Helmsley Walled Garden
Helmsley Walled Garden
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
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 1 when it was leased as market garden. Abandoned after it closed its doors for the final time in 1984, it 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. Visitors can now enjoy restored glasshouses full of colour, a double herbaceous Hot Border running the length of the Garden or sit and enjoy the tranquillity of the Garden of Contemplation. A Clematis Garden showcases over 100 different clematis varieties and in the vegetable patch, a new attraction is the edible flower garden, showing some of the flowers that can bring new colour and style to salads and other dishes. Vegetables and fruit from the Garden go into the delicious dishes prepared in the Vinehouse Cafe. Visitors sit beneath Victorian vine cultivars to enjoy soups, salads and open sandwiches as well as delicious cakes and desserts. The Plant Centre sells a wide selection of herbaceous perennials, some of which visitors will find on display in the Garden. Staff can help visitors with any questions about what might go well in their gardens. The Garden shop also sells a range of useful garden sundries such as gloves, string and seeds as well as gifts such as jams, chutneys and biscuits. Other items available include a range of heritage tools and garden artefacts. The Garden also works as a social enterprise, providing social and therapeutic horticulture to people with a wide range of difficulties and disabilities. Specialist therapists provide a structured environment for supported volunteers to gain skills and self-confidence whilst undertaking horticultural tasks in a safe environment. There is full wheelchair access to the Garden as well as the Cafe. Toilets and disabled toilets available Dogs are welcome on leads
Duration: 2-3 hours
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4.5
633 reviews
Excellent
362
Very good
164
Average
63
Poor
29
Terrible
15

Katrina H
London, UK9 contributions
Sep 2020
Went today for first time in a year due to lockdown. Sad to say that the stupid policy of the new marketing manager still holds so u can’t get an annual ticket anymore unless a Helmsley resident. Couldn’t even gift aid today’s ticket either. I used to visit at least 4-6 times a year on the annual ticket with my friend. We would eat at the cafe, trot about the smallish garden and then buy gifts or plants at the shop. Now it is unlikely we will go more than once a year if that, so the garden is losing out on our spending ..which was £25 in the cafe today. I usually buy plants etc so I guess they will now lose out on at least £100 in the cafe and at least that in the gift shop. Bonkers if u add that up as no doubt others have been put off too. It’s a nice little garden but too much was closed off today and neglected..I guess due to Covid and I had no idea if there was a one way system in the garden or not. Sadly I don’t think I will be going back this year at all. It used to be one of our fave days out.
Written September 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear Katrina, Thank you for your review and your thoughts on ticketing. I want to address your concerns point by point. We no longer offer the option where visitors could Gift Aid their admission cost and get free entry for a year. As a small charity dependent on income raised from visitor entry we simply could not sustain the offer and it was with sadness we had to withdraw it. We have a Helmsley residents pass for people within a six mile radius of Helmsley valid for a year they can purchase for £10.00. We also offer a Friends pass at £25.00 for one person and £50.00 for a couple which offers excellent value for anyone who likes to visit more than once a year. Additionally, this gives us vital support to maintain and develop the garden and support our volunteers, particularly those who for whatever reason may need some extra support. This has been a difficult year for us all. For the garden and its staff and volunteers it has meant a long period when none of us could be at the garden followed by a period when volunteers were slowly introduced back into the garden in all areas ensuring that all safety guidelines were met. For ticketing, I'm pleased to say we now have volunteers in our kiosk from Thursday through to Sunday and if you buy your ticket then you can Gift Aid it. It is not yet possible to Gift Aid any pre-booked tickets but our ticketing partner Candide is working to make that possible. They put the ticketing app together at very short notice to support small gardens such as ourselves and are for this difficult time not charging us anything for the service for which we thank them. If visitors come to The Vine House Cafe on a Wednesday, wish to visit the garden and have not pre-booked they can buy a ticket from the cafe but cannot Gift Aid. We are very grateful to Vine House staff for assisting visitors in this way. Incidentally, you may not be aware that The Vine House Cafe is a separate entity to the garden and their income is independent of ours. None of the garden is closed off. There is a one way system in place with coloured arrows to show visitors the way round. This is to assist our visitors in managing appropriate social distancing from others and to keep everyone safe. There is a lot going on in the garden currently. Staff went on furlough from March returning mid June. Volunteers, who do the vast majority of our maintenance work were able to return from the end of June and we are rightly proud of all that they have achieved since then. The vast majority of the garden has been brought back to a good standard. The areas that hadn't seen any work until recently were the Clematis Garden and a part of the Hot Border. Work has started on both areas now which you may have seen during your visit yesterday. I hope you will return to see how much everyone's hard work is achieving. Best wishes, Tricia Harris marketing and communications manager
Written September 10, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Laura T
Middlesbrough, UK6,983 contributions
Apr 2022
We visited the gardens end of April and unfortunately they were still quite bare. There were a couple of really lovely flower beds, but on the whole the gardens were rather stark (see photos).

