Hello September, hello Autumn! Okay, so technically it’s not Autumn just quite yet, but let’s be honest: Autumn is the best season. Autumn brings a wealth of new activities and days out to consider: conker collecting, pumpkin patches and… pick your own apples! If you’re looking for Apple Picking in Kent, let me introduce you to the one and only Castle Farm!
I’d never gone apple picking before, so the second I saw Castle Farm advertising their PYO apple orchard on their Instagram page, I knew we had to take a family trip out. Sunshine, a cool breeze, a casual stroll and some fresh Norfolk Royal Apples… what a perfect Sunday morning indeed.
The Castle Farm PYO orchard is located just around the corner from The Hop Shop at Castle Farm. If you’re following a satnav or trusty Google Maps, use their main address (Castle Farm, Redmans Lane, Shoreham, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN14 7UB) and then follow the signs to ‘PYO apples’ – there’s a dedicated free car park. Do not park in The Hop Shop at Castle Farm car park, as they need to keep this free for the farm shop customers. Alternatively, park at Lullingstone Country Park and walk up.
When you arrive at the Castle Farm PYO apple orchard, you’ll be welcomed by staff who inform you all about the apples on offer: the rare and tasty Norfolk Royal Apples and Cox apples. What’s better than apple picking in Kent than apple picking rare apples?! You’ll also be talked through apple picking etiquette – who knew there were so many rules for polite apple picking. For example, it’s important to twist the apple, not pull, as pulling encourages other apples to fall from the tree. If any apples do fall from the tree – pick them up and buy them! Apples left on the floor will probably not be picked up by any other visitors and therefore will rot and be wasted, which is a huge shame – in this day and age food wastage is a big problem, let alone the financial loss that the farm will incur from this. After the last year we’ve had, it’s important to support small businesses and do our bit.
You can either take your own bags to collect the apples in (don’t forget to get it weighed at the cart first!) or buy a lovely wicker basket from the cart. In my opinion, if you want to do apple picking in Kent the true Kentish way, then a basket is a must. We took our trusty IKEA basket with us! They’re also selling other goods from the farm shop, so if you don’t have time to pop down to the main shop then you can still grab some essentials.
It’s free to enter the PYO orchard but your apples will cost you £2.50/kilo. We got about 8 apples for this price so it’s great value – if we go back again we’ll definitely pick up a lot more!
The Castle Farm Apple picking orchard is open 10am-5pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (weather permitting!) until the apples are picked out. If you can’t make it on these days, you can still get ready picked fresh apples from The Hop Shop at Castle Farm.
When you’re all done with your apple picking for 2021, don’t forget to visit the farm shop afterwards – The Hop Shop at Castle Farm have plenty on offer including a coffee cart (the cappuccinos are superb), lots of yummy cakes, lavender products, a good selection of meat and gifts and homeware. In the field behind the shop you might spot some cows – if you have an animal mad toddler like us then be sure to have a look for them!
Overall, we had such a lovely time making memories and would highly recommend Castle Farm Apple picking to any local families in Kent or apple lovers alike. The apples are super popular this year, so if you’re hoping to go apple picking in Kent in 2021, you best be quick!
PS – If you visit off the back of my recommendation, please tag me in your photos on Instagram and use the hashtag #JodetopiaInKent