THOUSANDS of people braved the cold, snow and rain to enjoy the annual York Residents Festival, with many taking the chance to explore the new council offices.
The two-day event, organised by Visit York, offers free or discounted admission to a wide range of attractions and venues across York and the surrounding area, to showcase the city’s tourist appeal and thank residents for welcoming seven million tourists each year.
The new council centre at West Offices, a restored Grade II-listed building created from York’s first railway station, opens to the public in March, but visitors got a sneak peek at the 19th-century building over the weekend.
Visitors also flocked to the Mansion House to look at the largest collection of civic silver outside London, and find out about former Lord Mayors.
More than a 500 people attended the newly-refurbished Holgate Windmill, where experts demonstrated how flour is made.
Jenny Hartland, chairman of the Holgate Windmill Preservation Society, said: “It’s been unbelievable, I’ve never seen so many people. It was just amazing. They were queuing down the street.
“We were taken by surprise, but we reckon probably 500 visited the mill, which was absolutely amazing.
“Many people saw it as a taster and said they would come back on a proper open day and take their time. It was very hard work, but thrilling and created a lot of goodwill."
Outside York, venues which joined in the 18th annual event included Scarborough Sea Life Sanctuary and the Kirklees Light Railway.
Abigail Wright, head of communications at York Theatre Royal, gives visitors a behind the scenes tour after the venue opened its doors for the York Residents Festival