Top Tips for Pumpkin Picking at Spilmans Farm


A fantastic family day out in Thirsk for October with pumpkin picking, fairground rides, delicious pizza, pumpkin carving, a maze, corn cannons, tractor rides, farm animals and more.....

 

Top Tips for Pumpkin Picking at Spilmans Farm

Why Spilmans Farm? 

Pumpkin patches have sprung up in the UK in the last few years and I have never taken my children. I think it is because the phenomenon started here when my kids were a little older so it has never been part of our Halloween tradition. I also thought it was a little too Americanised and always die slightly inside when I see overly posed photos of children in their new Autumn threads on Insta. 

Anyway, 2020 is the year to throw out the rule book isn't it. My three absolutely love Halloween and pre-covid they made me promise not to book any trips away over half term so they could go trick or treating with their friends (we have been away for the last three years). This year was going to be the year we go all out. Well trick or treating won't be happening for them now so if I can do anything to still inject a bit of Halloween fun, I am going to. Pumpkin picking it is! 

I was torn between two places when booking - Brocksbushes near Hexham which is where we usually go strawberry picking or Spilmans Farm in Thirsk which is somewhere I had not visited before but had heard good things. 

After weighing up the pros and cons, Spilmans won. It was a little bit of a longer drive but I liked that at Spilmans you pay £10 per car to book which you are then given back as credit to spend when you are there where as at Brocksbushes, it is a straight £2 entry pp and then you pay for pumpkins on top. 

At Spilmans they also had lots of extras such as the Maize Maze, fairground rides, corn shooters, fairground rides, tractor rides etc.... so it felt like it was much more of a day out. 

I know people who have visited Brocksbushes for their Pumpkin Patch highly rate it and I am sure it is fab, but for us, Spilmans suited us better. 


How it Works 

You need to pre-book your time online and you are allowed 2.5. hours on the farm (this is not closely monitored). It costs £10 per car which you pay on booking. You are sent a ticket with a QR code by email. You show this ticket to both the car park attendant on arrival and at the admissions kiosk before the farm entrance (after you have picked up your wheelbarrow). 

At the admissions kiosk, you are handed a couple of activity sheets, an info sheet and a voucher card. This voucher card includes 10 free stamps (worth £10) - 1 stamp is worth £1. Keep the voucher card safe as you need it for most activities. Rather than paying for cash/card at each activity, your voucher card is stamped accordingly and you pay for everything at the end. This is a really good system as you can keep a check on how much you are spending. 

The 10 free stamps is a brilliant idea - you can use these towards paying for pumpkins or activities. As a family of 5, our stamps did not go far but if there were two of you, you could do 5 activities each. 

Do not lose your voucher card as if you do, a minimum spend of £20 will be applied. 

Once you have finished the activites / pumpkin picking, simply visit the exit marquee where your pumpkins will be measured, your stamps counted up and you will pay for everything in one go (cash or card). 


 Pumpkin Carving Barn ( 1 stamp per person)

If we had visited later in the season, we 100% would have done this. There is a huge Halloween-themed marquee with socially distanced tables for families and all you need to carve your own pumpkins. I love that you can leave the mess here and enjoy your carved pumpkins straight away. Just drop in once you have picked your pumpkins and staff will stamp your card / 


Carving barn at Spilmans Farm


Maize Maze (1 stamp per person)

I did this with the kids while Steve watched our pumpkins and had a seat. I hate mazes and this one wasn't too scary/difficult but we did make a couple of wrong turns. There is a little trail where you can complete little riddles throughout and use the stampers to stamp your activity sheet. 

Maize maze at spilmans farm


Hay Bales (Free) 

You can climb the hay bales at any time - my three loved doing this and it is nice for the grown ups to grab a coffee from the nearby food van as they do. 


Farm Tractor Rides ( 1 stamp per person) 

You can enjoy a tractor ride around the farm - they depart regularly, just stand next to the sign and wait for the next pick up. 

Tractor rides at Spilmans Farm

Farm animals (Free) 

A little bonus for us was that we got to see sheep, pigs and chickens on the farm. I did not expect this at all and it made Heidi's day (the sheep are next to car park A). 

