Take advantage of attractions at annual gathering

FREE and discounted entry is being offered to the county’s tourist attractions this weekend as the Northumberland Residents’ Festival returns.

The annual event, which is now in its fourth year, aims to celebrate the fact that Northumberland is a great place to live by offering something back to its residents.

Last year more than 5,000 people took up the invitation to explore the county’s heritage through the discount scheme.

This year an extra eight venues have signed up to take part, bringing the total to 26, including Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens and Wallington.

Northumberland County Council design and cultural services manager Nigel Walsh said: “Over the last four years, the festival has grown in popularity and has now become a fixture in the county’s event calendar.

“The tourism industry is one of the largest employers in the county and this is an ideal opportunity to encourage residents to visit the attractions which draw thousands of people to Northumberland every year.”

Everyone who registers for discount vouchers will be entered into a prize draw for the chance to win an English Heritage VIP voucher, valid for all Northumberland sites for a year.

The council is running a photography competition to find the picture that best captures the event or one of its venues.

The winner will receive a Canon digital camera and the best pictures will be used by the council online, including on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Mr Walsh said: “We are really looking forward to seeing photos that show what residents feel is the very best about our county during the festival weekend.

“These could feature any of the attractions on offer, from the iconic castles or Hadrian’s Wall to one of the festival’s newer attractions such as Kielder Water and Forest Park.

“We are interested in anything that shows the exceptional tourism features on offer in our distinctive county.”

The residents’ festival runs on Saturday and Sunday.

Brochures containing full details and vouchers are available from libraries, council offices, tourist information centres, sports centres and some supermarkets. They can also be downloaded at http://residentsfestival.northumberland.gov.uk

To enter the photography competition upload your picture, details and location to www.facebook.com/NorthumberlandCC or email it to residentsfestival@gmail.com by midnight on Monday.