Out and about in Kent; a visit to the Hop Shop at Castle Farm

We first visited the Hop Shop at Castle Farm in July when its fields were awash with purple bloom and the scent of lavender laced the air. It was a little part of Kent I had wanted to visit for some time as I had visions of my daughter and I skipping through a violet haze like we we’d been thrown back into Enid Blyton times. Of course, it is not like that. You are not at liberty to frolic about in the fields with gleeful abandon. It is much more orderly and British than that with little ‘do not walk in the lavender’ signs for good measure. Damn it, lol.

However, we had a jolly time eating lavender ice cream and drinking tea before joining the queue to get ‘the shot’ at the lavender bench. It was busy, it was hot, and as pretty as it was it is not a place I would visit with regularity as aside from the ‘instagramableness’ of the scenery there was not much to do there to keep a tween occupied for long.

However, I think my daughter and I have found the perfect season and reason to keep visiting this delightful little farm annually: late summer/autumn when the apple orchard opens. Who knew one of my five a day could get me so excited?! Turns out it can, and it did. The orchard is packed with apple trees at the perfect height for little hands to grab its fruit. And grab the child did!

Normally when amongst the fruit section of Asda I feel 6 apples in a plastic (booo!) packet is quite sufficient for me but when faced with an orchard full of apples so rosy-red Snow White would be salivating, suddenly I feel the need to buy 14 of them. I almost got sucked into buying a wicker basket and all because, you know: Instagram, but had a little word with myself and decided to save myself £13.

So, off we trotted and happily wiled away some time foraging amongst the trees to find the plumpest, shiniest apples. It was pretty quiet and the sun was out so, all in all, it was  blissful. Our apple bounty only set us back £4 (minus the ‘freebie’ apple the child may have sunk her teeth into on the way round!) and, much to my pleasure, the child gleefully announced she is no longer allergic to apples (she never was, I have no idea where this came from…). After we had loaded ourselves up with fruit, we had time for a quick dip into the gift shop (gotta love a gift shop; not so much the prices).


There was a beautiful array of pumpkins on offer but I had to drag the child away from trying to buy one of these “for Halloween” as I’m not quite ready to admit summer is over just yet! Then it was time to head back home like a couple of nesting pigeons ready for our slow cooker casserole and a home baked apple crumble made with our pickings (and it was absolutely delish, those apples were so tasty!). Hmm, maybe the trappings of Autumn aren’t so bad after all…

So, until next time (I’m off for seconds…)

The Sound of Motherhood 🙂


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