IT’S official! Colchester’s Castle Park is the best park in Britain.

A panel of judges has decided the Victorian park, opened in 1892, deserves to be named “Britain’s Best Park 2009”.

The park was awarded the title after beating competition from dozens of leading parks from across the country.

Mayor Henry Spyvee received a certificate and plague from Briggs & Stratton, a lawn mower manufacturer which has been running the competition since 2003.

Mr Spyvee said: “The park has been around for such a long time and adds so much to Colchester, so I am delighted it has received this title.

“I know a lot of hard work goes into making it such a lovely park all year round.”

Ian Baalham, Colchester Council’s parks and recreation officer, said: “We are lucky to have such a wonderful park, close to the town centre with something for all age groups.”

The park includes a play area, crazy golf and putting green, boating lake, cricket ground, cafe, riverside walks and Hollytrees Museum. Its traditional setting, high levels of maintenance and rich history particularly impressed the judges.

Graham Paskett, from Briggs & Stratton, said: “We had a shortlist of three parks and the vote for Castle Park was unanimous.”