Fruit-picking farms are a fun way to entertain big and little kids, unleash their competitive side and cram in some much-needed vitamins! Here are just a few locations in England offering everything from apple picking to pumpkin picking, where the whole family (and friends and couples) can get hands-on with harvesting their own fruit and vegetables.
When’s the best time of year to go fruit picking?
This depends on what’s in season. Strawberry picking usually kicks off in Early May and rounds off in July, while apple-picking season tends to be between September and October. Pumpkins are also popular throughout the Autumn months – especially as Halloween closes in!
What kind of fruit and vegetables can you pick?
While strawberries are the most common fruit to pick, you’ll usually find lots of other tasty treats on pick-your-own farms. From apples to gooseberries, rhubarb to blueberries and sweetcorn to courgettes, there’s plenty of produce to fill home-baked pies, throw into your dinners and boil into some scrummy jam.
With restrictions easing across England, please continue to follow government guidance and remember to plan ahead and check attraction websites before travelling. Take a look at our top tips on how to escape the everyday responsibly to see how you can make the most out of your day trips and breaks.
Pick-your-own fruit locations: Parkside Farm
Located conveniently close to the M25, and home to 50 acres of fields, award-winning Parkside Farm is certainly one of London’s best when it comes to pick-your-own fruit.
Instead of traipsing around a supermarket, why not make the most of the great outdoors and head out into the fields to pick, pick, pick to your heart’s content – or, at least, until you’ve filled your basket. There’s everything from blackberries to courgettes, juicy beetroots to table-top strawbs (meaning you don’t have to bend down!). And once you’re all stocked up, why not grab a pot of cream from the farm shop and head to nearby Trent Park for a leisurely picnic?
Pick-your-own fruit locations: The Balloon Tree Farm
From the first strawberries in spring to the last pumpkins in autumn, Yorkshire’s Balloon Tree Farm has plenty of pick-your-own produce. When you arrive, collect your punnets and follow the map to the best fields of the day, where blackcurrants, blueberries and even runner beans (depending on the season) are waiting to be plucked. As well as the traditional growing methods, the farm also grows table-top strawberries, to make picking easier for little legs.
After your time in the fields, settle down with a well-deserved drink at the farm’s café while the kids go wild in the play area – complete with a two-storey Wendy house, a mini digger and tractor.
Pick-your-own fruit locations: Crockford Bridge Farm
From rhubarb to beetroot, asparagus to carrots and strawberries to pumpkins, there are an array of different fruits and vegetables you can pick at this Surrey-based farm. Their main picking season runs from April to September and is a fantastic summer activity for all the family. You can reward your efforts with a scoop or two at the onsite ice cream parlour and, if you’ve been inspired to have a go at growing your own at home, pick up some seeds at the garden centre.
In the autumn, they’re known for their annual Pumpkin Festival, where lantern carvers big and small can get their hands on the perfect pumpkin for Halloween. There’s plenty of fun and games to take part in too, to make sure your visit is one to remember.
Pick-your-own fruit locations: West Bradley Orchards
Spend the day at a working orchard in Somerset, famous for its annual pick-your-own weekends each September. Enjoy a stroll through the orchard, picking different types of apples and pears straight from the tree to take home with you, and even have a go at turning the apples into juice at the farm’s milling press.
The peaceful surroundings also make for a lovely lunch spot, so don’t forget to pack a picnic!
Set in the scenic Derbyshire countryside, Scaddows Farm is a great spot for a day of family fruit picking. packing in some of their five-a-day! Bring your own container (or rent one from the farm) and head out into the fields to rummage for strawberries, raspberries or blackcurrants. And while the fruits are bound to be delicious, you’ll have to resist the temptation to tuck in while out in the fields. After they’ve been weighed and paid for, you can let the fruit feast begin!
After the main summer picking season, the farm closes its gates to prepare for its October Pick Your Own Pumpkin event. This hands-on activity not only gets your little ones out into nature but is a fun-filled way of choosing the right pumpkin for your spooky displays. Don’t forget your camera either, as the fields of orange spheres are perfect for posing for pictures.
Pick-your-own fruit locations: Windmill Animal Farm
Pull on some wellies and head over to Windmill Animal Farm this autumn. With over 20,000 pumpkins to choose from, the fields are a vibrant sea of orange that stretches in all directions. Take your time picking your perfect pumpkin before hauling your treasures back to the car in a wheelbarrow. As well as being great for sculpting scary faces, you could also use the flesh to whip up a sweet pumpkin pie or warming soup.
If you want to make a day of it, the farm has a maize maze to navigate, outdoor play areas for the kids and friendly farmyard animals who love a bit of attention. The rabbits and guinea pigs are a big hit too!
Go apple picking at this pick-your-own farm in Orpington, which also specialises in pears and a range of autumn veg. This charming spot is free to enter but you pay for what you pick, and with a lot of this produce, it lasts well into the winter – so stock up while you can! There’s everything from French beans to courgettes and peas, and a walk over to the orchard will lead you to plump, ripe Cox, Gala, Russet and Bramley apples, as well as Conference pears and quinces. Open every Tuesday to Saturday until the end of October, you have plenty of time to plan a visit.