Yay, it’s almost Halloween! Some may think that Britain has become American because of Halloween, but autumn is my favourite season, so I’m always here to concentrate a bit. I taught the seasons to a three-year-old Finnish boy and Family Day at the Pumpkin Field is a great way for kids to experience autumn and Halloween up close. I have made it my mission to find the best pumpkin for autumn 2020 in Essex, where you can pick your own pumpkin (choose from orange, blue and white pumpkins!) in the middle of the field, walk through the corn maze, watch some farm animals or just sit down with some hot cider (of course for people over 18!).
Halloween shouldn’t scare babies, and if you take them to a pumpkin place in Essex, it’s a great way to get them involved. Just like dirty puddles to jump in and the ability to get rubber boots dirty, kids love to pick a pumpkin from the field to take home and cut it. It is REALLY more fun than picking it up from the supermarket and many pumpkin farms in Essex also offer other activities, making this a great day out for the whole family.
Where do you go to pick a pumpkin in Essex 2020
Halloween Fun Miles (Photo: Helen Wright)
Did you know that over 70% of the beautiful Essex is rural? The county is blessed with rolling countryside, forests and farmland, making it the ideal place to find fruit and vegetables. Moreover, such freedom means sufficient space for social interaction, so that nowhere is overcrowded, not even on weekends. Many pumpkin farms in Essex offer year-round PYO opportunities, but the best is the Halloween Theatre. We have put together the best pumpkin collection points in Essex in 2020.
Pumpkin Forest Hurley, Wickford
Our favourite pumpkin picking spot in Essex is Hurley Pumpkin Forest in Battlesbridge, Wickford. There is ample parking space and the atmosphere is really family friendly. It may not be fashionable, but what they miss in nice rides, they make up for with full, friendly public entertainment. There is a small room with handicraft stalls, makeup workshops, mucilage shops and children’s games and an outdoor café with coffee, cider and hot chocolate. Children can ride a pony (2 pounds) for a fee.
Tinted for selection! (Photo: paspoort.uk stamps)
Choose pumpkins for free in Hurley’s Pumpkin Forest, you only pay for pumpkins between 50 pence and £5 per giant. I wouldn’t say there is a lot of forest, but the pumpkin paths are wide and there is a large selection, including white pumpkins (very friendly!) and nice shaped roots, which Finn found fascinating. Some are hidden under small pines (since November the farm has been transformed into a Christmas tree farm), and the Finns liked to choose the most difficult ones.
The pumpkin forest was not overcrowded (Photo: passport stamps.uk)
It’s really messy (especially after a bit of rain), so bring rubber or walking shoes and change shoes for the car. The ground on which the pumpkins stand is uncomfortable for walkers, so it is best for children to sit in the carrier. Cars can be used for free on farms, and the Finns loved to push them, although there were many cases where they spilled and all the pumpkins fell over! There’s also a small shop at the Pumpkin Counter with basting tools, jewellery and other Halloween items – all at very affordable prices. The pumpkin forest usually runs daily in October, but this year the visit has to be booked online because of the social distance.
Woodham Road Buttlesbridge, Wickford SS11 7QL
Cammas Hall Farm, Hatfield Oak
Pumpkin harvest is an adventure for children (Photo: paspoortstempels.nl)
At Cammas Hall Farm everyone is enthusiastic about the cakes (the Victorian biscuit cake is made from fresh strawberries grown just outside the door). So it’s the best excuse to go, and the pumpkin patch is a Halloween bonus. The farm grows fruit all year round, but the main crop is strawberries. In autumn, hiking trails are laid out in the pumpkin field, where you can choose your own pumpkin in different sizes. Tractors normally drive in the fields, but the work is currently suspended due to the restrictions imposed by Covid-19. You can also choose your own corn (that was delicious), and there is a large corn maze where, if you get lost as easily as we did, you can walk around for an hour and try to find an exit.
If you have time, stay in the café for lunch (there may be a table waiting for you, especially at a pleasant distance), but if you manage to get inside, order the famous pumpkin curry to keep you warm. For children under the age of 5 there is a small playground, as well as face painting and craft activities. Do not miss the Instagram element on the milling cutter board forever!
