My parents always like to tell the story about how my mum went into labour with me in a strawberry field. Back in the long hot summer of ’83, I decided to make my way into the world while they were picking strawberries – perhaps somehow aware of the delicious berries just outside. I’ve always been obsessed with strawberries, they are by far my most favourite food on this planet and I think picking your own fruit is one of the nicest activities to do with kids. Luckily there are a few places to go strawberry picking in Bristol (although my favourite, Chosen Farm, has just closed – gutted!), take a look at this little lot:
Strawberry picking Bristol
St Aldams, based near the village of Pucklechurch (about 20 minutes from central Bristol) has been going for 30 years. Strawberry picking starts mid-June. Enter the nursery via a winding track with views overlooking South Gloucestershire countryside, go through reception to pick up a box before passing the polytunnels filled with flowers to the fir tree-lined strawberry fields. They also offer gooseberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants (late June), raspberries (mid-July), plus veg from August.
If you prefer to save your back and pluck those succulent ruby red strawbs from a tabletop growing system Wotton Farm Shop is the fruit picking place for you. About a 30-minute drive from Bristol, they offer Pick Your Own (PYO) on a variety of summer fruits – ‘Sonata’ strawberries, tayberries, Gooseberries, blackcurrants,red currants, plums, broad beans and Raspberries, which usually begins mid-June. Once you’ve gathered and purchased your crop, you can taste your goodies on picnic tables with beautiful views outside the shop.
Daily picking until 4.30pm Monday – Saturday and 3pm Sunday. Avoid disappointment and check ahead before making the journey by calling 01453 521546 for an update and availability.
For more strawberry picking quite close to Bristol, Primrose Vale Farm Shop is about a 40 minute drive from the city, but those berries are worth it right?! Strawberry picking here is a pretty affair, the fields are surrounded by trees, the odd hill in the background and the strawberries here are also grown on raised platforms, making them easy to pick and slug/bug free. As well as strawberry picking, there are lots more other fruit and veg to pick – see the timetable on their website for a rough idea of when you can snap up various produce.
Strawberry picking near Bristol
Spread over many acres, Lotmead is on the Wanborough Road just outside Swindon, roughly 50 minutes from Bristol. A great one for families thanks to the childrens’ adventure playground (for which there is a charge of £2 for kids aged 5 years and over), small animal enclosure, fairy parlour, nature trail and bird hide.
There’s also an onsite café and farm shop for snacks and drinks, homemade cakes and ice creams. As well as strawberries, there’s a wide variety of fruit and veg to pick – call their answerphone on 01793 790137 to find out exactly what they’ve got before you visit.
This family-run farm has been going for over 30 years and is located, one mile from the city if Gloucester, about 50 minutes north of Bristol. Strawberry picking is due to start from 14 June, with raspberries and blackberries available from mid-July (check their website for updates).
If you’re off to collect those fruity treats, be sure to re-use Your PYO bucket and you’ll get 50p off your pickings. After gathering your strawberries, don’t miss the farm animals in the adjoining paddocks – there are pigs, ostriches, chickens, ducks, sheep, donkeys, ponies and a goat, which you can feed with food available to buy from the shop.
They’ll also be running a Family Farm Summer Trail during the summer holidays and open air theatre performances on 1, 2 and 3 August.
Around an hour south of Bristol, this fruit growing farm is run by the Quick family who have farmed on the foothills of the beautiful Quantocks for much of the last century. They grow several varieties of strawberries throughout the season (and are hoping to open on 20 June 2019), plus gooseberries, raspberries, loganberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, rhubarb, broad beans and potatoes.
Of course the availability of the fruit is subject to England’s variable seasons, so check their website/contact them beforehand for timings and to check what’s on offer.
Hendrewennol, meaning ‘home of the swallows’, is a family business that has been going since 1978. A PYO soft fruit farm based in the Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales, this strawberry picking site is about an hour’s drive away from Bristol, but it’s got all the goods to make a great family day out.
There’s a rustic kids’ play area with sand pit, willow domes, hay bale hill and huge, seasonal Maize Maze (which will be having a rest in 2019, with a Green Island Treasure Trail in its place), as well as a cafe and gift shop. And, in terms of fruit and veg picking, you can pluck most of the usual suspects as well as daffodils, blueberries and pumpkins in season.
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