Have you ever been pumpkin picking? I hadn’t before last week, in fact, I wasn’t really aware it was ‘a thing’ until I saw pumpkin picking popping up all over Instagram last year – thank you Instagram.
I live in Wiltshire, known for farming, right?! You would think pumpkin farms would be in abundance here but we actually don’t have one in the county, at least not one I could find when I was searching for our closest option. Thankfully ww found Millet’s Farm which is located in Abingdon, Oxfordshire and only a 30-minute drive away so my sister, nephew and I jamp (yes jamp is a word, it’s Scottish for jumped) in the car and headed off for our first experience of pumpkin picking.
The journey to the farm was easy and there are plenty of parking spaces available (parking is free) including disabled spaces located close to the attractions.
Our first stop when we arrived was the Pumpkin Field and I have to say it’s a pretty spectacular sight and a lot of fun choosing the perfect pumpkin. When we entered the field we picked up a wheelbarrow to put our pumpkins in, there were a few to choose from but at busy periods I would imagine these are in short supply. We spent around an hour finding our pumpkins, I think we ended up with around 6 pumpkins of various sizes, shapes and colours, it was nice to be able to choose from such a big selection.
There was quite a substantial queue to pay for our pumpkins but this went down in around 5 minutes and was much quicker than I expected. The prices were also really reasonable with small pumpkins costing £1 and large £2.50. Unbeknown to us we actually went pumpkin picking on National Pumpkin Day which was very fitting.
After picking our pumpkins we dropped them off at the car and headed to the farm shop to have a look around and get a bite to eat. We did consider the Farmhouse Kitchen Restaurant but the queue was out the door so we decided to opt for something quick. The Farm Shop is really big and stocks a huge variety of products including fresh baked goods, meat, fruit, veg, snacks and drinks plus loads more. They also had a themed Halloween shop with lots of goodies to buy which were all reasonably priced too.
There’s also the option of grabbing something tasty to eat from one of the outdoor food stands which were selling hot dogs and burgers which looked delicious. If it’s a sit-down meal you’re after you could book a table at Limbrick’s which is a formal dining area or you could enjoy a meal in the Potting Shed Cafe.
After eating we headed to the Maize Maze which is located at the rear of the carpark across from the Pumpkin Field, it costs £4.25 per toddler (2 years) and per adult, for children aged 3+ tickets are £6.25 each. Entering the maze was quick and easy we simply showed our booking information and were given wristbands which let us go in and out as much as we wanted. We also received a booklet which has fun activities for children to complete throughout the maze, my nephew thought this was great and it certainly kept him entertained and engaged trying to complete the activities. We had to find crows then unscramble the letters, collect stamps in the forest and count mice through the corn maze. We were also told that on our way out we would receive a stamp for completing the activities and then we could select a small prize.
Our first stop upon entering the maze was the small cabin style shop where we bought a hot chocolate and coffee, I can’t speak for the coffee but I really enjoyed the hot chocolate. The shop also sells drinks, including hot drinks such as tea, coffee and hot chocolate, you can also buy snacks such as sandwiches, crisps, sweets and ice creams plus there are small toys available to buy. The prices are reasonable and the hot drinks helped kept us warm as we had a couple of short-lived rain showers.
Inside the maze there’s a lot to do, there’s a covered sandy play area with diggers and toys which is perfect for little ones to play in, there’s also a small area with lots of pedal cars where children can race around a track, there’s an outdoor bowling lane and three large trampolines for the children to enjoy. There’s also plenty of seating so adults can sit down and enjoy a hot drink while little ones are playing. Although we didn’t stop here it looks great and it was lovely to see there was lots to keep children entertained.
After we had a look around the play area we headed off the explore the Scared Crows Forest where we had to find the crows hiding in the forest and write down the letters they were hiding, we then had to unscramble the letters to make a word and write this down in our booklet. We followed the track through the forest and found a tunnel which took us to another area with a small wooden castle maze and lots of things for children to enjoy climbing such as the tyre stack and hay bales.
Our second stop in the maze was the tractor ride which is located straight in front of the maze entrance at the wooden castle. There are also portaloos here which is great as it means you don’t have to walk back to the main toilet block although you can leave and enter again with the wristband. The tractor ride queue was quite busy when we joined but tractor rides are around 5 minutes long so the queue moved quickly and the wait wasn’t more than 10 minutes. The tractor ride took us around a short route through the maze where we had to count the mice hidden on the character boards dotted throughout the maze, children who get the answer correct will be able to get a sticker at the end of the ride.
Also located in the large wooden hut where the tractor rides depart from was another challenge from the booklet where we had to count how many of each item we could find upstairs and mark the correct answer in our books.
The maize maze is past it’s best as it’s now out of season but we still had a lot of fun walking through it and finding the characters that were in our booklet. There’s also a slide in the maze which is great fun for little ones and big kids (me) to enjoy.
As we exited the maze we entered another wooded area where we had to find characters in our booklet and stamp the head on the relevant characters using the correct stamp. The woods are all decorated with giant spiders, ribbons and cobwebs to make it look spooky.
We stayed at the farm for around 4 hours and we could have stayed much longer as there’s so much more to see and do, there’s a carousel, an animal walkway, Sprouts Play Barn which is a mammoth 4 tier soft play area (check times and prices here), a play area located on the lower lawn, Falconry and even a circus.
It’s worth noting that although the farm shop accepts card payments many of the other attractions and food stands require you to pay by cash so make sure you bring some cash with you, there is a cash machine in the Farm Shop but this might charge you a fee.
We all really enjoyed ourselves and found the staff to be friendly and helpful, everywhere was very clean and we can’t wait for our next trip back to Millets Farm. We’re planning a trip for Christmas because we heard there’s a Santa’s Grotto and a real outdoor ice rink, we also plan to go to the maze in early summer when it’s lush and green so we can enjoy the full maze experience.