A POPULAR Essex venue is set to increase its opening hours for 2024 to give visitors more time to explore.

The Markshall Estate, near Coggeshall, will be opening longer in the coming year.

Coming into effect from this week, the extension will give visitors more opportunities to explore the 200-acre grounds, as well as more than 5,000 trees, play areas and stunning walled gardens.

Markshall first opened its doors to the public in 1993 after the charity’s establishment in 1971.

Since then, thousands of visitors of all ages have experienced the magic of walking through a world of trees.

For many years Markshall has opened on different winter and summer opening hours, with reduced opening in the winter.

But that changes this year, when it will be open Tuesday to Sunday all year round.

The site will also be open every bank holiday Monday and on Mondays during the Essex school holidays.

Chief executive Dave Finkle said: “Our visitors have been asking for more access to our arboretum, walled gardens, woodland walks, play area and café.

“We are delighted to meet this demand by opening three more days each week in 2024.”

This isn’t the only new change at Markshall, as new covered areas with outdoor seating will also start to appear, which will provide a place for dog owners and those who prefer being outdoors to sit and enjoy food and drinks under shelter.

Markshall has also announced the Orchard Kitchen Café will be closed Monday to Thursday, except on Bank Holidays and during school holidays.

Instead, Percy’s Pantry will make its way to the visitor centre where soup, snacks and drinks will be available on the days the Orchard Kitchen is closed.

The news comes after what Markshall says has been an “exciting year for the charity”.

Last year saw the new Percy’s Adventures half term ‘edutainment’ events, a new play area situated close to the admissions, and a busy year of other events and developments.

The walled gardens celebrated 20 years since they were re-opened and visitors can now explore the Himalayan foothills in the Asia geographic zone.

For more information, visit markshall.org.uk.