Autumn is here and with that, the colour of the trees is changing, leaves are falling and pumpkins appear on supermarket shelves en masse.

But what if you don’t want to buy your pumpkins at Tesco, Morrisson’s or Lidl? Did you know that you can “pick your own” pumpkins? There are quite a few pumpkin patches in and around Sussex and I went to one that’s literally outside my door in Worthing: Sompting Pumpkins.

My top 7 things to do at Sompting Pumpkins

Imagine a field full of pumpkins. Scarecrows guarding the harvest while the sun is shining. That’s literally how it was!

Last weekend literally couldn’t have been a better time for Sompting Pumpkins to open their PYO pumpkin patch for the season. And since I’d never been, I enjoyed it probably just as much as my friend’s kids I went there with.

1. Stroll the Pumpkin Patch

Obviously the heart of Sompting Pumpkins. The whole field is prepared lovingly by the family who runs the Lychpole Farm. There are over 20 varieties of pumpkins in all different shapes and sizes to discover and pick. There are some as tiny as a toddler’s hand and some as big as a medicine ball.

Access to the field is completely free. There’s a big car park with staff helping with parking and getting around.

On entry, you’re greeted and encouraged to take a wheelbarrow and start your picking tour.

You could probably spend an hour walking the field and choosing your favourite pumpkins to take home, it’s really beautifully done. Massive scarecrows add to the atmosphere and a pumpkin hut serves as a sun shield, a hideout, a photo op, and a pumpkin exhibition.

2. Visit Agnes the Sompting Witch

One of the best instalments on the field was a little hut with a witch and a puzzle. A sign at the house tells you all the things you can find inside – it’s been done with so much love and attention. I was really impressed and my friend’s kids loved the witch’s house!

3. Take a Tractor Ride

Sadly we missed the tractor – with a poorly toddler we didn’t want to wait and join the queue for the tractor but I can imagine that sitting up high and exploring the fields and the farm from a new perspective would be an amazing treat for your kids. It’s totally free to go on the tractor ride by the way.

4. Buy a pumpkin (or 10)

Obviously, this is the main goal – bringing home some delicious, locally grown pumpkins. The staff will measure your picks by size with pricing starting from as little as £1.

And the best thing is that the owners of the farm obviously know best how to prepare their fruit and share their favourite recipes with you. There are some printouts to take photos of on the field and a few more suggestions are on the Sompting Pumpkins website.

But make sure you leave a few pumpkins to make some Halloween decorations!

5. Take a family photo with the most photogenic scarecrows

This suggestion might surprise you, coming from a documentary family photographer but I understand that sometimes we just want a standard posed group shot and that’s totally fine. Even during my documentary family photo sessions, I ask if that’s something you’d want. Most of my clients aren’t fussed about it but if you have a prop like these fantastic fellas on the patch, how could you not take a group shot?

6. Have a snack

We all know coffee is a must – and that’s absolutely taken care of by one of the vendors. But if you hang around long enough with your family, you might get hungry too.

I’m not sure if the food vendors change every weekend but the burger and BBQ street vendor Ditch Brisket really impressed my foodie friends with their burgers. There are other vendors too offering loaded fries by Worthing-based company Summit Tasty, Pizza, ice cream, soft drinks and pastries.

7. Halloweeny Facepainting for your kids

My friend’s son picked a zombie face and his little sister got scared and worried about what was being done to her big brother. That’s how amazing the face paint looked!

Pink’s paints are set up in the marquee where you can hide from the weather if needed and sit down to enjoy your food while your kid gets a scary makeover for £5.

As you can see, you don’t have to spend a tonne for a fun day out. The prices at the farm haven’t changed in the past 2 years (as I’ve been told) to make sure this is a day out that stays affordable for local families.

Sompting Pumkins is just by the A27 on the way from Brighton to Worthing. It’s super accessible, free to enter with free parking. They are open every weekend until the end of October – ready to pick up your Halloween decorations! Gates open at 10am and close at 4.30pm. Last entry is at 4pm.

Would you love to visit a pumpkin patch or a enjoy different family day out and have your own photographer document the day? That way you don’t have to worry about taking any photos yourself and instead can be fully present with your children. If that sounds like something you’d love to do, get in touch, and let’s chat about your next favourite family day out!

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