YORK residents are sampling the city's attractions for free this weekend in what organisers describe as a thank-you event.

The 21st York Residents' Festival sponsored by travel company First is taking place across a record number of locations.

To take part, residents need to show their YorkCards or valid students IDs.

Click here to see our gallery of 15 photos from the event.

Organiser Make It York says the festival is a thank you to residents "for the warm welcome they give to York’s seven million global visitors each year".

A record number of more than 70 attractions plus shops and eateries are taking part.

Ruth Greaney, and her children Joseph, four, and Erin, two, were among the first check out archaeology attraction DIG in St Saviourgate on Saturday morning.

She said: "We've been before a few times and really enjoy it. I know they have a thing called Little Diggers on today, which will be great for these two.

"We're glad to find out there's no queue yet!"

Ruth added: "I have been given a leaflet from the red bus tour company, which means you can ride on it for free, so I think we'll use that as our taxi today."

York's Chocolate Story, which was running three free tours on Saturday morning, had queues of visitors snaking outside its entrance in Kings Square.

Among those queueing was Mike Richmond, who said: "I haven't been to the Chocolate Story before, so this seemed a good opportunity.

"We've got two daughters who are more interested than us as well. It's a good idea with the YorkCard.

"This will take up all morning and we'll see about visiting other places after that."

York Army Museum in Tower Street, which opened in May 2015, is taking part in the weekend for the first time.

Assistant curator Hannah Rogers said: "This is a great opportunity for us to draw people in.

"Hopefully, they will go away and tell others how good the museum is.

"Of the 16 people we have already had in, none had been before."

Hannah added: "The response since we opened last year has been very positive.

"Everyone has said 'you need to be telling people about this more - most people don't realise it's here'."

Kay Hyde, head of communications at Make It York, said: "We are delighted so many residents and students have come into York to support the festival.

"Each year the event gets better and stronger and we are grateful to our sponsor and all of York's businesses who have taken part this year."

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