Northumberland residents urged to take part in festival

Chillingham Castle is taking part in the Northumberland Residents' Festival.
Chillingham Castle is taking part in the Northumberland Residents' Festival.

Top attractions in Northumberland will be offering free or discounted entry to people living in the county later this month.

The sixth annual Residents’ Festival weekend takes place on Saturday, March 21, and Sunday, March 22.

Alnwick Garden is participating in the Northumberland Residents' Festival.

Alnwick Garden is participating in the Northumberland Residents' Festival.

It 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 more than 20 participating venues.

Attractions taking part include The Alnwick Garden, the Bailiffgate Museum, in Alnwick, Bamburgh Castle, Belsay Hall, Castle & Gardens, Chillingham Castle, Dunstanburgh Castle, Etal Castle, Kielder Water Birds of Prey Centre, Lindisfarne Priory, Bamburgh’s RNLI Grace Darling Museum and Warkworth Castle.

Coun Val Tyler, from the county council, said: “Tales from Northumberland has proven again just how popular Northumberland is to national TV audiences and we are very lucky to live in such a beautiful county with so many unique visitor attractions.

The Residents’ Festival showcases the county’s family-friendly attractions and gives something back to our local communities.

Coun Val Tyler

“The Residents’ Festival showcases the county’s family-friendly attractions and gives something back to our local communities. We are delighted that so many venues have agreed to open their doors to residents during the weekend and we hope that as many people as possible take the opportunity to experience the wonderful attractions Northumberland has to offer.”

The festival also features a ‘buy one get one free’ offer for swimming at Northumberland leisure centres and there’s a chance for residents to see new-born lambs at Whitehouse Farm Centre, Morpeth, birds of prey at Kielder and the Lego exhibition at Woodhorn Museum.

Keith Merrin, director and chief executive at Woodhorn Museum, said: “The festival weekend offers residents a chance to see our fabulous Brick Planet Lego exhibition, as well as the usual Woodhorn mix of interactive exhibitions, historic colliery buildings and, of course, the work of the world-famous Pitmen Painters. We also have a very popular café and we would be delighted to see visitors from across the county coming along to experience Woodhorn.”

Ray Lowden, owner of the Kielder Water Birds of Prey Centre, said: “The Residents’ Festival is a very popular weekend with people coming to visit from all parts of the county. It offers people a chance to have a close encounter with our wonderful owls and fabulous falcons in one of the most beautiful parts of the country.”

Chris Calvert, administrator for Bamburgh Castle, said: “The Residents’ Festival is always a very popular weekend and we have seen queues out of the castle gates in previous years. It’s a great chance for residents to revel in the history of an iconic Northumberland landmark and enjoy the magnificent views of the Farne Islands.”

Residents will need the 2015 Residents’ Festival leaflet containing the vouchers for free and discounted entry. These can be downloaded from the festival website.

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, council information offices, tourist information centres and Sure Start Children’s 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.