Looking at other reviews / photos, we must of visited at the wrong time of year, so will probably try to visit again over the summer months one year when there would be more to see. I was glad I had my Gardener's World 2-4-1 magazine coupon as otherwise at £9 each it is rather pricey, especially as you can only really spend around 1 hour here.

A useful paper map is given out when you buy your tickets.

I have reviewed the Vine House Cafe at the Walled Gardens separately and unfortunately can only give 2*. A lovely setting to sit for a drink but completely messed up our order, which meant I sat for 45 minutes while my friends ate before we could go somewhere to find food for me too (thankful for Thomas The Bakers on highstreet!), when we would obviously have preferred to all eat together.
Written May 6, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Laura, First of all thanks so much for visiting and for taking the time to write a thoughtful review. Respectfully I would say that there is plenty to look at in April but yes, the Kitchen Garden area is pretty bare as we don't start transplanting vegetable seedlings till late April, early May. It is just too cold. That area has more in now but won't look really full until late June. If you want a garden really fizzing with colour, you do need to come back in late July as that is when the Hot Border is really getting going, the Kitchen Garden is full and all the trees are in fruit. In spring, it is all about the bulbs and spring flowers. So the Long Border and the orchard will be full of daffodils and tulips, followed by fritillarias and Camassia. Blossom on the fruit trees, early flowering clematis and new growth throughout the garden bring colour and life, it's just not quite so full on as summer. Do come back and visit later in the year, I think you will find you can spend longer than an hour. Bring a book and laze under the trees, or bring friends and a picnic. Spend time relaxing and soak up the peace of this very special garden. We hope to see you again soon. All best wishes, Tricia Harris, marketing and communications manager
Written May 15, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kevin L
Bournemouth17 contributions
Jul 2021
The whole place is inspirational and the backdrop of the castle only adds to its beauty. I came with my parents back in the mid to late nineties shortly after work started on the restoration. All the hard work over these years has paid off and it is credit to you all. I would recommend it to everyone.
Written July 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Kevin thank you so much for this wonderful review, it really means a lot. I cannot say enough good things about all our volunteers who look after the garden. There are no full-time gardening staff so the bulk of the work is done by our volunteer team. We continue to work to the objectives set at the beginning of providing therapeutic horticulture opportunities, promoting the mental and physical benefits of gardening and maintaining and developing the garden. Everyone who works here benefits and as indeed does everyone who visits. It is hard work but getting feedback like yours puts a spring in our collective step. Thanks for taking the time to review your visit and I hope you'll be able to visit again soon. All best wishes, Tricia Harris, marketing and communications manager
Written July 11, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Terry E
York, UK333 contributions
Aug 2023 • Couples
We visited on a lovely day, after all the rain recently and were somewhat disappointed. There are some lovely plant combinations but some of the colour combinations in long borders were garish. The overall feel of the garden was that it was getting away from the valiant gardeners. Might have been after all the rain but it was not well maintained in some areas. Deadheading and pruning were lacking. It is quite compact and at £9 each to enter, had we not been on an RHS free entry day, we would have considered it poor value for money. Also the attached cafe was struggling with staff shortages. As a local, unlikely to revisit. Supposed national collection of pelargoniums was laughable. We have more on our patio! Sorry.
Written August 10, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hello Thank you for your feedback. We're sorry to hear that you're disappointed. It could be said that design is subjective and the central long border is titled Hot Border because of the colours chosen. We have had wonderful comments on that section of the garden but of course, can appreciate that it won't appeal to everyone, and that's okay! We don't tend to be too rigorous with pruning at this time of year as we would like the garden to feed the birds and wildlife into the winter. Our garden is wholly maintained by garden volunteers whose work is coordinated on a weekly basis - we focus on specific areas of the garden at any time. This can be made more difficult with unpredictable weather as we have had this year and we take onboard your comments that some small areas need attention. The Orchid House is brimming with pelargoniums so you must have an awful lot on your patio. We're sorry you feel it's too expensive even though you took up our RHS-partner garden offer of free entry, but we have undertaken a very recent price review of other comparable gardens through-out our area and we're comfortable that we offer good-value-for money and that our 5acre Walled Garden gives plenty to explore.
Written August 11, 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

