newbie-tips to pick your own pumpkin and a trip to millets farm centre bubbablue and me

How to pick your own pumpkins and Millets Farm Centre visit

While I hate saying goodbye to the lovely summer weather we had in September, I do love autumn. Not only because it’s my birthday month but also for the colour, mists, sunrise and sunsets, bonfires and more. Pumpkins were never really on my mind until a few years ago when we went pumpkin picking at Hatton Adventure World.

2024 dates are still tbc for Millets Farm PYO but generally they open weekends from end of September, then daily from nearer to Halloween.

newbie-tips to pick your own pumpkin and a trip to millets farm centre bubbablue and me

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If you’re going out over half term to pick pumpkins, and are new to it, you may have questions. So many people say they wouldn’t know where to go for it, so here’s my tips for going pumpkin picking

Tips for pumpkin picking

1. Google is your friend. If you don’t have a local farm, just do a search online for pumpkin picking in… and lots will come up. Some will just be pick your owns, some will be

2. Check the protocol in advance. My search unearthed a great farm near us which only does pumpkins, but it turned out that it’s not pick your own, they just sell to the supermarkets. So don’t just turn up, check the facebook page, email them etc.

3. Take something to carry a pumpkin in. Not all places provide wheelbarrows. Some hand out plastic bags – at Hatton they gave us a bag (you pay for entry, and get a free pumpkin so the bag tells them you’ve had your free one), but they’re never strong enough. So take a buggy, festival wagon, your own wheelbarrow, a strong man, or reusable bags.

4. Use the wheelbarrows provided. There’s always a bit of a walk, so take one when offered at the start…and please don’t follow others back to the car to grab their discarded wheelbarrow, when there’s other people waiting at the start for one.

5. Pick your pumpkin carefully. N kept prodding and turning, but be clear on the sizes you want and tell your children if they’re doing the choosing. Holes or damage isn’t great.

6. Think footwear. Sturdy shoes, although wellies aren’t always necessary unless the weather’s been horrendous beforehand.

7. Take photos, but be aware of everyone else around you because it’s bound to be busy. Learn to use clone to remove people, or photoshop, or just crop others out of the photo.

8. Be careful of soft prickly stems. I wasn’t expecting prickly pumpkin stems, but they are so watch out for little fingers getting a surprise.

9. Take cash, you can’t always pay by card.

10. Don’t be surprised if it’s more expensive than the supermarkets. For 1 medium to large pumpkin and 2 small ones I paid £7.50. I’m not sure if it’s just expensive down south, or whether that’s about the norm, but you’re paying for the choice and the experience. Some places like Hatton adventure World you pay an entrance fee to the whole place, then get a pumpkin free, other places like Millets Farm Centre (or PYO) you don’t pay to get in, but pay for the PYO aspect.

Our Millets farm pumpkin picking experience

In previous years, we’ve just bought a pumpkin from the supermarket. But picking your own pumpkin is always more fun than buying it from the supermarket (or even a local farm shop – although now we do tend to do the latter).

Millets Farm Centre had the weekend before half term for pumpkin picking as well as half term, so I wasn’t sure how busy the first day would be. We arrived about 30 minutes after opening and it was busy but not too bad. We managed to grab the last wheelbarrow, which N insisted on pushing the whole way. You go on N, all the easier for me.

pumpkin sign
wheelbarrowing at the pumpkin patch

We’ve never done PYO at Millets before. It’s quite a nice walk up to the fields, especially in the gorgeous warm sunny weather we had. The ground was fine, so no swampy soil for getting my trainers filthy in.

pumpkin fields at millets farm centre
i the pumpkin fields
choosing a pumpkin

N was so excited. Just seeing the orange globes spread across the fields in the sun before you, is a pretty spectacular site.

choosing pumpkins
one little pumpkin chosen

Being 5, N didn’t really think about moving much up the rows, or that far down the field, but we did manage to find a nice enough pumpkin. Once he’s decided, there’s no way he’s budging and changing to a different one. We also had a couple of small ones. We’ll carve the larger pumpkin and decorate the other 2. I just need to decide how I’m decorating my one, then I’ll let N loose on the other one. I’m thinking glitter maybe.

wheeling his pumpkins

It was a gorgeous time in the fields although we didn’t take too much time. There was too much else to explore once we’d paid and dropped the pumpkins back in the car.

First stop was the animals…no the carousel. N does get his head turned by rides, and the carousel was his choice over seeing the animals. At £2 I got away with him going on the ride on his own. I love scary rides, but I’m not keen on carousels for some reason. He looked a bit bored half way round, and people were saying it was faster than they expected, but N said he enjoyed it as he stepped down with wobbly legs.

on the carousel at millets farm centre

The playground was really busy, and N didn’t play on much. Just enough to build up his appetite before lunch. Millets is always a good option for lunch – the kids lunchbox is only £4.50 for 5 options, and there were plenty of places to sit inside. Although the weather was warm enough that some people were sitting out on the terrace area instead.

on the climbing frame steps
playing on the bendy see saw
hands in pockets boy

Get ready for Halloween* with outfits, sweet treats, and decorations

beyond pumpkins

After lunch I managed to persuade him into the garden centre. Because although we were there for autumn and Halloween, in the garden centre it’s already all about Christmas.

