Residents' Festival offers free days out

Warkworth Castle is taking part in the Residents' Festival
Warkworth Castle is taking part in the Residents' Festival
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Top attractions in Northumberland will be offering free or discounted entry to people living in the county this weekend.

The seventh annual Residents’ Festival weekend celebrates the fact that the county is not only a great place to visit but also a fantastic place to live, and aims to give something back to local residents.

The event is being organised by Northumberland County Council in partnership with 29 participating venues. These include the English Heritage properties, Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens; Lindisfarne Priory, and Chesters Roman Fort and Museum. Also taking part are The Alnwick Garden and Chillingham Castle which are offering 50 per cent off admission prices.

This year’s festival also features the National Trust properties: Cragside, Wallington Hall, Seaton Delaval Hall and Lindisfarne Castle.

The Vue Cinema, Cramlington, is offering up to 50 per cent off peak adult tickets for residents with a festival voucher and Northumberland Leisure Centres are also taking part with a number of great offers including 2-for-1 soft play.

Coun Val Tyler, Cabinet member for Arts, Leisure and Culture at Northumberland County Council, said: “The new series of ITV’s Tales from Northumberland programmes with Robson Green shows just what a fantastic county we live in with amazing heritage and historical buildings.

“The Residents’ Festival offers the opportunity for those of us lucky enough to live here to enjoy many of our finest family-friendly attractions and leisure opportunities either free or at a reduced cost.

“We are delighted so many venues are opening their doors to residents during the weekend and we hope that as many people as possible visit these wonderful attractions and iconic landmarks.”

This year is the 300th anniversary of the birth of famous Northumbrian landscape gardener, Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. One of this year’s attractions, the Kirkharle Courtyard and Gardens, is the birthplace of ‘Capability’ Brown and the place where he began his gardening career. The attraction was featured in the first episode of the new Further Tales from Northumberland series.

Lynn Rylance, Area Manager for the North East and Hadrian’s Wall at English Heritage said: “Every year our properties see an influx of visitors during the Residents’ Festival weekend and it’s always great to see so many local people out and about and enjoying the fantastic Northumberland experiences that are right on their doorstep.”

Ray Lowden, Owner of the Kielder Water Birds of Prey Centre, said: “Our summer flying demonstrations have just begun so it’s a great time to come along and see our beautiful birds of prey including ‘Hope’ our Steller's Sea Eagle, the biggest breed of eagle in the world.

“We are situated in the heart of Kielder Forest just a short walk away from restaurants, bike trails, walks, and boat trips. The Kielder Observatory, which is also taking part in the Residents’ Festival, is nearby, so why not come along and make a day of it here at Kielder.”

Residents will need the 2016 Residents’ Festival leaflet containing the vouchers for free and discounted entry – these can be downloaded from the festival website http://cultureandtourism.activenorthumberland.co.uk/festivals-events/residents-festival. Each leaflet contains sufficient vouchers to visit up to four attractions during the festival weekend and they are available at various outlets throughout the county such as libraries, leisure centres and tourist information centres. Residents should also take with them proof of residence: a driving licence, utility bill or bank statement will all be accepted.

Some of the attractions may have car parking charges or special exhibitions, which may not be included in the festival weekend offer.

The event is being organised by Northumberland County Council in partnership with leading visitor attractions from across the county.

The venues taking part are: The Alnwick Garden, The Bailiffgate Museum and Gallery, Alnwick; Bamburgh Castle; Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens; Blyth Battery; Chesters Roman Fort and Museum; Chillingham Castle; Corbridge Roman Town; Cragside, Rothbury; Dunstanburgh Castle; Hexham Old Gaol; Housesteads Roman Fort; Kielder Observatory; Kielder Castle Café; Kielder Water and Forest Park; Kielder Water Birds of Prey Centre; Kirkharle Courtyard; Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens; Lindisfarne Castle; Lindisfarne Priory; Newbiggin Maritime Centre; Paxton House Gallery & Country Park, Berwick-upon-Tweed; RNLI Grace Darling Museum, Bamburgh; Seaton Delaval Hall; Vue Cinema, Cramlington; Wallington, Cambo, near Morpeth; Warkworth Castle; Whitehouse Farm Centre, Morpeth; and Woodhorn Museum, Ashington.