DavidandGeraldine
Skipton, UK56 contributions
Oct 2020
I read a TA review shortly before going to Helmsley Walled Garden where the reviewer said she was a little underwhelmed by her visit so I was preparing to be disappointed. But how wrong could I be?!! I was totally overwhelmed. Even in the depth of October there were Sweet Peas in full flower and the place was awash with colour. The one way enforced Covid route meant we didn't miss a corner of this wonderful, relaxing garden. How we have missed this destination on our trips through Hemsley I do not know - but it will certainly be rectified - and it is on our calendar for another visit very soon. There is an excellent cafe run by young, courteous staff and it was enjoyable chatting to the volunteers doing the spadework! An altogether wonderful visit.
Written October 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear and Geraldine, Thank you so much for this lovely review and glad you appreciated the one-way system along with all the colour in the garden. We are working hard to make sure there is as much colour as possible for as long as possible year round. You might be interested to know that the garden, the garden shop and The Vine House Café will all be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from November 5th until December 19th. Thank you for visiting, your support is really important to us. Hope you'll be able to visit again soon. All best wishes, Tricia Harris, marketing and communications manager
Written October 21, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Diane S
York, UK4 contributions
Jul 2022
We visited the garden for the first time on Wednesday 27th July, 2022, and we were cross with ourselves that it had taken so long as we live quite close by. It is a truly loved and cared for garden. There are classical borders and themed plantings together with ‘community plots’ where member can grow their own food. Despite the present drought , which is decimating our own Yorkshire garden, Helmsley had lots of variations and vibrancy. Run by volunteers it is a triumph in its own right and a tribute to the community. Plants are clearly labelled so favourites can be identified and the volunteers are helpful and friendly. The cafe is well-organised, serving light lunches, snacks and homemade cakes. A thoroughly excellent experience.
Written July 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hello there, I am blown away by your generous review of the garden. Thanks you so much for letting us know how much you enjoyed the garden. It has been really tough with the prolonged drought and incredibly high temperatures we have seen in July. I can't tell you how fervently we pray for rain, but it's not looking good for August just at the moment. It is very much a cared for and loved garden. We were on a cliff edge during the first lockdown and feared we might close for good. We launched a fundraiser to help us stay afloat and raised the £50,000 we needed. I was astounded and humbled and completely overwhelmed as I did not until that moment realise just how much the garden meant to people. We feel that the garden cares for us as much as we care for the garden. That may sound a bit fey but in terms of therapeutic horticulture, that's exactly what it does. Working with nature, as part of a team in a secure and supportive environment benefits us all. We are a resource for the community of Helmsley but we know that all our visitors benefit from spending time in a beautiful green space. The Vine House Café's food is delicious (I know ) and the perfect accompaniment to a day at the garden. I will be passing on your compliments. I hope you'll be able to visit again and see how the garden continues to develop. Several areas are currently benefiting from replanting and in the autumn we will be lifting and dividing some of the bigger clumps of perennials in the Hot Border. If you live within a six mile radius of Helmsley you will qualify for a residents pass. It costs £10.00 and gives you unlimited visits for a year. Whatever you decide, I hope we will see you again in the garden soon. All best wishes, Tricia Harris, marketing and communications manager
Written August 5, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

