pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Climb the tower to see the clock mechanism and, if weather permits, see the Little Admiral close up. Numbers are limited by available space

St Denys’ Church

Sat @ 9am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

A day of hospitality, history, short talks, music & mini-performances “to entertain children and diverse groups from our wonderful neighbourhood”. Sounds lovely

St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel

Sat @ 10am-4pm, & Sun @ 12.30pm-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

The unique meeting house on St Saviourgate dates back to 1692 and is the earliest load-bearing brick building in York

Music and theatre

Union Jill, one of the acts at the Black Swan
Union Jill, one of the acts at the Black Swan

Winter Folk Day

Sun @ 2pm-5.30pm and 7.30pm-10.30pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Informal afternoon and evening concerts featuring many of the talented local singers and bands associated with York’s award-winning Black Swan Folk Club

National Centre for Early Music

Sat & Sun, check link for workshop times

Pre booking required? Yes

More details

On the Saturday ‘Come And Sing’ at a social singing workshop aimed at everyone aged five and above. On Sunday, ‘Come And Play’ with the Golden Rail Band

Organists at St Helen’s Church

Sat @ 2pm-4.15pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

The York District Organists Association invite the public to come in to hear the organ, inspect it close up and “have a go” at playing

Choir at St Olave’s Church

Sat & Sun @ 7pm (singers arrive by 6.30pm)

Pre booking required? No

More details

It’s your chance to sing coronation anthems like Vivaldi’s Gloria and Handel’s Zadok The Priest with a choir and orchestra. Or just go along and listen

Joseph Rowntree Theatre

Sat @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Behind the scenes tours, a children’s treasure hunt, and you can try on a selection of costumes and hats, kindly loaned by Dress Circle of York

Arts and crafts

A beautiful place to be… the Stained Glass Centre. Photograph: Stained Glass Centre on Facebook
A beautiful place to be… the Stained Glass Centre. Photograph: Stained Glass Centre on Facebook

York Art Gallery

Sat @ 10am-6pm & Sun 11am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

A great chance to see York’s wonderful new art gallery after its £8 million transformation. Works by Lowry, Turner and Hockney are here, as well as the stunning ceramics on the mezzanine floor

The Stained Glass Centre

Sat @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Try designing a window or painting on glass. Stained glass experts will be on hand for demonstrations and discussions

The Viking Loom

Sat & Sun @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? Not essential but recommended

More details

A weekend of creative demonstrations and taster sessions at our workshop. Try out sewing, quilting, card making, beading and more

Tours and walks

Free walking tour of York

Sat & Sun @ 10.15am and 1.15pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Take a walk through centuries of York history with those knowledgeable folk from the Association of Voluntary Guides

City Sightseeing bus tour

Sat & Sun @ 9am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

We’ve all seen the tourists on the big red buses, now we can give them a whirl. Departing from Exhibition Square the City Sightseeing tours are a great way to see the city

Cruise the Ouse with YorkBoat. Photograph: Gareth Buddo / visityork.org
Cruise the Ouse with YorkBoat. Photograph: Gareth Buddo / visityork.org

YorkBoat

Sat & Sun from 11am

Pre booking required? No

More details

A 30-minute sightseeing cruise along the River Ouse. Just sit back and relax

York Historic Pub Walk

Sat & Sun @ 2pm

Pre booking required? Yes

More details

Learn more about York’s historic pubs, and the people who frequented them, on this 2½ hour walk

Ghost Trail Of York

Sat @ 6pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Get ready to be spooked in your home city with these terrifically terrifying tales. Starts from York Minster

Sport and outdoors

Little drivers go free at York MotorSport Village. Photograph: York MotorSport Village on Facebook
Little drivers go free at York MotorSport Village. Photograph: York MotorSport Village on Facebook

St Nicks

Sat @ 10.30am-3pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Tours, activities, poems and birdwatching – they know how to pack in a full day’s entertainment at St Nick’s Environment Centre

York Cemetery

Sun @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Explore the chapel and the catacombs, tour the cemetery and if you’re researching your family history, talk to the genealogists in the gatehouse

York MotorSports Village

Sun from 10am

Pre booking required? Yes

More details

Zip around the karting track for free if you are between four and eight years old, with discounts for older petrolheads. Booking is required and height restrictions apply

York City match – children go free

Sat @ 3pm

Pre booking required? No, but pre-book to avoid disappointment

More details


YCFC Foundation are giving children the opportunity to enjoy the thrills and excitement of a professional football match when York City FC host Stevenage Borough. Children get in for free with a paying adult (£19) when a valid YorkCard or York Student ID is shown

Further afield

International Centre for Birds of Prey

Sat & Sun @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Visit Duncombe Park near Helmsley to see the largest collection of these wonderful birds in the North. Eagles, vultures, owls and hawks among them

Kirklees Light Railway

Sat & Sun from 10.30am

Pre booking required? No

More details

The Kirklees Light Railway offers a scenic journey through the beautiful South Pennine foothills. Also a café and play area

Howsham Mill

Sat & Sun @ 10am-4pm

Pre booking required? No

More details

Now an education centre, the 18th century watermill is found in an area of outstanding beauty near Malton

Castle Howard

From Sat Jan 30-Sun Feb 7

Pre booking required? No

More details

It’s just the estate that’s open, not the house – well, we say “just” but the Castle Howard parkland is, to use the official description, somewhat spiffing. No need to rush – the offer is on till Feb 7

Wild Harvest School

Sat @ 10.30am-1pm, Sun @ 1pm-3.30pm

Pre booking required? Yes

More details

Based at a farm in East Cottingwith, the school is offering taster sessions in rural and natural crafts like rag rugging, leather work, candle making and willow star weaving

Abseiling with Lost Earth Adventures

Sat & Sun @ 9am-6pm

Pre booking required? Yes

More details

Abseil down a vertical face at Brimham Rocks with Lost Earth Adventures. Minimum age: seven years old