TWO Southampton parks have been awarded international gongs, recognising them as among the best in the world.

St James Park in Shirley, and Riverside Park have been honoured by the Green Flag Award Scheme.

They now join other green spaces awarded recognition in the city.

The parks are among a record-breaking 1,883 UK spots that have received the prestigious award – the mark of a quality park or green space.

This international prize, now into its third decade, is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.

The city council says both parks are unique in character, but are similar in having fantastic community-led friends groups at the heart of their management.

Cllr Jacqui Rayment said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive a Green Flag Award for our parks.

“We know how much quality green spaces matter to residents and visitors, and this award celebrates the dedication that goes into maintaining both St James and Riverside Parks to such a high standard.”

International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: “We are delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme, with more Green Flags awarded this year than last year.”

“Each flag honours the thousands of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.

“We are proud to have so many wonderful green spaces in the UK for people to enjoy, and hope that next year, we award even more flags.”