JeffB64CPR
Derby, UK269 contributions
Aug 2021
The garden had the appearance of a site that had suffered a little due to the pandemic, with some gaps in borders etc, but was still a very worthwhile visit. The setting, with the backdrop of the Castle, is picturesque; there are some very lovely areas in the garden, notably the entrance area adjacent to the cafe, and the cut-flower area. Definitely one to come to again. Cafe food very good - lovely cake!
Written September 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear Jeff, Thank you for visiting and for taking the time to review us. We do have some gaps in the borders it is fair to say as we are in the middle of a massive overhaul of many areas which (as you so rightly surmised) took a pasting when we were locked down and unable to come to work. The garden is maintained almost entirely by volunteers who are tireless in their efforts to keep the garden beautiful. We are still playing a little bit of catch up as far as the planting goes as we don't have a bottomless plant buying budget, more's the pity. But thanks to you and all our lovely visitors, we will have more money to spend on plants. We are almost entirely funded by the revenue raised by visitor admissions and if I tell you it costs £11,000 a month just to stand still, you get some idea of how much we have to raise to keep ourselves in business. I really hope you will be able to visit again to see the progress we are making. We are working on extending the seasonal colour at either end of the year, brining the Long Border back into its full glory and (what I will be doing next), creating a wild flower area at the bottom of the garden to showcase some of Britain's beautiful wild flowers. In the meantime, thank you again. All best wishes, Tricia Harris, marketing and communications manager
Written September 18, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Mike O
Scarborough, UK32 contributions
May 2021
It was probably a bit early in the year when we visited. The volunteers are still working hard to to bring the garden back to its pre-covid state. We will go back in a month or so's time when more plants will be in flower. Just one suggestion. It would be useful if you could label the plants so that we can take ideas back to our own gardens.
Written May 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear Mike, Thanks so much for your review. I would say in a normal year (something that is becoming increasingly difficult to find) we would have more flowers to see in May. However, this year we have had a prolonged and unseasonal cold spell and so everything is behind. I hope you have made subsequent visits to see how the garden has come on since the weather got warmer. The Hot Border has yet to com into it's full glory but it is filling up and the dahlias are beginning to flower. It's all very exciting. On the subject of labels, it is our intention to label all the fruit trees, clematis and irises. As I write, I have a bundle of labels to go out around the community plots to label all the trees in the Yorkshire collection. We have no plans to label plants. Like Christopher Lloyd, I feel that too many labels gives a garden a rather funereal aspect, too much like little headstones. But we are always glad to help and to give inspiration and ideas to visitors so what I would say is take a picture and then show it to one of the volunteers or staff in the garden; they will always be ready to help with identification. Thanks for all your visits and your support. All best wishes, Tricia Harris, marketing and communications manager
Written July 4, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Brecken76
189 contributions
Apr 2022 • Couples
Beautiful, peaceful garden run by volunteers I think. We’d parked in the town Cleveland Way Car Park but The Walked Garden does have some parking which is useful for anyone with mobility issues. We don’t, so were happy to have made the pleasant very short walk from the car park. There are lots of different garden sections, loads of seats and a variety of interesting plants and small trees to admire. We enjoyed the sculpture exhibition spread around the garden and the backdrop of Helmsley Castle. Thank you Helmsley Walled Garden for your hard work. I can’t comment on the cafe as we didn’t use it but it looked to be very popular.
Written April 23, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear Brecken, Thanks for your lovely review. You are absolutely right, the garden is maintained entirely by volunteers and its beauty is entirely due to their hard work. I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit and hope you'll bee able to visit again, maybe later in the year to enjoy the summer display. The Hot Border really gets into its stride from the end of July onwards. We are also hard at work developing some areas such as the Physic Garden and the White Garden. So I hope you'll be able tor return and enjoy a further visit. All best wishes, Tricia Harris, marketing and communications manager
Written April 24, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

EESW1
Lincolnshire, UK4,570 contributions
Jun 2021
This was the kitchen garden for Duncombe Park, and built well away from the house where it wouldn’t intrude upon the carefully landscaped parkland. It is a lovely setting beneath the castle ruins, and this is one of the best views of the castle.

The garden is designed as a series of gardens forming the four quarters of a square with a small ornamental pond at the centre. (Don't get excited about the pond in the chicken enclosure - it is a tiny rectangle...)

The borders leading to the pond featured massive globular purple Alliums and looked stunning. The short Laburnum arch had begun to flower but needed another week to be seen at its best. The wild flower area around the orchard is delightful.

The vegetable garden was only just starting to grow and will be very impressive later in teh year.

There are plenty of seats to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Written June 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Ah thank you so much for this generous review. I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit and clearly explored everywhere. I can't remember now if the latest pond was dug out when you visited but we do have an even newer pond than the one for the ducks. Right at the bottom of the garden, just beyond the chicken enclosure is our new wildlife pond. It's just starting to settle as aquatic and marginal planting is helping the water to clear. It will be surrounded by wild flowers in a newly designed part of the garden called the nature garden. The planting is tiny and it is currently tricky to weed as one needs to know what to weed and what to keep. Fortunately for us, our volunteers thrive on learning and are always ready to throw themselves into new tasks. The Kitchen Garden is looking fabulous, the alliums are over but the euphorbias, peonies, clematis and roses are thriving and I hope you'll be able to visit again to see them. Thanks for visiting and supporting us. With all good wishes, Tricia Harris, marketing and communications manager
Written July 4, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Helmsley Walled Garden - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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