OSCAR winner Helen Mirren dropped in to RHS Hyde Hall to talk to staff and explore the gardens.

The actress, who grew up in Leigh, visited the Royal Horticultural Society's gardens on the outskirts of Chelmsford for a day out.

The Hollywood star is a keen gardener and a regular visitor to the Chelsea Flower Show, but came back to her roots to visit Essex.

She stopped for a lunch in the restaurant and chatted to gardening staff about keeping the site blooming all year round.