Pumpkin Picking in Scotland is not exactly the easiest activity to find. It’s a very American tradition that is slowly but surely becoming more common in the UK, but like most other things, Scotland seems to be a bit slow at jumping on the band wagon. It’s now that time of year again: the leaves have fallen from the trees, the supermarkets are flooded with Halloween decorations and Starbucks have released the ever allusive Pumpkin Spice Latte. It can mean one thing and one thing only, Pumpkin Patch time. If you are anything like me, your probably far too invested in this Americanised ideal of Halloween. I am the definition of a modern consumer and I can be tempted by almost anything I see on Pinterest. I first discovered Pumpkin Patches on there, and I haven’t been able to get them out of my head since. Scotland may not be quite as awash with Pumpkin Patches as I would have liked, but that does not mean they don’t exist. I’ve shared some of the best farms in Scotland in the hope it can help someone else get their Pumpkin fix too.
Craigies Farm is a short 45 minute drive from Glasgow, and is well worth it. You are able to pick the pumpkins from the patch of land that they are actually grown in, which gives a nice authentic feel. There were plenty of pumpkins in early October, and the fact that it was open at the start of the month meant there was no overcrowding. If the pumpkins aren’t enough, there is also Sunflowers to pick, plenty of Strawberries left over and the only Apple Orchard in Scotland to keep everyone entertained. The fact that the farm is so big meant there was never a battle for anything and we were able to take pictures to our heart content and really run wild in the fields. There is also a play park, a farm shop and café (that does a brilliant coffee but will well and truly break the bank) so there really is something for everyone. In terms of price, it really isn’t too bad. Pick your fruit and vegetables will never come with Lidl’s pricing and the sooner people realise that the better. It is free to mooch around and you only pay for what you pick, but for reference we had about 15 strawberries, 4 apples and a medium sized pumpkin and that set us back £10.60. If you bear in mind that we had 2 hours spent running around fields, playing in the park and a free pumpkin carving kit to go alongside £10.60 between the three of us is not bad at all.
Arnprior Farm, Stirling
Arnprior Farm is a family run farm in Stirling and has a real family feel to it. Owned by Duncan and Rebecca McEwan and farmed by the family, it’s around 40 miles from Glasgow and a great day out for everyone. Compared to the other two, Arnprior is a lot smaller and extremely muddy. I thought it would be in the same region of muddy as Craigies Farm, but alas I was wrong. Wellies are a must, and I’d go as far to say I’d put Harrison in waterproof overalls the next time we go. It’s free to enter, and Pumpkins are anywhere between £5 and £12. We went for the smaller ones this time around as we already had a pumpkin collection forming, and for £5 these will always be a fair bit more expensive than supermarket, but your paying for the experience rather than the Pumpkin. We visited mid-October, and on our Sunday visit there was also digging for potatoes and face paint available, along with carved wooden pumpkins and some very nice coffee. My only problem with Arnprior is the opening dates, you have to be extremely careful with when you choose to visit. Arnprior is open from the 14th-22nd October inclusively from 10am-4pm, and then again on the 28th and 29th of October. Which really only gives two weekends or so to make the most of the Pumpkins. The closer you get to Halloween, the busy it will be, so choose your day wisely!
Cairnie Fruit Farm, Fife
Cairnie Fruit Farm & Mega Maze is less of just a Pumpkin Farm, and more of an adventure park with the added extra of pumpkins. I doesn’t feel like a small family farm in the way Arnprior does, probably because it isn’t one, but there is a lot more to do here. Along with the Pick Your Own fields, there is an Outdoor Maze and Funground, which has everything from Go-Karts to Trampolines and various play areas. Entry to the Pick Your Own areas again is free, and everything was reasonably priced, but if you were to make use of the maze or the adventure parks you’ll have to pay a fee for these. For what we got, the fee was pretty steep but it would completely depend on the day you went and the age of your children. We have a toddler (who go’s free) but had to pay £12 for adult tickets to simply watch him in the park. If you have older children who can really make use of the maze, or the trampolines, or the go-karts then £6 a person really is nothing for the entire day. It’s open all year round as a farm, with Pumpkins ready for picking throughout October, 7 days a week – meaning plenty of time to get down there.
As yet, we aren’t spoiled for choice when it comes to Pumpkin Patches, but the ones we do have are more than enough and each are brilliant in their own right. Whether it’s for the pumpkins, for the kids or for the photo opportunity, pumpkin picking is a great day out and a perfect tradition to introduce in October.