A FESTIVAL celebrating the role residents play in rising tourism in Cheshire returns this summer, with tickets on sale today, Thursday.

Last year's Residents' Festival was a sell-out, with free tickets on offer to explore many of the county's top attractions.

This year, the offer includes the Peaky Blinders 'home' at Arley Hall, and the 'Cathedral of the Canals' Anderton Boat Lift.

The number of festival tickets will vary according to the attraction and everyone applying must have either a Cheshire or Warrington postcode.

Free ticket vouchers can be downloaded on Thursday, March 14 at 10am with more tickets being released on Thursday, March 21 at 10am.

Latest figures show the county welcomed more than 64 million visitors and tourism employed over 36,000 people. Cheshire’s tourist trade has soared by more than 75 per cent since 2010.

This comes on the back of data recently published by the Office of National Statistics which showed that Cheshire and Warrington’s economy grew faster than anywhere in England.

Mark Livesey, chief executive of Marketing Cheshire, said: “Cheshire and Warrington has a glittering array of tourist attractions and we want to thank local residents, who provide such a warm welcome to our visitors from home and abroad, the chance to experience many of them for free.

"We warmly invite our communities to come and join in the fun and take pride in the attractions on our doorstep.”

Many of Cheshire’s famous gardens will be open, such as Capesthorne Hall and Tatton Park, with Jodrell Bank, Port Sunlight Museum and Tarporley’s Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre all open.

Esther McVey, MP for Tatton, said: “I am delighted to be part of this launching this innovative Residents’ Festival.

"Tourism is a very important and valuable part of Cheshire’s economy and the county is fortunate to have a wealth of talented, hard-working people running its attractions, who are investing time and energy in generating prosperity for everyone.”