Pumpkin picking, a somewhat American concept, has really taken off in the UK during October/Halloween, with patches and pick your own farms springing up all over the place. Here are some PYO farms and pumpkin patches near London that are opening their gates to pumpkin pickers this year.
Due to the rural nature of these farms, you're probably going to need a car to get to most of them... and wellies.
Pumpkin patch at Cammas Hall Farm, Hertfordshire
Cammas Hall is a pick your own farm with a steady stream of crops all summer. But when the soft fruits are over, it's pumpkin time. There are 60 varieties available to pick here, including the knobbly Knucklehead, and the more unusual white Snowman pumpkin. Either harvest your own from the field, or choose from the ready picked pumpkin patch.
There are other Halloween activities, including a terror tunnel and a maize maze (extra charge), and refreshments and a farm shop are available on site.
Cammas Hall Farm, Needham Green, near Bishop's Stortford, Hertforshire, CM22 7JT. Advance booking required. 30 September-29 October 2023.
Pumpkin picking at Crockford Bridge Farm, Surrey
The first pumpkin patch at this Surrey farm opened more than 15 years ago, and it's getting increasingly popular. This year, the pumpkin fields open to the public again on selected days, 30 September-15 October, when you can head to the field pick your own gourd. Alternatively, from 17 October, you can take home a ready-picked one (lazy) from the Pumpkin Market, and if you're a huge fan of orange gourds, there's a whole Pumpkin Festival in the latter half of the month, with carving, fancy dress, and other entertainment.
Pumpkin picking at Beck Evans Farm, Sidcup, Kent
Slap-bang on the London-Kent border, Beck Evans Farm is a family-run establishment offering seasonal events throughout the year. At Halloween, that means pumpkin picking from the farm's own patch, a dinosaur-shaped maize maze, and the Cauldron Artisan Market on selected dates at the end of the month. All sounds like hungry work, so don't forget to swing by the on-site Penelope's Restaurant, which'll be serving up seasonal dishes including pumpkin soup.
Pumpkin picking at Beck Evans Farm, Water Lane, Sidcup, DA14 5ET. Pumpkin picking open 1 October-1 November 2023.
PYO pumpkins at Foxes Farm, Basildon and Colchester, Essex
Foxes Farm has two pumpkin patches in Essex, located close to Basildon and Colchester. They started out by growing them for wholesale, before deciding to let the public get in on the picking action. Ready picked pumpkins are available too, but for an extra-special experience, book for Pumpkin Patch Nights at the Colchester location. It's an opportunity to pick pumpkins and navigate the corn maze (watch out for roaming actors!) as darkness descends, with other seasonal entertainment thrown in.
Foxes Farm, Green Lane, Aldham, Colchester, CO6 3PR, and Watch House Farm, Wash Road, Basildon, SS25 4ER. Advance booking required. 7-28 October 2023.
Pumpkin picking at Priory Farm, Redhill, Surrey
Take a tractor ride out to Priory Farm's pumpkin field on selected dates in October, to scour out your perfect pumpkin, then pluck your own gourd from the ground. New for 2023 is a Park and Pick experience, where you can travel in your own car close to the field, then get out and pick your pumpkin — but really, why would you turn down a tractor ride?
Closer to Halloween, other events take place at the farm, including a spooky trail and a hay bale maze.
Halloween on the Priory Farm Estate, Sandy Lane, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 4EJ. Pumpkin picking 7-29 October 2023.
Pumpkin picking at Four Winds Farm, Bidborough, Kent
This small, family-fun farm near Tonbridge in Kent offers all the seasonal goodness you could want — Christmas trees at Christmas, lambing weekends in spring, and of course, pumpkin picking in October. This year, the Country Pumpkins PYO runs half term week, with a variety of pumpkin sizes and colours to pick (wheelbarrows available if you're going XL), as well as a scarecrow trail and face painting.
Pumpkin Week 2023 at Secretts, Surrey
100,000 pumpkins spanning 11 different varieties form the centrepiece of Pumpkin Week at this Surrey farm and farm shop.
Pumpkin picking runs over half term week, when you can pick your own pumpkins from the field. There's also a fancy dress competition and scavenger hunt for kids, and a pumpkin-centric menu at the cafe.
Pumpkin Week 2023 at Secretts, Hurst Farm, Chapel Lane, Milford, Surrey, GUB 5HU. Advance booking required. 21-29 October 2023.
Not so keen on the countryside? Come out in hives if you go beyond zone 6? Don't even own a pair of wellies? Fear not! Cowcross Yards in Farringdon is hosting an urban pumpkin patch on 25-26 October 2023, where you can select your own mini gourd, and customise it with help from a graffiti artist.