10 places to pick your own in Herts & Beds
Grab your straw hat and wicker basket: it's summer in England, which means it's time to PYO. From sumptuous strawberries to green veg and even blooming bouquets, here's where to pick 'em.
Somehow, despite the juice stains and paying-to-do-manual-labour, picking one’s own fruit / flowers / veg is unassailably charming. So dust off the broad-brimmed hats, grab the children and head to the fields for some wholesome rural fun.
Grove Farm, Ivinghoe
This is my go-to local for PYO – and not just for strawbs and raspberries but veg too. Right now you can get beetroot, onion, courgette, spinach and potatoes as well as redcurrants and blackcurrants – check the website before you go for what’s in season. The farm is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and still going as strong as ever. They’re open Mon-Sat 10am-5pm and on Sundays from 9am-12 noon
Gravely Fruit Farm, Stevenage
As well as picking your fill of fruit – which is all at waist height by the way if you want to save your back – there’s tonnes to do here for kids, from a new crazy golf course and weekend tractor rides (bumps included!) to a chance to feed the resident piggies. Plus there’s an adventure play area with a zip wire and hay bales, located conveniently next to the cafe so you can grab a coffee and 5 minutes’ peace while the kids burn off their energy.
Pearce’s Farm Shop, Buntingford
This family run farm shop offers PYO strawberries and raspberries (there’s a £1.50 entry fee but under 5’s go free). Pop into Bridget B’s Butchery while you’re there, have a nosey around the shop which stocks Cook meals, local produce, wine and artisan spirits as well as gifts. And make sure you check out the Grand Designs-style eco café with its glass frontage and views over the meadow for brekkie, lunch or afternoon tea.
Hawswick Lodge Farm, St Albans
You’ll find a range of seasonal fruits here, including strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, blackberries and gooseberries. There’s a minimum charge of £3 for adults and it’s open Tuesday – Friday (10am-6pm) and 9am – 4pm at the weekends. Do check the website before visiting though as they ocassionally close to allow new fruit to grow after busy times.
Cammas Hall Fruit Farm, near Bishop’s Stortford
Winners of PYO of the year in the 2021 Farm Retail Association Awards, Cammas Hall has got it all. Fruit, veg, sunflowers and pumpkins are on offer through June – October (check their online calendar for timings). Pre-booking is essential. There’s plenty of refreshment to be had, too – The Orchard Room serves light meals and afternoon tea, head to the cabin for cakes, drinks and snacks, and the Tea Barn takeaway caters for those mid-morning bacon butty cravings. For the littlies there’s a play area and sandpit, a six-acre maize maze and a nature trail with 1-3K route options. Plus they run animal experiences and craft workshops, too! Phew!
Bury Lane, Royston
One of the biggest PYOs in the area, it’s strawberry fields forever at Bury Lane (sorry!) Pop into the farm shop to stock up on local produce from the food hall and cellar, deli and bakery, butchers and fishmongers, as well as fresh fruit and veg and cut flowers. There’s even a gift shop and plant and garden shop on site too. But that’s not all. Got kids in tow? Take them to the beach! Yup, there’s a giant sandy play area here as well as a soft play barn. You’ll easily lose a day here…
The Baldock Flower Farm, Baldock
Not your typical PYO, but if you do fancy having a go at picking and creating your own hand-tied floral bouquet, you can book on to a field-to-vase workshop at the Baldock Flower Farm. After a tour of the flower fields you’ll be let loose amongst the blooms to hand-pick your own posy. Sounds rather idyllic, doesn’t it? Check website for dates and availability.
Hannah’s Pick Your Own Sunflowers, Wigginton
This one’s a bit of a hidden gem that I discovered last year. Find it on the Chesham Road between Wigginton and Chesham (approx postcode is HP4 3UE). Park up in the next field and pick your stems for £1 each. There are some fab photo ops there (that’s me in the pic below!). Top tip – take your own secateurs as the stems are thick and hard to break off by hand.
The Pop-Up farm, near St Albans
Exactly what it says on the tin (or sign!), this place, just off the Junction 9 of the M1 near St Albans, is a sunflower field by summer and pumpkin patch come autumn (with sweetcorn in between!). Due to open imminently (usually early August) for Sunflower picking. Grab a wheelbarrow and go pick a bunch or two of sunshiney blooms to brighten up your life.
Hitchin Lavender, Hitchin
For something a bit different how about a walk amongst the swathes of purple at Hitchin lavender. There are 30 acres of lavender, sunflowers and wildflowers for you to frolick about in – eat your heart out, Ann of Green Gables! Paper bags are provided for you to collect your lavender in, plus there’s a display field showcasing 60 varieties of the purple stuff, plus a shop stocking lavender-based oils and products. Take a picnic or order from the Field Kitchen and take in the stunning surroundings, with Insta moments galore.