Organisers hope Bowood will attract a record number of visitors this year after winning a national award recognising its horticultural and public appeal.

The estate near Calne already attracts 120,000 visitors every year, and has now been named Garden of the Year by friends of the Historic Houses Association.

Visitors can enjoy more than 100 acres of gardens and grounds as well as the rhododendron walks, which are now in full bloom and will be open until the end of the flowering season in mid-June.

The award is sponsored by Christie’s in association with the Historic Houses Association and key figures from both organisations visited Bowood to present the award on May 14.

Charles Cator, deputy chairman of Christie’s Inter- national, said he hoped the award would encourage more people to take time out to visit Bowood. He said: “The superb gardens are a testimony to great care, passion and dedication of Lord and Lady Lansdowne in nurturing this sublime setting.”