THOUSANDS of people braved spells of torrential rain to visit 60 free attractions and events in York during the weekend’s Residents’ Festival.

Hundreds took advantage of the first opportunity in living memory to visit the historic Red Tower, near the City Walls in Foss Islands Road, a Grade I listed building dating back to 1490.

Christopher Rainger, of the Friends of York Walls, which opened up the red brick tower to visitors, said that despite poor weather on Saturday, it had a very busy day, with more than 250 visitors.

“All said they were delighted to have the chance to look inside, and one man said he had waited 72 years to see it,” he said.

Mr Rainger said an exhibition organised by the Friends moved inside when rain started but there was sufficient light to see the pictures and read the text, thanks to VP Hire Station, who had provided a generator and lamps free of charge.

“VP Hire Station also provided a free elevated platform, so visitors could see the first-floor room and roof,” he said.

The Friends also opened up Fishergate Postern Tower, and more than 400 visitors climbed the spiral staircase on Saturday alone to see the rooms and an exhibition about Fishergate. On Saturday, about 200 people looked around City of York Council’s West Offices.

The annual residents’ festival was organised by tourism organisation Visit York in partnership with the council as its way of saying thank you to residents for the warm welcome most give to York’s 7,000,000 annual visitors. It was open to all residents with a valid YorkCard.

New additions to the festival in addition to the Red Tower included All Saints’ Church in North Street and Jacob’s Well, a medieval building originally home to the priests of Holy Trinity Priory.