Pigs at Spilmans Farm

Fairground Rides (£2 each - cash)

The fairground rides are not part of the stamp / voucher system and cost £2 each (cash). There is a nice little selection to choose from and the rides are right next to a hot food van where you can pick up snacks / drinks. 

Fairground at Spilmans Farm

Corn Cannon (1 stamp for 3 shots per person)

This was fab fun - for 1 stamp you can shoot corn across the field and try and hit the target. The cost is 1 stamp for 3 shots which is pretty good value. 

Pick Your Own Pumpkins (from £1) 

You can pick up a wheelbarrow before you enter the admissions kiosk. The staff were visibly sanitising them between customers but there are plenty to choose from. They have little ones for kids too. 

Then you just help yourself to as many pumpkins as you like in the fields. I set us a limit of 1 pumpkin per person but we did go a bit off-piste and somehow ended up with 11 Pumpkins. Oops! It is very easy to get carried away. 

Steve searched the fields for black/grey pumpkins but couldn't find any. We did get a nice selection of white, green and orange which we are very happy with. I love the smaller ones. 

The pumpkins have already been cut from their roots so you just need to pick them from the ground - no struggling with vines required. Some of them are fairly heavy though and adult assistance is required. 

Once you have picked your pumpkins and are ready to leave, take them to the exit marquee where they are measured and your stamps are added up. After payment, you can then wheel your pumpkins to the car before returning the barrow. 

Pumpkins will keep from the beginning of October at home if you don't carve them and if they are kept cold and dry. We have used ours as a display and will carve them in half term. 

I was worried how much we were going to spend - in my head I imagined £50+. It wasn't too bad though - £25 in total which included some pretty big ones. Pumpkins are priced by width so if you want to keep the costs down, go for skinny ones rather than fat ones. 

A few of the pumpkins were a little spiky on their stalks so encourage kids to not carry them from the stalk. 

The fields were very muddy. I recommend full waterproofs, clothes you don't mind getting dirty and wellies. Also make sure you bring wipes & maybe a change of shoes for the car as we were caked in mud. All part of the fun though. 












Wheelbarrow full of pumpkins at spilmans farm


Masks, Social Distancing & Covid Precautions 

On the day of our visit, face coverings were not required in the fields / outdoor spaces. The only place they are required is if you visit the farm shop. Personally, I wear a face covering anywhere indoors and Steve and I just decided to keep ours on the whole time. Many people wore them when walking through the ticket kiosk and payment marquees. 

We visited on a very rainy Saturday and it was busier than expected. Social distancing was super easy though and the only time we came within 2metres of another family is when we asked if we could pass a slower family in the maze. This was just for a brief second. 

I was impressed with how much covered seating there was at the farm entrance - loads of space and not busy at all. 

Track and Trace is in operation (we used our app to scan the QR code on arrival) and there is loads of hand sanitiser around the site - you are asked to sanitise your hands before each activity. 

There are proper hand washing stations at the entrance and in the toilets. 



Pumpkin Prices at Spilmans Farm


Pick Your Own Sunflowers (Various prices) 

We didn't visit these fields but you can also pick your own sunflowers at the moment. I was jealous of some of the families who were leaving with freshly-picked bunches. 


Photo opportunities 

There are lots of photo opportunities at Spilmans. A lot of the staff are dressed up and we spotted a stilt walker and there are giant props and beautiful pumpkin displays around the farm. Obviously, you also have the pumpkin and sunflower fields too. 

Lots of children visit in their Halloween costumes which really adds to the atmosphere too. 


Under cover hay bale seating 

If you aren't keen on sitting inside, this undercover hay bale seating by the farm shop / takeaway cafe near the car park is brill. A few families were warming up with hot drinks and gingerbread men from the farm shop cafe before heading home. 

Wood-fired pizzas 

Behind the farm shop in the barn, you will find wood-fired pizzas for sale. We visited at the end once we had popped our pumpkins in the boot and returned our barrow. The seating areas were really well spaced out and the pizzas were so good. A bargain at £5 each and service was quick too. Honestly, I would visit just for the pizzas. So yum! (Payment for pizzas is by cash or card). 

