baby and toddler activities, festivals and events

Arnprior Pumpkins

An autumn event which I’ve been eager to attend for a few years now is the Arnprior Pumpkins event on Arnprior farm, just outside Stirling. I’d passed the farm many times when travelling to uni (longer ago than I’d like it to be), so it’s great to see the farm offer something for the community and wider public, and even better to watch this event bloom and grow over the last few years.

Welcome-to-arnprior-pumpkins

What’s on offer?
As the title suggests, there are a lot of pumpkins. Essentially a pumpkin picking trip, Arnprior Pumpkins has evolved over the years, to a full scale event with food, beverage and more family friendly activities. Plus it’s a super insta experience for those who have an eye for the ‘gram.

This year, in addition to the pumpkin picking and selfie hotspots (there are hay sofas, selfie frames, giant letters and pumpkins with face holes specifically for snapping, never mind anything else) there was a kale maze, encouraging kids to explore and find the hidden pumpkins within it. Unfortunately it was far too muddy when we went (on the first day too!) And if it had been sticky mud we would have been fine but it was soooooo slippy and dad only had trainers on!

Arnprior-pumpkins-selfies

Plus the veg picking has expanded from pumpkins of all shapes and sizes to potato picking, and the chance to pull your own turnip too!

There are hot food and beverage stalls catering for hot drinks, gin drinks, burgers, pizza and churros. On the subject of food, there’s also a bakers stall in the tent and a table selling fresh farm produce.

Inside the tent is where you pay for your pumpkin, and on the way to the till there are various craft tables, with the opportunity to colour in pumpkins, create puppets and make your own badges to take home. Around the crafty areas there are stalls of handmade items such as halloween decorations, candles and more autumnal goodies. Handily, there are also pumpkin carving sets on offer for a couple of pounds too.

How much does it cost?
Entry is £5 per car, so great value if you want to go as a family. The fiver also gives you a token towards the cost of a pumpkin, meaning if you choose a small pumpkin its essentially free. Pumpkins range in price from a tiny munchkin at £1.50 to a big daddy xl at £12. We opted for a medium (still pretty big!) and a carving set, costing us a further £5.

Arnprior-pumpkins-price-list

Prices for food and drink stalls vary, starting at a couple of pounds for a hot chocolate. Other picking veg ranges from £1.50 to £4, whilst the quad pod rides are just £1 per child.

When can I go?
The tickets are selling out fast, but there are three sessions per day on the weekends throughout the month, plus weekday sessions throughout half term. For those without kids (how did you end up here?) or of a more romantic persuasion, there’s also a date night session, but you might be lucky to get a space. Check out the Arnprior Pumpkins ticket site for more information and to book your car ticket.

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baby and toddler activities, festivals and events

Autumn Events

I used to think summer was my favourite season, but I think autumn is a new contender as I get older. Whilst I’ll always love shorts-weather and getting outside in the warm summer air for games, walks and even paddling with the wee man, there’s definitely something to be said for the magic of autumn, as the leaves change colour and the anticipation of Halloween and Guy Fawkes night gets us excited.

Plus, Travis’ birthday is in October, so that brings even more joy to autumn! It seems like there are more and more great things to do with kids in autumn (or maybe I just never noticed them before?) And as a famous comedian once said, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes! So grab your coat and wellies and see if you can get along to any of these events:

*once I have previewed or reviewed each event I’ll share a link to it below*

Ardardan Scarecrow Festival
A community celebration, held across the weekend of 28th-29th September involving local groups, schools etc. creating their own scarecrow to be displayed throughout the farm over the weekend. The festival is free to attend, as is the scarecrow trail, but there are additional extras such as tractor rides and inflatables for the little ones.

The Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry
This one has been on my bucket list for some time. Quite pricey at £20 per adult, I’ve heard it’s worth the price tag for this immersive light show experience. This year’s theme is Cosmos, capturing everything from astrology to astronauts and all that lies between here and space. Runs from 3rd October to 3rd November, however its hugely popular and many dates and time slots are already sold out.
Get your tickets here.

Loch Lomond Scary Faerie trail
We’ve been on the faerie trail before, during summer, so this sounds like a nice wee variation on the classic 2km trail. It’s a bit pricier than the regular trail, but for an extra couple of pounds (£6.50) you get to enjoy a spooky version of the trail, which we’re assured isn’t too scary for the little ones! For added Halloween fun, go around 4pm and take a torch with you! Starting at Luss car park and going up through the glen and back down, there are some cracking views to be had on this trail too. Runs from 1st to 31st October.
Get your tickets here.

Arnprior Pumpkins
Another autumn event which I’ll be attending for the first time this year. Opening on Saturday 12th October through Sunday 27th October this year, Arnprior Pumpkins, located in the countryside outside Stirling, is a great family experience with pumpkin picking, kale maze, quad pods and more. It’s also really good value for money – just £5 gives you entry for one car full of eager autumn lovers, and also entitles you to £5 to redeem against a pumpkin (if you pick a small pumpkin, essentially that’s free with your ticket!). The 2 hour session slots are also ideal time wise for younger kids so as not to encroach on napping, eating and the usual routine.
Get your tickets here.

The A-scarium at Lomond Shores
One of our favourite haunts (pardon the pun) is the Sea Life Aquarium at Loch Lomond Shores, as it’s so close to home. One thing we love about it is the fact they do frequent themed activities throughout the year, and this Halloween, they have the Ascarium (see what they did there?!). Running from 12th October to 3rd November, the Ascarium is included in the price of a regular ticket, so under 3s get in free. Kids are invited to help the sea witch unlock the treasure chest by paying close attention to each tank and completing activities on their way through the aquarium.
Get your tickets here.

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baby and toddler activities, festivals and events

Ardardan Scarecrow Festival

We love Ardardan Estate for a visit on a (dry) day, so we are super excited to go to the scarecrow festival this weekend.

I’d never heard of a scarecrow festival before, and if it wasn’t held at Ardardan I’m not sure how appealing I would have found it. I had visions of multiple scarecrows being burned guy fawkes style – thankfully my macabre imagination was wrong!

The festival is a community celebration, with local groups, schools etc. Creating and sending in their own scarecrow to be displayed over the weekend. No burning involved!

The scarecrows entered are then dotted around the woodland trail on the farm, which is a nice wee walk with a toddler on a regular day, never mind when there are fun and fancy scarecrows to spot! The whole community involvement is something I really like, knowing that time and effort has been put into each scarecrow by those groups who have entered, whether a primary school class, community group or workplace.

In addition to magnificent scarecrow spotting, the farmer’s tractor Archie will be out taking people on tractor rides at set times throughout the day. There’s a cost of £4 per person to go on the ride but I imagine it would be worth it for the full farm experience. Although there’s no option to book and pay online, you’re advised to call the team at Ardardan to reserve a space.

Younger kids will have a ball with inflatables in the walled garden area, which also comes with a charge of £4. Fingers crossed the weather holds up to be able to make the most of this!

All of Ardardan’s staple farm shop, tea room, garden store and trails will be open and available as usual. From duck racing to fresh farm shopping and home-made cake-eating, it’s an autumn event I’m really looking forward to. Stay tuned for scarecrow pictures after the event – or check out my Instagram story on Sunday!