Review: Pumpkin picking at Cannon Hall’s Fest

Imogen Farah at the Pumpkin Festival
Imogen Farah at the Pumpkin Festival

I’ve never seen so many pumpkins all in one place – not since this time last year anyway!

Hundreds of pumpkins are spread out in every direction in the field at South Yorkshire’s Cannon Hall Farm. It’s a beautiful sunny October day – absolutely perfect for some pumpkin picking. Little people armed with wheel barrows march up and down the rows, selecting their favourite before taking it inside to the bustling Carving Station.

Imogen Farah at the Pumpkin Festival

Imogen Farah at the Pumpkin Festival

“This one daddy, help me!” squeals Immy as my four-year-old bounces excitedly on the grass next to a giant pumpkin. Daddy obligingly wrestles it into the wheelbarrow and we head to the tent, stopping along the way to take Immy’s picture with every spooky prop she spies. Once inside the tent we draw a face on the giant fruit before one of the farmers appears, armed and ready to carve. After ten more minutes of scooping, we leave the tent, the aroma of pumpkin-insides clinging to us, and with a new orange lantern that slightly resembles the great Tom Selleck.

We’re just in time to make it to Wizarding School in the nearby marquee, where we take our seats, and Immy sinks onto the giant mat with the other children, to make some potions and cast some spells with wizarding student Barry Potter, and his mentor, professor Mr Hogwart in a fantastic 20-minute show, which runs every hour throughout the weekends of the Pumpkin Fest.

Back outside, all the while gathering clues for Immy’s Halloween Spellbook Challenge, we head to the Forbidden Forest, which has spooky surprises around every corner. We count the broomsticks hidden in the trees, and consult with a nearby owl for the final clue, before visiting with Professor Monocle at Magic School to hand in her sheet, and collect a sweet treat.

As always, attention has been paid to every last detail of Cannon Hall’s latest seasonal celebration, and when we finally head back to the car, three hours after we arrived – with ice creams in hand, obviously – we have one very satisfied little witch.

The Pumpkin Festival will run on October 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31, giving young witches and wizards the chance to dabble in magic, spooky treats, and over 10,000 pumpkins throughout the festival’s run.

Visitors are also encouraged to wear fancy dress - and spot prizes will be offered by farm staff. Tickets include all day admission to the farm, outdoor adventure play, soft play, sheep and ferret racing, milking demos, tractor trailer rides, Shire horse talks and meerkat sessions.