I believe there will be a hog roast available over half term too. 


Pizza at Spilmans Farm




Farm shop & takeaway cafe 

Just by the car park is the farm shop and takeaway cafe. The farm shop sells lots of treats to take home and the cafe was selling sausage rolls, pork pies, gingerbread cookies and witches hat cakes. We picked up a few things to bring home for lunch the next day. 




Picking pumpkins early 

If you visit Spilmans across the first two weekends in October, you will get your smallest pumpkin free. So long as they keep cool and dry, they will keep until October Half Term when you can carve them. 



We absolutely loved our day at Spilmans and have definitely started a new October tradition - we are going to visit every year from now on. They are a lush family business and really put a lot of effort into making sure your day is a good one. 

Spilmans is one of those places you could spend loads or keep to a budget, obviously you will spend less if you a smaller family than us. 

We spent £10 on activities (which were covered by our free stamps), £25 on pumpkins, £36 on pizzas and drinks and £18 in the farm shop so a total of £89 which is expensive but when you break it down, it is £18 per person which includes 2 farm activities each, 2 pumpkins each, a pizza and a drink each plus lunch from the farm shop the following day. You don't need to spend this much - we are a family of 5 and this was our first family day out in ages so we did go a little OTT. 


Top Tips for Pumpkin Picking at Spilmans Farm 


  • Waterproof clothing and wellies are recommended - if it has been raining, it will be muddy. 
  • There are several toilets across the site. 
  • Halloween fancy dress / head bands / face covering adds to the fun. 
  • I cannot find an accessibility statement online. Some families did have a pushchair with them and it seemed ok but you would not really be able to take a pushchair into the pumpkin patch area as it is muddy / there are not really any clear paths to follow - you are constantly stepping over vergetables. The site is muddy and I think a wheelchair may struggle but please contact Spilmans for more info. 
  • Leave pumpkin picking until the end. We were excited and headed to the pumpkin fields straight away. There are 40,000 pumpkins and plenty to go around. We ended up wheeling our barrow full of pumpkins around the whole site to join in with the activities after picking our pumpkins which was annoying. It would have made much better sense to complete the activities first and pick the pumpkins at the end to avoid this. 
  • Before you leave and once your pumpkins are safely in the car, do not miss the pizza barn and farm shop. The pizzas were so good, especially after being out in the fields. Highly recommended. 
  • Book early for the best offers (this year you will get your smallest pumpkin free if you visit on the first two weekends in October). 
  • Pre-book your slot online and bring your email with you (no need to print out - just show from your phone). 
  • Dogs on leads are allowed (not in the actual pumpkin patches but around the rest of the farm).
  • Bring cash and card. 
  • There is lots of hand sanitiser on site.
  • Keep your stamp card safe - bring a little purse/food bag for it. If you lose it, you will need to pay £20.  
  • Bring your face covering. 
  • Make sure you have wipes in the car as you are likely to get muddy. 
  • Bring a crate / box for your car boot.  Some families were more prepared than us and had done this. We know for next time! Pumpkins can be a little muddy and will need a wash when they get home. 

  • It took around 1 hour 20 minutes to drive there from our home in Cramlington.
Find out more and book online here: https://www.spilmans.co.uk/

For more Halloween content, check out the following posts: 

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Please follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines , respect the local area, leave no trace, take litter home, park responsibly and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Remember face coverings are required for indoor attractions / shops for those aged 11+ (usual exemptions apply)  

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Always check updated opening hours / protocols with venues direct before setting off as things may have changed after this post was published. 


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Top Tips for Pumpkin Picking at Spilmans Farm




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4 comments

  1. Fab post. We absolutely love it here and feel it suits us well and is worth the drive! We've made it a little tradition too and have always enjoyed our visits 👍

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  2. We went yesterday following your recommendation (thank you!) and had a fab time - our only slight letdown was all of their highchairs were in storage so feeding the baby was tricky. Hope they get that sorted for next weekend x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no - that would be a bit off a nightmare. Fingers crossed they sort it xx

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