Five things to do this Saturday...

By Liz Wade in Events

IF you are not sure what to do today – Saturday, February 4 – then why not go to one of these events?

Snowdrops at Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum, Coggeshall:

Every year in February, a carpet of delicate, white, gently nodding snowdrops emerges at Marks Hall, in Coggeshall, Essex.

This spectacular yearly display, across the woodland floor in Robins Grove, includes three varieties of snowdrops; single, a small group of Galanthus Elwesii and the double snowdrop (Galanthus Nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’).

Other winter attractions include The Millennium Walk and its red stemmed dogwoods and Himalayan Birches, which provide wonderful reflections on the lake.

The gardens are open from Friday to Sunday, from 10am to 4pm each day, throughout February.

Normal garden admission prices apply and The Barn will be open offering a selection of light meals, sandwiches and homemade soup.

Visit www.markshall.org.uk/events/snowdrops/

Make a Walkie Talkie at Essex Police Museum, Chelmsford:

Every Saturday throughout February, call into the Essex Police Museum, at Essex Police Headquarters in Chelmsford, between 10am and 3.30pm and make your own police walkie talkie.

There is no need to book the event, which welcomes all ages and costs just £2.

Visit www2.essex.police.uk/museum/events/

Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens, Richmond:

A colourful celebration of India’s vibrant plants and culture opens today at Kew Gardens, in Richmond, Surry, and runs until March 5, 2017.

This year’s festival, which is inspired by the vibrant colours, culture and magnificent plant life of India, will feature giant floral displays including elephants and peacocks created from exotic foliage and tropical plants. See a beautiful traditional Indian marriage swing, a giant floral pond display marrying together tradition and modern culture and a giant Indian flag created from cut flowers.

You can also learn about the many beautiful orchid species growing across India and find out how plants are used in India and Indian culture in worship, medicine and everyday life.

Entry to the festival is included in normal garden admission prices.

Visit www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/whats-on/orchids

Photographic Exhibition at Fingringhoe Wick, Colchester:

A new exhibition of wildlife photographs will open at Essex Wildlife Trust’s Fingringhoe Wick Visitor Centre, in South Green Road, Fingringhoe, Colchester, today, from 9am.

The exhibition of work by local photographer, Darren Mulley, will remain at the centre until Saturday, March 4.

Visit www.essexwt.org.uk

Optics Day at Thurrock Thameside Nature Park:

An optics expert from Hawke will be on hand to offer advice during Thurrock Thameside Nature Park’s Optics Day today, from 10am to 3pm.

A range of binoculars and scopes will all be on display in the reserve’s visitor centre, in Stanford-le-Hope, so you can try before you buy.

The free event will be ideal for budding birdwatchers who do not know where to start, and for other looking to upgrade their optics.

There will also be a guided bird walk led by the reserve’s birding volunteers, which will be a great opportunity to try out any new purchase.

All profits go towards supporting Essex Wildlife Trust’s conservation work around the county.

Visit www.essexwt.org.uk

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