We had a great day at Spilmans Farm Pumpkin Fest this year! This fabulous pumpkin fest takes place at Spilmans Farm, near Thirsk in North Yorkshire. The annual Halloween inspired event runs from the end of September until the 31st October, most years.
This year, we went on the Saturday before Halloween. Thankfully, it wasn’t too busy. 2023 was our third visit to Spilmans Pumpkin Fest.
Our first visit was during the thick of the Covid outbreak in 2020 with our first 2 kids, then again in 2022 with 3 kids, and this year in 2023 with 4 kids!
This year we took 4 adults and our 4 children aged 7, 4, 2, and 2 months.
How does the pumpkin fest work?
The way it works is that you book and pay for tickets online. Pick up your tickets on arrival and receive a £5 voucher to spend on activities and pumpkins. You get a stamp card upon entry and each activity costs you a stamp or more on your card.
Some of the activities aren’t included in the card system, so make sure you bring some cash for these.
The right clothing and footwear are essential. Warm layers, possibly a waterproof layer, and welly boots, are all recommended.
Grab yourself a wheel barrow to load your pumpkins into!
This year (2023) we were greeted by the very charming and beautiful Pumpkinella, who slipped me a few chocolate pumpkin treats for my kids for later. She’s so cute!
Hi, Pumpkinella! Thanks for the warm welcome!
Spilmans Farm Pumpkin Fest activities
Undoubtedly the best bit part about Spilmans Pumpkin Fest! There are a staggering 125,000 pumpkins at the event.
Getting out in the fresh air, seeing how pumpkins are grown, and choosing your own pumpkins to take home are what this event’s all about.
There are so many pumpkins, gourds, and squashes to choose from, and you’ll find them in the fields and displayed around the farm.
You wouldn’t need to get muddy in the pumpkin patch if you didn’t want to! Some of the best pumpkins can be found displayed around the Pumpkin Fest area.
I believe that many of the pumpkins at the pumpkin farm are actually grown there, because I found lots of trailing tendrils and even some pumpkins still growing in the ground!
But I think Spilmans add extra pumpkins too, which gives us all kinds of colours, varieties, and sizes. You’ll find orange, green, white, and large, medium, and small pumpkins. There are Jack O’Lantern type pumpkins, but also the very cute little munchkin pumpkins.
The pumpkins are graded according to size and have different prices.
Compared with supermarkets, the pumpkin prices are quite high. However, you can pay for your pumpkins with your ticket stamps. We actually left with credits on our stamp card and could’ve picked up more pumpkins included in the ticket price.
Don’t forget to use the pumpkin washing station on the way out!
The barrel train is new for 2023, and our kids absolutely loved it! The fun ride takes little ones through the crop fields on a bumpy adventure!
Both my kids came off the barrel train beaming! Must be 6 or above.
The fairground rides are paid for separately. Older kids will love the aeroplanes and waltzer fairground rides. My daughters’ loved the hook a duck, and came away with two lovely prizes for a reasonable price.
We also went on the tea cups. Lydia was scared to go on, so Dad went on with her. Cara and Lydia cost £3, Dad cost £2. It was £8 well spent to see Lydia’s little face light up as she span around!
Cara had so much fun on this one – £3 got her 4 slides.
She definitely had way more than 4 slides, but the owner didn’t seem to mind. How generous!
There are so many photo opportunities to be had at the pumpkin fest.
There are old trailers loaded with pumpkins.
And funny faces you can stick your head through.
The giant spiders made out of hay bales are superbly scary!
And hay bales make a magnificent backdrop.
A photo of your family inside the pallet arch adorned with so many spooky Jack O’Lanterns is definitely one you’ll want on your Instagram.
There are plenty of photo opportunities available for you to take memorable shots with your family.
Pumpkin carving barn
Checking in at the pumpkin carving barn is a lovely way to spend your stamps.
It’s all under cover and you get a bucket and tools to carve your new pumpkins.
It’s a great way of avoiding all the mess that occurs when you carve your pumpkins at home.
The tent is filled with inflatables and other fun things to keep smaller children entertained while the older kids carve their Jack O’Lantern.
The older kids loved clambering up this giant hay bale stack.
It’s a great antidote to being cooped up in the car for 30 minutes and burned up a lot of the kids’ energy.
Big tractor ride
A big tractor with a covered trailer gives visitors a guided tour of the farm.
We’ve done this on previous years. It’s a really nice way to learn more about Spilmans Farm and the produce they grow.
You can also go and pick strawberries in summer, and Spilmans hold Christmas events, too.
Okay, not an attraction as such but definitely keeping many little ones entertained!
Definitely bring a change of clothes just in case.
My almost 5 year old was terrified on this. Actually, I was scared too as it’s so dark and filled with fake smoke. I couldn’t tell where to go, and I couldn’t see the floor. Not good with a baby in a carrier. Hopefully this will improve at Pumpkin Fest events.
There’s a corn cannon. For some reason it’s the one activity we haven’t tried at Spilmans Farm. I think it’s probably better suited to older kids and adults only. Well, there’s always next year!
Giant pipe rolling
New for 2023, but we’ve not tried this one. It sounds intriguing!
Live stage show
I’ll be honest, our kids rarely have the patience for sitting still when there are so many other fun things to do, so we never made it to this tent for the live stage show. Next year we’ll do it and I’ll update you here!
There’s a farm shop on site, but we haven’t visited it yet.
Food at Spilmans Farm Pumpkin Fest
The event is really well catered. We had the usual fairground food, but there was also a Greek food truck selling gyros.
There’s also a popup bar and a cute donut and candy stall. The fresh wood fired pizza kitchen was tempting, but we’ve yet to try it.
There’s a perfectly acceptable male and female toilets – however there are no baby changing facilities. Had any of our little ones needed a change, it’d be a back of the car situation!
What is parking like?
Parking is really easy and well signposted. The roadway is easy to drive on and we didn’t get stuck in mud despite heavy rainfall from storm Babet the night before.
Can I take a pushchair?
We don’t take take a pushchair to this event. If you have a baby or younger toddler, I recommend taking them in a baby carrier, because there’s a lot of mud.
You probably could push a pushchair around the gravelled tracks, but to fully enjoy everything you’ll get around easier with a baby carrier.
Is the event dog friendly?
No, Spilmans Farm doesn’t permit dogs so it’s best to leave your pet at home.
Final thoughts on Spilmans Farm Pumpkin Fest
Spilmans Farm Pumpkin Fest is a fabulous day out – it’s both educational and fun. It’s great to be outdoors and it’s okay even in the rain, since many activities are covered.
The pumpkins are expensive but the ticket price, I feel, is great value for money. You’re getting a whole day out and we always come away from Spilmans Farm tired yet happy!
Visit spilmans.co.uk for more information.
Have you visited Spilmans Farm? Where is your favourite pumpkin picking patch? Let me know in the comments.
PS: if you’re looking for Halloween recipe ideas to try with toddlers, then see my previous post.
Until next time!