Many Pick Your Own farms near London are reopening as lockdown eases but with restrictions and advance booking policies in place. See red text below for latest updates from these PYO farms as of 10/7/20.
By Elisa Freeling
Nothing says summer like picking your own farm-fresh fruit and veg. All around London, Pick Your Own farms offer everything from strawberries to sweetcorn, beetroot to broccoli, French beans to Swiss chard. Bring the kids to eat local, show them where their food comes from, and support local farms. (If you don’t have the time or inclination to pick it yourself, many have farm shops as well.) Before you go, be sure to check the website to confirm opening hours—last PYO entry of the day is often 30 minutes to an hour before closing—and available pickings
PICK YOUR OWN FARMS NEAR LONDON
CAMMAS HALL, NEEDHAM GREEN, HERETFORDSHIRE, CM22 7JT
Primarily a fruit farm, they grow quite a variety of sweet treats to pick including cherries and blueberries. In October there’s a plentiful pumpkin patch. You can easily spend hours here – there’s a cafe with loads of seating (no picnics allowed), farm shop, maize maze, nature trail and children’s play area.
In order to enter the PYO, you will need to buy a fruit voucher (£3 per person) in advance which has a timed entry slot. On Tuesday & Friday mornings the first hour of the day will be reserved for the over 60s only, no booking required, but must enter the PYO between 9.00 and 9.30am. Slots are released on daily basis after assessing fruit availability. In coming weeks when fruit more plentiful more slots will be open.
COPAS FARMS, COOKHAM, BERKSHIRE, SL6 9EE; AND IVER, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, SL0 0LU
Copas Farms offers not one but two sites, in Cookham and Iver. Stock up on your strawberries, cherries, raspberries, currents and broad beans as well as many other crops; the website lists what’s currently available. In the shop, you’ll find local honey, jams and more.
On busy days the minimum charge of £4 each is prepaid by a voucher booking system to reserve your entry time. On quieter days this will be charged upon exit. Farm will close the gates if feel they are at capacity. Only four individuals can enter together, all children must be closely supervised at all times.
CROCKFORD BRIDGE FARM SHOP AND PICK YOUR OWN, ADDLESTONE, SURREY, KT15 2BU
Close to Weybridge and offering pick-your-own from May to September, Crockford Bridge grows rhubarb and red currents, spinach and strawberries, beetroot and carrots, among many others. To top it off, they’ve got an ice cream parlour too.
A £4 minimum charge (per adult) will be applied upon entry. No groups over 4 people. Children under 10 must be accompanied by at least one adult and fully supervised. Entry to our farm is at our discretion. Currently they are not operating a booking system – when they reach capacity in the fields entrance will become ‘one in one out’ and there will be a queue to enter. Should it become necessary, they will implement an online booking system.
FLOWER FARM SHOP, GODSTONE, SURREY, RH9 8BP
Crops include strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, plus sweetcorn, asparagus and more; ring their PYO line to check the most up-to-date availability. You’ll also find a traditional butcher’s shop, a deli counter, a tea room and ale brewed in their farm brewery by the Godstone Brewers.
PYO crops open seven days a week from 9am-5pm. No need to book, simply turn up and go picking – there’s a one-way system around the raspberries and signs up in place reminding people of social distance guidelines, plus hand sanitiser on entry.
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GARSONS, ESHER, SURREY, KT10 8LS
Claiming to be the UK’s largest PYO farm, Garson’s conveniently maps out their current (ha!) offerings, showing what’s available to pick and where. Beetroot and broccoli, blackcurrants and broad beans, sugar snaps and strawberries—check out their crop calendar for all that’s on and upcoming as well. Garsons have recently introduced a £4 per adult minimum spend, which is then taken off the total you pay at the till.
