Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Pumpkin Patches in the UK

 When you think of a Pumpkin Patch, you might think of America and their fall traditions and their ability to go full out for every holiday. Well turns out Britain wants in on some of the action and now it seems quite easy to make these new traditions with your family. 

I have cousins in California and I've always been jealous of all the fun traditions they have for the holidays and taking their kids to see amazing Santa Claus or the easter bunny or going to the pumpkin patch. I'm all about making memories with my kids, I want them to talk fondly of their childhood when they are adults and be able to do the same traditions with their kids (although maybe a lot less photos involved because they will be sworn off cameras by this time!)

When Logan was two years old (Nov 2015) I managed to find a farm that had a pumpkin patch event. I got my mum and Auntie + cousin involved and suggested we all go. 

The farm was called Marsh Farm and it started our love affair with the place for its themed events, especially Christmas (I'll write more about that later).

I dressed Logan up in his skeleton onesie and some halloween headgear and we had a great time on the farm and then went to pick out a pumpkin on their field and take it home. 

We had a really amazing day and lots of fun but I couldn't help feel it wasn't the American Dream I had expected it to be. 

(I can't get over how tiny he looks on this photo!) - I also remember how hard it was to get this photo.

So the next year (2016) I set out to find another local pumpkin patch we could try out. I found two, an hour drive in either direction from us. I browsed different photos online and decided on Undley Farm Pumpkin Patch

What I fell in love with about this location was that the sea of orange looked amazing and it had a natural feel about it being in the middle of nowhere. All the pumpkins looked great quality and it was free entry too!

See what I mean about that sea of orange? Logan (3 at the time) was amazed! He loved that he could walk through them all and we had a wheelbarrow and we must have swapped the 3 we wanted about 10 times but he was loving it.

He took his role very seriously and was scouting out the best pumpkins. It's right next to the air base and so we were surrounded by American's to bring that true American experience to us! 

We also got one of my favourite all time photos of me, Logi and Evie bump! 

I know a lot of people local to me (Suffolk) went and visited the same pumpkin patch shortly after we did! It's open from the 30th September to the end of October, so you still have plenty of time to visit! 

We went back this year and clearly they did well last year as so many improvements had been made for this year. The space the pumpkins were in was about 5 times bigger and the maize maze was huge!

They had to give you a map this year to make it round and even then it took us 45 mins - 1 hour! It didn't help that Logan seems to lose his ability to walk as soon as we enter any maze.

The maze was lots of fun, they give you a sheet with multiple choose answers and the aim is to find the boards with the information to help you answer your question. An added feature this year was you could 'stamp' your answers. Anyone who has been anywhere with a young child knows it's double the fun if there is a stamp involved!

We had lots of fun together in the maze and we let Logan choose some of the directions and that boy loves being 'in charge'. Evie slept in her pram, I think the gentle noise of the corn swaying sent her off! 

This year they had the pre picked pumpkins all together at the front of the field and then lots of field space to pick pumpkins off the vine. Some of these pumpkins were HUGE! I think the cost of the largest size pumpkin was £6. They also had crates of white and grey pumpkins(great for any Insta home) and also 5 for £2 of little unique pumpkins in all sorts of colours.

As you can see there are some really funky (does anyone still use that word?!) pumpkins! I picked up 10 of these in various sizes. 

A highlight of the kids fun was getting to sit in the wheelbarrow for a photo! I noticed lots of kids having fun being pushed about in the wheelbarrows by their parents. Evie was amazed with everything that I don't think she looked up once. I was happy with this photo though for my kids at the pumpkin patch shot!

Logan had lots of fun picking pumpkins out to put in front of Evie. The straw had her attention a bit more, but overall I think she enjoyed her first experience. 

I think this patch will always be our family tradition to visit in October. Logan had been talking about it all week before we visited on the Saturday. There was lots of other things to do there as well. They had a bouncy castle for the under 5s, a huge bouncy castle for the over 5s and a bouncy game for the over 11s. They were all reasonably priced at £2 for 10 minutes. 

There was a craft tent with stalls selling beautiful halloween goods and chocolate treats. There was a craft table at the end for kids to decorate their own witches hats or crave pumpkins. Upon entrance you got a sheet that allowed you to collect stamps as you went round the patch (another hit with Logan!) and you got a sticker at the end. The maize maze also has an entry into a draw to win cash prizes as well as when you purchase pumpkins. 

We brought back 3 medium size pumpkins to paint, Logan is obsessed with my little pony at the moment so I currently have a pinkie pie and a half finished rainbow dash on my dining room table! 

There is also a big haystack for the kids to play on, Logan spent ages running up and jumping down this. We grabbed a hot dog and burger while he played (reasonably priced at £5 each - and they were good!) then we sat down in the pumpkin vines to feed the kids their packed lunch. 

It's safe to say both kids slept on the way back! It is so lovely to get out in the fresh air in the cooler months and have fun. We have so far been very lucky with the weather on both years - enjoying a slightly milder October and no rain. What I liked best about it the experience though was it didn't feel overly busy. There was clearly a lot of people there but everything was spread out enough that you didn't feel you were all trying to overlap each other memories. It was easy enough to find a patch of pumpkins without anyone else occupying and get some lovely photos and have fun.

Have you got any fun traditions as a family in the winter months? Let me know, we are always looking for fun new things to do. If you haven't already visited a pumpkin patch then I recommend Undley if you are local to us or search on Facebook for your nearest one! They seem to be becoming more popular in Britain now as we take on the American tradition!