Needham Green, Hatfield Broad Oak CM22 7JT
(*Sessions must be booked in advance for £2, which will be deducted from the price of your pumpkin)
Fox farm production, pumpkin harvest in Essex (Oldham and Basildon)
Sex Pumpkin 2020 Family Farm Fun (Photo: Mike Susa)
Foxes Farm Produce is one of Essex’s most popular pumpkin growing areas. There are two places (Oldham and Basildon), and both can be very busy, especially when it comes to Halloween. The company has announced that this year’s sessions must be booked in advance in order to limit the number of sessions on the field, so you need to book a spot on the pumpkin spot in advance.
The input of the pumpkin is £1, plus the cost of the pumpkins you choose at the end. The field is huge, with a bumper of pumpkin, pumpkin and other root plants. By 2020 they will have 15 different species. This year there is no corn maze or playground, but there are plenty of places to relax and have fun taking pictures. On the farm, two children had to come together with an adult to ensure that the rules of social distance were respected and that hand hygiene was guaranteed. The children loved to climb on hay bales. Around the pumpkin field there are many fun pumpkin games, including a pumpkin quiz, pumpkin dew, boiling mountain, good hand signals and pumpkin treasure hunt! Like other stains, the floor is really dirty, so bring your boots!
Aldham, Colchester CO6 3PR
* Parking sometimes requires advance notice due to lack of space
Emergency Adventure Farm, Clakton
Finn LOVED pickpumpkins (figure: Helen Wright)
Hasty Farm is so child-oriented that it is a year-round milestone in Essex for families. Children are entertained in the indoor playground, the zoo, the outdoor playground, the sandpit and the car.
The free farm path is in use all year round and changes its theme every six weeks. In October it turns into a pumpkin place where guests can choose their own pumpkins. The farm celebrates pumpkin week ten days before the 31st. October with extra activities, organised games and entertainment.
The pumpkin area here is neater and easier to manage than some of the more rustic farms, but that means that both the wheelchair and the wheelchair are welcome. From the age of 19, a reservation in advance is required all year round. Admission costs £6.95 per person (free up to 2 years).
West Rd Intelligence Service, Cluckton at sea CO15 1AG
Halloween festival on the farm in March – pumpkin harvest
Agricultural practice (Photo: passport.uk stamps)
Marsh Farm came into action with the launch of Covid-19 and was one of the first pumpkin fields in Essex to confirm that they will host their Halloween festival in 2020. If you have visited the farm before, please note that there are now major changes, including no access at the door (to be ordered only on site), and that the whole farm is now cash free. It includes a café, stands and a souvenir shop.
Kids love spider tracks (Picture: no film)
I really like Marsh Farm and its quiet and relaxed atmosphere. There is a large indoor playground, an adventure park, a zoo for pets, a practice area for tractors, an indoor theatre and rides on hay bales. On Halloween an entire pumpkin village is created on the farm, where you can choose your white pumpkins and different sizes of photogenic oranges. As access to the farm costs between £15.99 and £17.99 per person, the pumpkins are free (one for each cardholder) and there are planned activities, a cutting room, a scary barn with sweets at the end and a regular corn maze, which is thematically called the witches’ maze. The event is also primarily aimed at wheelchair users.
Marshpharm Farm Road, South Woodham Ferrears, Essex, CM3 5WP
Epiping railway staff lounge car
Essex ghost train Essex on the track near Epping Hangar (Photo: stephengg)
Another brilliant Halloween trick in Essex is Epping Ongar Railway Fear Week. This old railway line (which runs from Ongar station to Epping and stops at Valda Nord, a hunting ground) is open all year round and offers a variety of attractions, including the guinea pig and popes patrol and the special Christmas train. Trendy clothes are welcome and at the station you can meet owls, learn how to cut pumpkins, try to swing your hand on apples, touch the scary creatures in Spider Corner.
You can do all this with the old Routemaster buses, which take you from Epping and Shenfield stations to historic Victorian stations, where you can travel back in time. The trains run through beautiful landscapes, beautiful forests and have (on Halloween) some fears and cries on their way. The Epping Ongar is the nearest steam train to London, easily accessible via the Central Line.
Directions to the train station, Chipping Ongar, Ongar CM5 9BN
We had so much fun watching Essex’s best pumpkin, and when we got home, Finn couldn’t wait to cut his pumpkin – but he soon got bored and was left to his mother! I love Essex’s pumpkin stains, and they’re also a great Instagram photo!
Halloween Jack-O-Lantherns pictures : (Phillip Ingham)
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