Pumpkin picking, a somewhat American concept, has really taken off in the UK for Halloween, with patches and pick your own farms springing up all over the place. As far as we know, there's nowhere in London where you can pluck your own pumpkin (if you know differently, get in touch). Instead, here are some PYO farms and pumpkin patches surrounding London that are opening their gates to pumpkin pickers for Halloween 2019.
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 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, after last year's inaugural opening. Head to the field to select and pick your own pumpkin on selected weekends, or take home a ready-picked one (lazy) throughout October. They'll also let you carve your pumpkin in the patch during the Pumpkin Festival, to save you making a mess on your kitchen table (but cannot provide sharp knives).
There's an ice cream parlour and tea shack on site, plus a play area, slides and treehouse for letting off steam.
Crockford Bridge Farm, Weybridge Surrey, KT15 2BU.
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. It's 23-27 October this year, with pumpkin picking, face painting, a fancy dress competition and food and drink on offer.
Pierson Agriculture at Four Winds Farm, Penshurst Road, Bidborough.
Pick your own pumpkins at Secretts, Surrey
30,000 pumpkins grown from 12,000 plants form the centrepiece of Pumpkin Week at this Surrey farm and farm shop. Take a tractor ride out to the pumpkin field to pick your goodies, then let the kids play in the tractor and haystack play areas, or get their faces painted.
There's also a special pumpkin refreshment menu available with pumpkin curries, soups and cakes, as well as hot and cold drinks.
2019 Pumpkin week runs from 26-31 October — keep an eye on the website for more details. Entry fee is £2, and includes a tractor ride out to the fields.
Secretts, Hurst Farm, Chapel Lane, Milford, Surrey, GUB 5HU.
Pumpkin picking at Priory Farm, Redhill, Surrey
Take a tractor ride out to Priory Farm's pumpkin field and choose your Halloween table topper, on selected dated in October. Closer to Halloween, other events take place at the farm, including a spooky trail, and a pumpkin carving experience in a witches' cave. 2019 details here.
Priory Farm, Sandy Lane, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 4EJ.
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 by growing them for wholesale, before deciding to let the public pick their own. Ready picked pumpkins are available. There's also a corn maze on site (£3 per person), plus pumpkin games including a tug of war, welly wangling and a scavenger hunt. Might be worth booking a whole day out of half term for this one.
Foxes Farm, Green Lane, Aldham, Colchester, CO6 3PR, and Watch House Farm, Wash Road, Basildon, SS25 4ER. Free entry to the fields, just pay for the pumpkins you pick (cash only). From 28 September 2019, then every weekend until 19 October, then every day until 31 October 2019.
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 several 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 usually plenty of other Halloween activities, including a maize maze (extra charge), crafts, and face painting. Refreshments and a farm shop are available on site too.
Cammas Hall Farm, Needham Green, near Bishop's Stortford, Hertforshire, CM22 7JT
Pumpkin picking at Nathan's Farm, Chalfont St Giles
Thanks to Londonist reader Petra who tipped us off about Nathan's Farm, a livestock farm in Chalfont St Giles which also offers pumpkin picking. It's the closest pumpkin patch we know of to central London, and the closest one to a tube line (Chalfont & Latimer is approximately a 10-minute taxi ride away). Currently, pumpkin picking is being advertised for half term week (19-31 October 2019). There's an entry fee of £5 per car, and an additional charge for the pumpkins, and activities including pumpkin carving.
Nathan's Farm, Chalfont Road, Chalfont St Giles, Bucks, HP8 4BT.