Every year we visit the pumpkin patch – it has become an Autumn tradition of sorts. In previous years we have visited Foxes Farm for our pumpkins (you can read about those trips here and here! ) but as we’re no longer living in Essex, this year we’d thought we would try a new one closer to home.
Undley Pumpkin Patch and Maize Maze isn’t exactly around the corner, what with it being tucked away in the back roads of Bury Saint Edmunds – in fact it’s about an hours drive each way. That said it’s also one of the largest pumpkin patches around and still less of a drive than it would be to get to Essex and back. After researching the Undley patch and everything it had to offer, I knew we just had to visit.
We arrived early, just past the hour (it opens at ten.) Already a small crowd of people had begun to arrive and eagerly descend upon the patch. As we wandered through the entrance the inviting smell of hot, sugared doughnuts and sizzling sausages wafted on the breeze, luring us in. It was a strange sort of day with that unpredictable October weather; the wind was whipping up the dried dirt ferociously, black clouds looming ominously ahead…yet it was really rather warm.
Undley Pumpkin Patch has lots on offer – food vans and stalls selling everything from sweet pumpkin pie with cream to a traditional hog roast, circus-style tents with face painting, craft stalls and story-tellers, donkey rides, a maize maze, huge inflatable obstacle courses and even a bouncy castle shaped like a pumpkin.
We headed to the patch first.
Upon entering the patch we were rewarded with a glowing, orange sea of pumpkins – stretching out as far as the eye could see, I couldn’t quite believe it; thousands upon thousands still attached to the pumpkin plants, just waiting to be picked. Later I read online that there are over 20 varieties of pumpkin growing there.
We grabbed a wheelbarrow and began our walk around the patch.
As we walked around the patch the sun broke through the clouds and our strange Autumn day began to feel more like a Summers one. Even so early in the day the patch was busy with families – children eagerly picking out pumpkins far too large for little arms to carry and couples strolling side-by-side, wheelbarrows laden and heavy, gouging tracks in the baked dirt.
Children and adults alike had made an effort to dress accordingly, and it made me smile to see so many pumpkin-printed dresses and T-Shirts. I was quietly pleased with my own effort in donning my sparkly pumpkin brooch from Kimchi and Coconut.
It took us a leisurely hour to get around the pumpkin patch – pointing out potential pumpkins to take home with us and stopping to take photos of the more aesthetically pleasing varieties.
Once we had selected two perfectly formed pumpkins we headed over to the other side of the field where the ornamental gourds are grown. Or as I affectionately like to call them; the weirdo pumpkins.
At Foxes Farm the gourds are always sold in wooden crates that you’re encouraged to rummage around in, so I was, at first, a little disappointed to learn that there were no crates filled with freaky pumpkins for me to sift through. Instead Undley patch leaves them growing in their field, and you can wander around and pick your own in the same way you would a regular pumpkin.
This turned out to be my favourite part of the whole day. Walking around the gourd patch was such a fun experience because of the sheer variety of gourds peeking up and out from the ground, at every step you never knew what you’d find! Some were jet black (goth gourds) whilst others were a ghastly pale blue (corpse gourds) my favourites were the bobbly ones though as they seem to have the most character.
We even found a rather fun bird-shaped gourd. That one came home with us – at just four for £2 pounds it would be rude not to.
Once we’d loaded up our wheelbarrow with gourds and pumpkins we headed to the pay point. If you purchase pumpkins you’re given a little slip to put in a cauldron for your chance to win £1000.
After our walk around the patch we were feeling quite hungry so we stopped by the food vans. It was so hard to choose as everything looked and smelled wonderful – from sweets to savouries there was something for everyone. In the end Gareth opted for a hog roast in a bun whilst I went for a sausage with fried onions – not exactly healthy but very filling and reasonably priced!
We sat in the sunshine for awhile, observing the hustle and bustle of the day. We did briefly think about taking a walk around the Maize Maze but at £5 per head we decided we’d save that for another year.
Instead we rounded our morning up with a visit to the craft stall tent.
Inside the craft stall tent was a very talented gentleman carving pumpkins, face painters and stalls packed full of pumpkin and halloween-themed goodies for the home and garden. I was particularly intrigued by the lucky dip, but (reluctantly) left that one for the children.
On one stall a woman was selling the cutest little needle-felted mice, all wearing Halloween costumes or clutching pumpkins. I picked out an adorable little witch mouse with a broom as a souvenir.
Another stall was laden with delicious-looking chocolate rats, hot chocolate spoons, spooky covered oreos and chocolate pumpkins in white, brown and orange.
We had such a fun morning at the Undley pumpkin patch and were pleasantly surprised by how many different activities were on offer. Next year we will definitely return and maybe we’ll even tackle that maize maze!
Have you been to a pumpkin patch this year? If so, which one?