Millets Farm garden centre winter and Christmas displays

I’m a sucker for Christmas displays at any time of year, and it didn’t disappoint. There were plenty of displays where you could take your picture, although confusing as to which you could stand or sit on. N insisted that the Labradors in front of the fire were real.

pushing trolley basket through millets farm centre
outdoor snow decorations at millets
dog christmas display at millets farm centre
checking out santas postbox

The train going round the tree was a favourite, and of course trying to persuade me to buy him various toys (mostly Paw Patrol which he’s really too old for now). With me trying to sneak out some Christmas books and a bubble blower from Santa without him noticing (it didn’t work because the woman at the till didn’t play ball and be discrete – damn him being 5 years old and observant, but I reckon he’ll have forgotten by Christmas).

trying on reindeer ears
hugging a giant snowne

We checked out the decorations and lights. I just love checking out the beautiful different coloured tree displays, but I’m gutted that there’s still no teal or peacock colours on sale anywhere. I’ve been trying for 3 years, so maybe next year….

pastel pink and gold tree at millets farm
fake glittering candles
red and gold christmas tree displays at millets

Having spent around 4 hours at Millets Farm Centre, it was time to head home again. It was a lovely day out, and I just wish there were more places around the county to pick pumpkins.

Do you go pumpkin picking? Where do you go? What tips do you have?

Try these related posts

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  1. Looks like a great day. We had fun pumpkin picking last weekend – you’re right, much better than just getting one from the supermarket! I’ve managed to avoid the Christmas displays in our local garden centre so far! #CountryKids

  2. We went pumpkin picking and my best tip is grab the best then go over what you’ve selected at the end and rethink the giant monster one lol #CountryKids

    1. Ha ha, that’s probably a good tip. Similar to what some people (annoying ones) do at the Next sale or NCT nearly new sales! And don’t let the child drop the discarded pumpkins.

  3. Thanks for sharing the tips on pumpkin picking. We’ve never been and probably won’t get around to it this year but will have to remember these if we do decide to pick our own. N looked like he had a lot of fun choosing the pumpkins and going on the carousel and in the playground. I love the Christmas displays in the garden centre – what a shame that you couldn’t find teal or peacock coloured decorations though. #countrykids

    1. I think I’m going to be waiting a while for the colours to come back in fashion. I’ve spotted a few, but never great quality and I’d rather buy nice baubles that will last.

  4. I have a friend over in the States who always posts amazing pumpkin patch photos at this time of year. I like seeing more and more places over here doing it now, but none are quite as impressive as the USA ones so far!!

    1. It’s only good fun when the weather’s nice though. And it’s always a bit of a rush fitting it in. I still need to carve ours! Oops

  5. Looks like a fab place to spend a few hours. Thanks for the handy tips for pumpkin picking. We’ve been considering it for a few years but wouldn’t know where to start really!


  6. Wow, the pumpkin field looks amazing! I have to say I’ve never had a real pumpkin at Halloween, I never celebrated in the UK before I had kids and its really hard to find pumpkins here in Cyprus, especially ones that look like ‘proper’ pumpkins!

    Popping over from #CountryKids

  7. This looks like a lovely place to pick pumpkins! We just went to a farm, went in and picked a few and left! It would have been so nice to linger a bit longer! I agree, I got prickled by a pumpkin too and was quite shocked! I love that the christmas stuff is starting to come out (it is still way too early but I do love browsing)! Also, where are you based? My friend got teal and peacock decorations from Liberty’s in London last year (probably quite expensive but if you are desperate it might be worth a look)! #CountryKids

  8. He is growing up so fast! My son is with me while reading and he said he would choose a humongous one and a really small one for mother and child pumpkin which reminded me that I need to diet haha because I am represented by a massive pumpkin =P


    1. Ah, that’s sweet. I think I’d be represented by the large one too at the moment, hopefully by next year I’ll be a slimline squash instead!

    1. They do look great in photos. It felt like a really small field compared to the one we went to 2 years ago, but there were a lot of pumpkins there.

  9. I love the idea of picking your own pumpkin in a huge field of orange… 🙂 Great photos.

    Coming along from #CountryKids…

  10. We used to love going to the playground and seeing the animals at Millets when the kids were little. I’d forgotten, until I read your blog, just how often we used to visit. We don’t need a pumpkin this year as my mum grew some but I saw them in Sainsbury’s the other day and was amazed at the cost. #countrykids

    1. It’s a great place isn’t it. Did she think they were cheap or expensive? I’m amazed how cheap they are in the supermarkets, but I guess buying power and footfall driver means they drive down the prices.

  11. What a sight to see a field full of pumpkins. How wonderful!!! Puts our small patch to shame, although I’m very pleased with it. Love the colour orange in autumn. It is the experience isn’t it, so I guess it explains why it costs more. Also to cope with the accidental damage with so many people descending on the field. Love the rows of pumpkins. #CountryKids

    1. Pumpkin picking is the only thing we do. I hate trick or treating, and thankfully the school aren’t doing anything either with it being the first day back after half term.

  12. Funnily enough pumpkin fields is something we don’t have anywhere near us in Cornwall. I’m always on the look out for one. If I’m honest my kids are too old but I still fancy a visit! I love your photos and the filed looks huge. It’d easy to see how you can turn it into a few hours with the animals and rides too.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    1. They seem to have just got popular here, but largely at adventure farm/parks rather than PYO farms. Otherwise it’s just farm shops here.

  13. We love millers farm and have done PYO fruit in the summer. We are heading there next week to get some pumpkins. This has been great timing and good tip about a wheel barrow. Can’t wait to take the girls #TheList

    1. That was our first time doing PYO there. We’ve got one much more locally for berries etc. It is a great place, and I always think good value for all the activities (assuming you avoid paying for lots in the farm shop – I never manage that!)

  14. Picking the pumpkins looks a lot of fun! We had our first visit to Millett’s for a good few years on Wednesday this week and were very impressed. We particularly liked seeing how family-friendly it is and plan to go back there with the grandchildren one day, I think they would love it

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