Lord Lansdowne has thanked visitors and staff after the gardens of Bowood House won the 2014 Garden of the Year Award.

This national award is designed to recognise the importance of gardens with outstanding horticultural and public appeal, either in their own right or as the setting for a historic house.

The Marquis of Lansdowne said: “There are few accolades which could be more rewarding for all of us at Bowood.

"To know this award has been adjudicated solely by our visiting public, says it all.

"So 'thank you' to our visitors and congratulations to our dedicated staff. Bowood continues to evolve.

"Each generation leaving their legacy, reflecting both fashion and social change.

"Today, Bowood gives pleasure to thousands and employment to many.”

Charles Cator, deputy chairman of Christie’s International, said: “Christie’s is delighted to sponsor the Garden of the Year Award in association with the Historic Houses Association.

"It is particularly exciting that the superb gardens at Bowood should have won the 2014 HHA/Christie’s Garden of the Year Award as they are a testimony to great care, passion and dedication of Lord and Lady Lansdowne in nurturing and continually enhancing this sublime setting, which is enjoyed by so many visitors each year.

"We hope this award encourages even more people to discover the extraordinary magic of Bowood.”

And Richard Compton, president of the Historic Houses Association said: “The beautiful gardens at Bowood House, surrounded by 'Capability' Brown's sublime park have been enjoyed by many thousands of people since they were opened to the public in 1975.

"The enormous amount of work and skill put into their immaculate presentation by Lord and Lady Lansdowne and their team of dedicated gardeners pays off handsomely as all visitors can see for themselves.

"The famous Rhododendron Walks are an added bonus when, in May, they present us with a blaze of colour to enjoy.

"I am delighted that Bowood has won the 2014 HHA/Christie's Garden of the Year Award and congratulate Lord and Lady Lansdowne and all those involved in the care and upkeep of these magnificent gardens.”

More than 30 hybrid rhododendrons - dating from the 1850s - were unearthed by Dr Mike Robinson, of the Royal Horticulturalist Society, at Bowood in 2006 having been thought to be extinct.