WORCESTER'S High Street has been named among the best in Britain - with its buzzing shops leaving other destinations trailing in its wake.

The city has outshone 85 per cent of the country in the Great British High Street competition, which celebrates the work being done to revive, adapt and diversify them.

Worcester came fifth in the town centre category, narrowly missing out on a major public vote of three High Streets to decide an overall winner.

The city has been praised by a Government minister, who pointed to it as an example for the rest of the UK after sifting through a record 900 entries across 14 categories.

It comes with voids low, footfall busy and a huge buzz being created around the £20 million Cathedral Square development.

There is also an ongoing project to try and turn more empty upper shop floors in Worcester into apartments, to make the city centre even more attractive in the long-run.

High Streets minister Andrew Percy said: "Worcester demonstrated many of the things we were looking for - a commitment to revitalising the High Street as a unique place for living, working and shopping."

Worcester's Business Improvement District (BID) has also welcomed the ranking.

Adrian Field, from Worcester BID, said: "The way so many businesses have come together in force to repel the threat of an out-of-town retail park planning application, the installation of floral planters, our mystery shopping programme and subsequent awards night and follow up training, new markets and increasing numbers of users of our anti-crime radios and online campaigns have been some of the ways in which we have been judged in the top five.

"We're delighted yet determined to do even better next year."

Worcester City Council's Labour leadership says the rating is welcome vindication for the High Street.

Cllr Geoff Williams, cabinet member for economic prosperity and growth, said: "Our city centre is extremely popular with shoppers and tourists, and will be boosted in coming months with the opening of the revamped Cathedral Square.

"I want to thank the traders, businesses, Worcester BID, the city council's staff and everyone who contributes to the ongoing work to enhance our city centre."

Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire finished in first place, with Worcester coming just behind Blackburn in Lancashire, Banbury in Oxfordshire and Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales in the top five.

The top three will now be put to a public vote to cap an overall winner, which will get a funding pot worth £100,000, expert Google training in online marketing and a trip to the UK headquarters of Twitter to boost trader's social media skills.