PYO Farm is now open for Farm Pass holders only. Entry requirements changed to allow PYO customer numbers to be fully controlled in advanced, providing a safe and comfortable picking environment. Each individual will need to have a Farm Pass, including children and infants, please read our PYO Entry information online for details. Bookings are limited to 2 adults. Families are limited to a maximum of 2 adults and 3 children. Cars containing more than a family of 5 will not be permitted entry.
GRAYS FARM, WOKINGHAM, BERKSHIRE, RG40 3AN
Grays Farm’s PYO is open May to October and you can get your strawberries, black and red currants, broccoli, marrow, courgettes and more. There’s a farm shop, too.
They expect the public to have free access to their PYO fields and to follow any social distancing guidance about car parking and queuing in the shop. Do not form groups. Stay in your households – keep your children with you. No entry charge – Just pay for what you pick. No need to book.
HEWITTS FARM, ORPINGTON, KENT, BR6 9BX
Plums and peas, swiss chard and spinach, cabbage and courgettes—all these and more are available to pick here. You can also buy honey, free-range eggs, bedding plants, logs and kindling and such in the farm shop.
PYO open mainly in mornings, for fruit and some veg. Check their FB page for latest. Please no large groups, max 6. All fruit must be taken home and thoroughly washed before eating. Please keep 2m distance at all times.
HOME COTTAGE FARM, IVER HEATH, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, SL0 0BB
Just outside the M25, this farm grows everything it sells, mostly soft fruits and apples. In various months (generally July through October or November), you can choose from 18 varieties of apple and pear, plus plums, raspberries, blackberries and honey.
They hope to open at the end of July for blackberries and raspberries.
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MCLAUCHLANS OF BOXTED, BOXTED, ESSEX, CO4 5RB
Near Colchester, this farm grows the usual currants and berries, including jam strawberries and dessert gooseberries, plus sweetcorn and broad beans. The shop sells potatoes from a nearby village as well as cream from a local dairy, and offers freshly frozen fruit year-round.
Reserve your space – book a ticket to guarantee entry onto the strawberry field in a 30-min time slot. Elderly hour: the first hour of each week day (9-10am Mon-Sat) is reserved for customers over 60 years old. NO TICKET NEEDED for this hour only. Ticket fee: tickets are free, but please don’t book a ticket unless you’re definitely going to use it, as they are very limited. Groups will be limited to 4 people, including maximum of two children per adult. (Babes in arms don’t need tickets.)
PARKSIDE FARM, ENFIELD, MIDDLESEX, EN2 8LA
Crops here include ‘table-top’ strawberries—no bending required!—plus currants, raspberries and blackberries. Veg on offer ranges from spinach, Swiss chard and sweetcorn to courgettes, green onions, and French beans. The PYO has a £4 per person minimum spend, and the shop sells, among other things, ice cream, meringues and chocolate dipping sauce.
Bookings only released day in advance at start of season after fruit assessment. To enter the PYO you must buy a Fruit Voucher for each adult or child attending and select a 15-minute entry time-slot. The value of the voucher will be fully refunded, provided you spend above that amount on PYO produce. Max. 2 hours allowed for picking. Voucher sales are limited to 5 per household. There must be at least one adult per child under 12.
STANHILL FARM, WILMINGTON, KENT, DA2 7HD
Stanhill Farm offers berries, beans, sweetcorn and more—and there’s even a maize maze with a theme that changes from year to year. Check the website to see what’s available, and come back for pumpkins October half-term.
No need to pre-book, however, they may need to introduce a bookable system if the fields become too busy. A maximum of six people only per group. From 9:00am – 9:30am Tuesday – Friday is for the over 60’s only.
Can’t leave London? Try a bit of urban foraging!
Our local parks and even canals are filled with produce ripe food picking. From elderflower for delicious cordial to blackberries for jam and much more. Check out sites like Forage London, and Abundance London in Chiswick for spots and group outings, or just have a look around your local green areas. Find a spot, grab a basket and enjoy. Best of all, it’s free.
Updated July 2020
Featured image from Cammas Hall Farm