Where to pick your own in Suffolk & Cambs
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 to 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 straw hats, grab the children and head to the fields.
We love a bit of wholesome rural fun here at Muddy and — as luck would have it — there are a fair few PYO farms to choose from. Time to break out your inner Milly-Molly-Mandy, clear out some fridge space, and pick some darned delicious in-season fruit.
FRIDAY STREET FARM, near Aldeburgh
Friday Street’s hot on hand-picked strawberries with five varieties to choose from, though there are raspberries too it you want to go crazy and mix things up. The good news? They’re in enormous polytunnels, so even if the weather’s bad you can still PYO with abandon. Handily situated close to the A12, if you don’t have time/can’t be bothered with the hassle of PYO fear not, there are plenty of freshly filled punnets at the well-stocked farm shop (along with homemade jams and seasonal veg) for that just-plucked-from-the-field taste.
BURY LANE FARM, near Royston
It feels like there’s miles of pick your own strawberries at this well-organised farm which, alongside all the fruity fun, has the added attraction of a decent butchers, fishmongers and cafe (for you) and a soft play barn and man-made beach (for them). It’s also a good choice if any members of the family can’t/refuse to bend down for hours, as there’s plenty of produce on table tops – it’s summer time and the pickings are easy. Bonus points for punnets which are 100% recyclable, though you can bring your own containers too.
GOSLINGS FARM, near Felixstowe
The big one of the bunch, Goslings has more than 30 polytunnels bursting with strawberries and raspberries. When you’ve reached peak picking, take a breather at the Garden Café, then head outside to stock up on blackberries, red currants, pears and blueberries. They take PYO seriously here, there’s even a timeline on the website showing what to pick when (cherries peak in July guys, get down there asap!). Situated off the A14, it’s a good idea to book in advance as things will have hotted up now school holidays have started.
DAWSON’S FARM, near Huntingdon
More of a rustic, laid-back vibe at this little place which has four varieties of strawberries to be plucked over the season, including a mega large, sweet type called marshmello which will appeal to kids (seriously, some of them are the size of your palm). You don’t have to book and it’s open 3-6.30pm Mon-Fri and then over the weekend 10am-4pm. A small variety of cakes (the lavender muffins are pretty special) and drinks are available for hungry and thirsty workers.
HIGH HOUSE FRUIT FARM, Woodbridge
Strawberries, cherries and plums are in abundance at this picturesque, organic, family-run farm, with apples ready to harvest in the autumn. Anything you don’t pick gets sent to nearby suppliers or squished into the farm’s own-brand juices and jams, which you can buy in the small on-site shop. It’s close to the coast, so make a day of it and visit nearby Orford Ness and if you get carried away and the kids become obsessed with PYO, there’s a campsite and holiday cottage too.
HILL FARM, near Chesterton
Punnets at the ready because gooseberry-picking is in full swing until mid July at this farm, so hotfoot it down there asap if you love this sweet soft fruit. Other PYO produce season right now are: strawberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, raspberries and flowers. On a hillside overlooking Peterborough, Hill Farm’s a good ‘let’s keep various ages occupied for a couple of hours’ option during the summer holidays, with a decent-sized playground, small cafe and farm shop (leave with the chutney if nothing else), and friendly border collie Beau to pet. No need to book for mid-week PYO (Tues-Fri), but you’ll need to bag a slot in advance for a weekend visit.
JUST OVER THE BORDER…
HITCHIN LAVENDER, Hertfordshire
You know, the place where everyone Instagrams themselves in the middle of 30 acres of lavender fields every summer? This is it. You can’t pick fruit but you can pick up wildflowers, sunflowers, lavender and more followers.
PARK FRUIT FARM ORCHARDS, near Frinton-on-Sea, Essex
Seasonal fruit and the seaside, what more do you possibly need when it comes to a day out?