Family Day Out Review: Graveley Fruit Farm, Graveley
Graveley Fruit Farm, Graveley
Value For Money10.0/10
Variety Of Activities8.0/10
Things We Like
- More than just fruit picking - i.e. playground, sand pit, pigs and tractor rides
- Free entry - only pay for the fruit you've picked
- Fruit is in polytunnels which help to protect you from the weather
- Strawberries are grown higher up, which make them easier to pick
Things We Dislike
- Fruit picking lanes aren't very accessible with a pushchair
- Availability of fruit can fluctuate
What’s It All About?
Graveley Fruit Farm near Hitchin, Hertfordshire offers pick your own fruit during the summer months from their two acres of polytunnels which house fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants. What’s more, there’s also a cafe, a decent outdoor play area, tractor rides and pigs, which help to make it a fun place to visit for a few hours with the family.
What Do We Think?
Fruit picking is something we aim to do every year as a family. It’s a fun, different and tasty activity to do with the kids, plus gives them the chance to learn a bit more about where there food comes from. We’ve visited a couple of different pick your own fruit farms over the years, however we decided to try out Graveley Fruit Farm near Hitchin this year – mainly because it offered more than just fruit picking.
We headed over to Graveley Fruit Farm in mid-July and found that they had plenty of strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants to pick. As the available fruit is dependent on the season and how many people have already visited, it’s always worthwhile checking before you set off that there’s still unpicked fruit. Graveley Fruit Farm’s Facebook page provided up-to-date details as this wasn’t available on their website.
On arrival, you follow the signs and park up in a large car park – we managed to get a spot pretty easily, although it was quite busy as there was a car boot sale happening in the field next to the farm. We arrived around half an hour after opening time and found the cafe / playground area to be busy, however the fruit picking was fine.
To get to the fruit picking, you follow the gravel path passed the cafe and play area, then take a left as you walk through a gate. You’ll see a shed where you pay for the fruit once you’ve picked it, then a little hut on the right where you can pick up your chosen container – either a large, green basket (holds up to 3kg) or a smaller, clear punnet (holds up to 500g). Obviously, you pay for what you pick, so the more fruit collected, the more expensive it will be.
Once you have your container, you follow the signs into the polytunnels where the strawberries and raspberries are grown. We noticed that probably half of the twenty polytunnels had already been ravished by previous visitors, but there was still plenty of fruit left for us. The polytunnels were a new experience – when we’ve fruit picked previously, it’s usually been out in open fields, however I guess the benefit of the polytunnels is that it protects from the weather – both when it’s really sunny and when it’s raining.
Something else that we’ve not seen before was that the strawberries are grown using a table top system rather than from the ground. This means that the strawberries are higher up, which saves you from having to bend down and arguably makes it easier for kids to look and pick the fruit as it’s at head height. We found the raspberries in the last of the polytunnels, then the blackcurrants / redcurrants through the other side of the polytunnels (however we didn’t pick any of the latter).
Something to mention about the polytunnels is that the lanes are quite narrow. They’re fine for walking down, but it would make accessibility a bit more challenging with a pushchair or wheelchair. You could probably just about manage if it was quiet, but it’d be more difficult if there were other people around. As such, we’re pleased that we chose to put our son in a baby carrier rather than take a pushchair.
We picked a nearly full punnet of strawberries and half a punnet of raspberries. This came to just shy of £4 when we came to pay at the shed (strawberries £5.25/kilo, raspberries £7.50/kilo, blackcurrants / redcurrants £4.90/kilo). I’m not sure if this is expensive or not for fruit, but it’s pretty cheap for a family activity. We also had no difficulty in finding plenty of ripe fruit and everything we ate was fresh, sweet and tasty.
Obviously the main attraction is the fruit picking, however there’s a couple of things that make Graveley Fruit Farm even better for kids. Firstly, there’s tractor and trailer rides – this costs £1.50 per person and takes you on a 15 or so minutes trek around the farm. There’s also a few pet pigs in a field which you can either look at or feed – you can buy some pig food from the hut near the fruit if you wish.
Then there’s the outdoor play area situated by the cafe. This includes a zip wire, a tractor, swings, a climbing frame, a tunnel and a seesaw plane, although it’s probably suited for children who are over 3 years old rather than babies and toddlers. During our visit, there was also a bit of a maze made from posts and ropes, as well as a few hay bales to climb on. Finally, there’s a large sand pit which was a huge hit – complete with buckets, spades, rakes, wheelbarrows and diggers, our daughter could have spent ages there!
We didn’t eat at the cafe so it’s difficult to comment on it, however we saw that they sell hot and cold drinks, snacks and ice-cream. You can also buy ready picked fruit from the cafe, but that kind of defeats the purpose of going fruit picking surely! There was plenty of bench seating outside (although it was full) and a few seats inside too I believe.
We spent a fun and enjoyable few hours at Graveley Fruit Farm. We went for the fruit picking, but were happy to see additional things available for the kids to do which made the journey worthwhile. We definitely plan to visit again next year once the fruit picking season starts.
What Does It Look Like?
What Do I Need To Know?
Address: Graveley Road, Graveley, Hitchin, SG4 7EH
Opening Times: Times vary on the season and the produce, but typically open multiple times per week from 9.30am to 5pm during June, July and August.
Price: Free entry. Pay for the fruit that you pick – strawberries £5.25 per kilo, raspberries £7.50 per kilo, blackcurrants / redcurrants £4.90 per kilo. Expect to pay around £3 for a 500g punnet.
Toilets: Yes. Male and Female toilets.
Cafe / Restaurant: Yes. Cafe serving food, drinks and snacks.
Parking: Yes. Free onsite parking.
Public Transport: Hitchin Train Station and Stevenage Train Station are both approx. 3.5 miles away.
Duration: 2 to 3 hours.
Age Range: Babies and Toddlers (0-3), Young Children (4-8), Older Children (9-12).
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