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 fruit picking locations in England where the whole family (and individuals) 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, sprinkle atop cakes and boil into some scrummy jam.
Just so you know, farms will be operating slightly differently to how they normally do, and certain experiences and attractions may not be available for the time being. Make sure to check the farm’s website for booking information, crop availability and restrictions, so you’re in the know before you go.
Pick-your-own fruit locations: Lathcoats Farm
The family-run Lathcoats Farm is not only known for its English apples but for its pick-your-own fruit varieties. Most days between June and August you can stop by to fill a basket (or, to avoid waste, a container from home) with strawberries, plums or even cherries. There’s a playground and toy tractors for the youngest children, and you can also pay a visit to the resident farmyard animals, like goats, pigs and donkeys.
If you want to add a special touch to your visit, check out the farm’s Orchard Experience where you can sponsor an apple tree, help it grow and be help with the harvest in the Autumn. All the apples from that specific tree will be yours to keep and enjoy – an even better incentive for getting your kids to eat their fruit!
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 glorious sunshine (and knowing British summertime, we don’t know how long it’ll last) 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 punnet has been weighed and paid for, 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 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.
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 cooking and eating apples 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!
The 2020 pick-your-own season will start on Saturday 12th September.
Set in the scenic Derbyshire countryside, Scaddows Farm is a great spot for a day of family fruit picking. This hands-on activity not only gets your little ones out into nature, but is a fun way of 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!
Pick-your-own fruit locations: Essington Fruit Farm
Why fill your fridge with plastic packaging when you can pick fresh strawberries, blueberries, plums and even rhubarb at this West Midlands farm? Before you set off into the fields, you’ll have to pay a small deposit per picker (children under 3 go free!) which will be taken off the cost of your punnet after you’ve finished. Then you’re free to explore the 50 acres of crops, to hunt down the biggest, sweetest produce you can find! If you need to top up on the veggies, then at certain times of year you can also pick your own sweetcorn and courgettes.
If you fancy giving your little ones a challenge, then stop by the farm’s Plant Nursery to buy some herbs to grow at home.
The pick-your-own fields are currently closed. Keep an eye on their website for further updates and information.
Teach your little ones where their food comes from at Claremont Farm. A hit with families for over 40 years, the farm’s annual picking season runs from the middle of June until the end of July. From sweet strawberries to tart raspberries, you’ll go home with a mound of berries juicier than you’ll find in any supermarket.
If you pop by at the weekend, you can hitch a tractor ride over to the best picking spots. And while dogs aren’t allowed in amongst the crops, they’re more than welcome to roam the surrounding fields, making it an ideal day out for every member of the family.
Just so you know, Claremont Farm is closed for 2020, but will reopen again in 2021.