Category: Holidays

LOOKING FOR A FUN ACTIVITY WITH KIDS WHILE TRAVELING? – TRY STRAWBERRY PICKING

On a family holiday to London last month, we decided to try a fun activity for kids with a difference – Strawberry picking.  After much deliberation about where to go, we decided to go to a popular strawberry picking farm recommended by many friends – #Garsons picking farm in Esher in London (https://www.garsons.co.uk)

Brief history of  the Garsons Farm

A heritage business, the origins of the Garsons Picking Farm go all the way back to 1871. George Henry, the second son of Mary Thompson, farming in Hersham, took the opportunity to move to West End Village in 1871, starting the business as is now known as Garsons.

The mixed farm gradually specialised in vegetable production, selling to greengrocers through the Borough Market by London Bridge. Following 100 years of successful marketing to London greengrocers the 1970’s heralded the rise of the Supermarkets and a great change in food marketing. Garson Farm was left out in the rush to procure cheap food from international suppliers. The family’s response to this was to produce a broader range of fruit and vegetables for the closest of customers and sell it all retail. Hence the horticultural business you see today after nearly 30 years of Pick Your Own.

(*picture and info courtesy Garsons website)

Garsons Farm - Picking since 1871

 

Our day at the Farm

We left in the morning for our picking adventure to ensure we had ample time to check out the farm at leisure. Our self-drive to Garsons Farm from London was about an hour and 45 minutes and we reached the farm to find a whole lot of people already present picking through the ‘fields’. On reaching the farm, we also realised that the farm offered many different “fields’ with different vegetables and fruits to choose from. Our favourites turned out to be potatoes (Indians love potatoes), corns, blueberries and strawberries and we started with corn and other vegetable fields. Fortunately, the weather was lovely and supported us with cool breeze and dark clouds and made the picking activity quite enjoyable.

We started with the corn and potato fields and enjoyed picking through the tall corn plants and digging the ground to look for potatoes.

Lovely corn fields at Garsons

 

Onion picking at Garsons

Onion picking at Garsons

Niece enjoying picking at the Farm

Niece enjoying picking at the Farm

 

How it works

Entry to the farm is free and bringing your own car is the best way to go around the farm. Once you have picked the fruits or vegetables you need, you can make payment at the Payment Counters located next to each field. Eating fruits or vegetables is not allowed and you can carry your own bags for the pickings, though you are provided with baskets in fruits and berries sections. All cars are checked at exit and therefore hiding strawberries is also not allowed :-)

Picking payments counter next to each field

Picking payments counter next to each field

 

Instructions for payment for your picking

Instructions for payment for your picking

Our favourite section at the Farm – Strawberry Picking

Finally, recapping the post with pictures of the field that we loved the most – Strawberry Field. As far as you could see, it was strawberries and strawberries all over. Kids in the family enjoyed this section the most and collected baskets and baskets of strawberries.  Hope you enjoyed reading this post and do try and visit Garsons whenever traveling to London.

Till then, Cheers and keep traveling,

PINKBIKER

Our favourite!!! Strawberry field

Our favourite!!! Strawberry field

 

Strawberry plants in rows

Strawberry plants 

Fresh, ripe strawberries

Fresh, ripe strawberries

***ends***

REVIEW: Hotel Lumbini, Leh ~ great location but not so great service.

This fall I visited one of my favourite travel destinations, Ladakh for a two weeks holiday. Ladakh is my absolute favourite (i visit every year) and generally speaking the hotels during my last few trips have been great. The service is excellent and local people are warm and friendly – always ready to help you with even the smallest request.
This was about to change this year. We were booked at Hotel Lumbini in Leh for a two day stay before heading onward to other places.
Hotel Lumbini, Leh

Hotel Lumbini, Leh

We reached our hotel at about 8.30 p.m. – after a long journey of 6 -7 hours from Jispa (a transit town between Manali and Leh). We were tired and hungry after the long rocky ride and were keen to have our dinner and a good night’s sleep. To our dismay, soon after reaching, we got a “coldish, rude” reception from the manager at the desk. instead of offering water to the guests, the manager was keen on first rattling out the “do’s and don’ts of Leh”. I agree it was important to inform the guests of travel tips but something like this could be taken care of after serving basic refreshments to guests. Finally, after the “class” was over, we headed to the dinner area which was average in collection and range both. What a downer. (My suggestion here is to check out the bakeries which are right next to the hotel and some restaurants just a little further on the road. You can also visit the small restaurant just opposite the hotel which serves amazing potato momos. Food is pretty good at this restaurant too.)
The disappointment did not end there. We checked into our room, a suite, (since couple of us were sharing the room)- and it hardly looked like a suite. Other than the beds makeover, the suite looked desparately in need of some care and attention. The bathroom was huge but poorly maintained with a broken bathtub. This is going to get better I hoped to myself but not really. The service was okay with some helpers very prompt and efficient and others looking as if they were woken up from sleep. Mixed bag.
The biggest downer was the wi-fi. The signal did not reach many rooms, so you had to stand on the stairs close to the reception to get a little bit of network. Since Leh is only one of the few cities to get internet, i assume this would be a critical requirement among guests. The Manager (my favourite by now) – was not too willing about sharing the password. I wasnt going to have any of that and needled him till he gave it to me. Phew, at least some good news – internet yay!!
The other good thing about the hotel or our room was the view from the balcony. It was a view to die for and I could live here for days just to enjoy my morning tea with that view. See my morning tea view below :)
Morning tea and this view :-)

Morning tea and this view from balcony :-)

A rainbow to accompany the tea :-)

A rainbow to accompany the tea :-)

Overall, i couldnt figure out, with an excellent location and ready hotel structure, why did the owners do such a poor job with management & service? I would really like to come and stay at the hotel again only if some of the basic things were right. And that remains to be seen i guess. Also heard that the hotel / property belongs to one of the most influential families in Leh and hope that they will do something about it.
Keep smiling & traveling!
Megha
Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.
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