HELMSLEY Walled Garden has been named one of the prettiest in the country.

A report in The Times named the attraction in a list of the top gardens open to the public.

Other nominations included Wisley Garden in Surrey, Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire and Down House, the home of Charles Darwin in Kent.

Helmsley Walled Garden was described as having stunning, colourful borders behind tall garden walls.

"Full of rare plants that gardeners work hard to preserve and a lovely cafe serving fruit and veg grown in the gardens," the report added.

Built in 1759, Helmsley Walled Garden is a five acre garden sitting beneath the imposing ruins of Helmsley Castle. It provided the vegetables, fruit and flowers for the table of Duncombe Park until just after World War One when it was leased as market garden.

Tricia Harris, marketing manager, said the garden has been abandoned after it closed its doors for the final time in 1984, and fell into dereliction. "Restoration started in 1994 and since then the Garden has gone from strength to strength through the dedication and care of staff and volunteers," she added.

Tricia said they had been completely surprised to be names as one of the prettiest gardens in the UK.

"It is incredibly pleasing, especially as we are one of the smallest on the list and are up against some pretty big hitters including huge National Trust properties," she added.

"We didn't know anything about it so we are absolutely delighted, it was a wonderful surprise and will help put Helmsley Walled Garden firmly on the map."