YORK Residents Festival returns today to celebrate its 25 year, with some old and new displays.

This year’s event - in which York residents get to explore the city’s museums and attractions for free - has promised to be bigger and better than ever.

There will be more than 100 attractions, events and offers during the course of the weekend, which is designed as a ‘thank you’ to the people of York for the way they look after (or put up with) the city’s 6.9 million visitors every year.

To get into free, just get yourself a valid YorkCard or York student card.

In addition to countless old favourites (the Minster, the Castle Museum, Jorvik and Fairfax House, anyone?) new additions this year include a Brew York Brewery Tour (with a free local craft beer sample) and a joint exhibition between York Explore and York Mansion House looking at planned developments in York that never came to be - including a pair of wonderful art deco public swimming pools.

This year will also see the projection of a new community film exploring the past, present and future of the Castle Gateway area onto Clifford’s Tower. And as if all that weren’t enough, York BID will be giving away no fewer than 400 York Gift Cards worth £5 each. These can be redeemed at participating cake and gift shops and will be handed out to the first residents to arrive at the Visitor Information Centre at 1 Museum Street over the weekend until they run out.

Full details of all participating attractions and Residents Festival events and offers can be found at visityork.org/whats-on/residents-festival

Here are a few of the highlights:

The Bar Convent, Saturday , 10am-4pm

- City Cruises York. Cruises depart from King’s Staith every hour between 11am and 3pm on Saturday and Sunday January 25 and 26. Enjoy a different view of York on board a 30-minute city cruise, with a captain’s live commentary. Offer subject to river conditions. Partial disabled access

- Clifford’s Tower, 10am-4pm Saturday and Sunday, January 25 and 26. The iconic remains of York Castle built by William the Conqueror are one of York’s most historic sites. Climb the steps and enjoy spectacular 360-degree views of the city. No Disabled Access

- Fairfax House, Castlegate, 11am-4pm Saturday and Sunday. Go behind the scenes, and experience Fairfax House as never normally seen during its deep-clean winter hibernation. Learn what makes this house tick and discover how we care for and conserve this Georgian York treasure. No Disabled Access.

- Fishergate Postern Tower, the junction of Piccadilly and Lead Mill Lane. 10am-4pm, Saturday and Sunday, January 25 and 26. Climb the spiral staircase of this early Tudor tower, work the model portcullis and find a garderobe, masons’ marks, re-used roof beams and displays, including brand new replicas reborn from fragments found in a recent dig.

- Holgate Windmill, Windmill Rise, Holgate, 11am-4pm Saturday and Sunday. Come and see York’s only surviving windmill, built-in 1770, now restored and in full working order. We will be celebrating our 250th Anniversary year in 2020. Stoneground wholemeal and spelt flour milled here is available to buy. No Disabled Access.

A full list of businesses which accept the York BID gift card is at yorkgiftcard.com.