After what has already been a pretty nightmarish year, Halloween 2020 is set to look a little different to the norm. But whilst getting down to the Monster Mash in a dimly-lit club may be off the cards, there are still plenty of socially distanced activities for you to be getting ghoulish with. The stuff of Insta dreams, we’ve rounded up the top 5 farms to pick pumpkins near London, along with the best local pubs to grab a hearty autumnal roast afterwards. Wellies at the ready, city slickers.
Hewitts Farm and Bunch of Grapes
1hr drive or 45 min train from London Bridge to Knockholt and then a 15 min walk.
Looking for a pick-your-own pumpkin farm within easy reach of London Bridge station? Hewitts can be found by just hopping on a train to Knockholt. October sees this place erupt into a wonderland of orange - with field upon fields of pumpkins ready for picking. And when you're all harvested out? We recommend heading back to London Bridge for dinner at Bunch of Grapes - the gorgeous pub located a 30-second stroll away. Be sure to grab yourself one of their 'ultimate roasts' - a feast of beef, pork and chicken, doused in velvety gravy.
Secretts of Milford and The Weyside
1hr15 drive or 50 min train from Waterloo to Milford, followed by a leafy 15 min walk.
The ultimate Halloween-themed event, Secretts of Milford will once again be running their legendary pumpkin week this year. Be sure to turn up with cash for your entry fee as well as a strong bag for carrying your freshly-picked produce home. There’s even a photobooth for those all-important scary snaps. If you’ve visited by car? Pootle up the road to gorgeous Guildford and you’ll find The Weyside, the waterside pub that comes complete with original beams, roaring log fires and one of the prettiest terraces in the biz.
Garsons PYO Farm and The Bear
1hr drive or 30 min train from Waterloo to Hersham, followed by a 35 min walk.
Head to Garsons PYO Farm and you'll find a year-round crop calendar, rustic shop and vibrant garden centre. For 2020, they’ve implemented farm passes, which must be purchased online in advance. Wander through the laden pumpkin patches, or fill your boots with cabbages, carrots and sweetcorn. And after all that hard work, you'll be in need of some food - stroll into the town of Esher, to find cosy country pub The Bear. With a gorgeous beer garden and rustic interiors, it’s the perfect place to curl up and dig into a bowl of goose-fat roasties.
Lathcoats Farm and The Bay Horse
1hr10 drive or 35 min train from London Liverpool Street to Chelmsford, and a 15 min bus ride.
Found just a 15-minute bus ride away from the charming Essex city of Chelmsford, Lathcoats Farm is the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring and getting your dose of that fresh countryside air. The family-owned farm grows over 40 varieties of apples, along with strawberries, cherries and raspberries in the summer months. When October strikes though, it’s all about the orange - with pumpkin picking and carving as well as a family-friendly Halloween hunt. Better yet? Chelmsford happens to be home to the charming Bay Horse pub, which offers mega Sunday roasts from just £12.95.
Crockford Bridge Farm and The Queen’s Head
A 55 min drive or a 25 min train from Waterloo to Woking, followed by a 25 min bus.
When it comes to picking patches near London, Crockford Bridge Farm is a popular choice - and it’s not hard to see why. Their annual pumpkin festival entails plenty of picking, carving and crafting as well as a few autumn-ready photo-ops. The event is ticketed, so be sure to bag yourself a slot before turning up at the Addlestone spot. And if all that sounds like hungry work, we advise strolling along the River Wey to find The Queen’s Head in Weybridge, a welcoming watering hole with plenty of fireside nooks to warm your cockles.
Pick-your-own stocks are all seasonally dependent, so be sure to check with individual farms on their pumpkin availability and social distancing guidelines before setting off. All venues are also imposing a max number of 6 people per group due to government guidelines. For more outdoor inspiration, head here.