We don’t often have guest blog pieces but I wanted to make an exception for this one. Sophie and Adam of the website We Dream of Travel came to the garden as part of their research for things to do in York and beyond. They loved the garden and were happy for me to share this part of their blog. Enjoy.
A Day Trip to Helmsley Gardens from York
As one of the prettiest villages in England, we knew when we planned our recent trip to York that we had to take a day trip to visit Helmsley. But, we were surprised to discover there was so much to do in this quaint little village – we immediately booked in to visit Helmsley Castle, Helmsley Walled Gardens and the National Bird of Prey Centre. What we hadn’t expected was that Helmsley Walled Gardens would become not just the highlight of our day trip, but one of our favourite places on our entire trip to York.
As we entered the gardens, we were immediately immersed in a sea of colour against the magical backdrop of castle ruins. The views of Helmsley Castle from the gardens are by far the best available, and if you’re short on time I’d recommend skipping the castle and heading straight to the gardens. I never thought I’d be advocating for walled gardens over a castle, but Helmsley Walled Gardens are truly one of a kind.
A stroll through these enchanted grounds felt like stepping into a fairy-tale or secret garden. Visiting on a grey day just further enhanced the vibrancy of the flowers juxtaposed against the medieval ruins of Helmsley Castle and slate coloured skies. The occasional wheelbarrow, watering can and trowel scattered about signalled to the immense work put into maintaining this beautiful facility. They also served as useful props for multiple photo ops!
What impressed us most about Helmsley Walled Gardens was not the grounds, but the staff. We were fortunate enough to meet Tricia, one of the two full-time employed gardeners. From the moment we met Tricia, it felt like we had been reunited with an old friend. Not only was she incredibly welcoming, but her passion for the gardens and the charity work they do their was palpable and contagious.
What we hadn’t known prior to our visit is that Helmsley Walled Gardens is so much more than just a pretty place to explore. Their work to support disadvantaged adults with mental health issues through therapeutic horticulture is absolutely inspiring. Through their community program, they allow people with mental and physical disabilities the opportunity to develop skills and improve their health through gardening.
This is another huge reason to add Helmsley Walled Gardens to your list of things to do in York! As a registered charity, they rely heavily on money from visitors and donations to keep the gardens maintained. This means that by visiting the gardens, you not only get to explore a magical corner of Yorkshire, but you can also feel good about supporting a great cause.
Written by Sophie Clapton from We Dream of Travel; a site dedicated to providing travel guides and inspiration through powerful imagery.