The Balloon Tree Farmshop and Cafe near York is our favourite place to pick your own fruit near us. Not only do they grow fabulous tasting fruit but they also have a wonderful on-site cafe with an outdoor play area for the kids. They have a range of seasonal PYO produce including strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, pumpkins, peas, broad beans and more.
They can get quite busy at weekends so if you want to visit to pick fruit on a Saturday or Sunday you must pre-book your slot online in advance, this also applies to school holidays during the week as well. They also have a fun new Jeep Ride, more about that below.
The Balloon Tree PYO Review
The Balloon Tree is well situated next to the A166. This is the main road from York to Bridlington and it’s just a short drive from Stamford Bridge. We visited on a Sunday so I’d pre-booked online. During their busy times, you reserve your time slot by paying £3 per person. You can then use the money you’ve paid against the purchase of your fruit.
When you arrive head for the kiosk by the PYO fields. Here you can pick up your punnets. They don’t allow you to mix their produce so if you are wanting a variety of things you will need to pick up a few punnets. It’s a good idea to ask first what they have available to pick and don’t worry you don’t have to fill your punnet as you are charged by weight.
I hope that they keep their kiosk as it’s really convenient for paying for your fruit and or veg before heading to your car.
They’ve conveniently placed the new Jeep ride next to the kiosk so that your kids can’t fail to spot it. We were happy to pay £3 a Jeep though as the tokens last for a good few laps and they’re big laps. The Jeeps don’t go particularly fast and you might want to check if your kids can see over the steering wheel before letting them drive. Younger kids will need to be accompanied but our tall 7-year-old went around by himself.
We headed straight for the raspberries which are right at the back of the main field. We visited in mid-July and we found plenty of strawberries and raspberries. It was a little harder to find the strawberries as they have a big choice of indoor and outdoor areas and they are all grown at different times but we found plenty in the end.
They are now growing their strawberries on what they are calling tables, these are both inside and outside. It is a good idea as it keeps the strawberries high up, the only downside is that toddlers will not be able to reach to pick some of the fruit without being lifted up. We found that the riper strawberries were higher up but I would imagine that this isn’t always the case.
They boast that their fruit tastes good and they aren’t kidding it really does. They have been growing soft fruit for over 20 years. Their crops are grown in soil rather than the artificial growing medium which is why it tastes so good.
A trip to the Balloon Tree wouldn’t be complete without visiting the cafe for some food and drinks. The cafe is open 7 days a week from 9 am until 6 pm and they serve breakfast until 11:30 am and then a lunch menu from 11:30 am until 6 pm.
They have lots of tables inside and outside but you will usually need to queue. You have to queue outdoors but they have a canopy to keep you dry if it’s raining. You can’t prebook but the queue does usually go down after a few minutes of waiting.
We prefer to visit on a nice weather day so that we can sit outside. We always request a table near the play area so our son can play while we can still see him. There’s a wooden tower with a slide, a wobbly bridge, a playhouse and a fun tractor with a slide for the kids to play on. They also have a coin-operated digger arm.
I apologise as I forgot to take photos of our food but it was very good. I had a coronation egg sandwich which was one of the tastiest sandwiches I’ve ever had. My Mum had roast beef as it was a Sunday and she was thrilled with it. My son had chicken strips which he also loved.
Please note you can only use the play area if you are a customer of the cafe. Visiting The Ballon Tree is certainly becoming an annual event for us and I can’t wait to return again soon. There is also a farm shop on-site.
The Balloon Tree FAQ & Further Information
Address: Stamford Bridge Rd, Gate Helmsley, York YO41 1NB, North Yorkshire
Category – Fruit Picking – Outdoors – Suitable for all ages.
What are the ticket prices?
There is no entrance fee. However, if you are visiting during the school holidays or at weekends for fruit picking you must pre-book a time slot online. This costs £3 per person and you can redeem this against the fruit you buy to take home with you.
What are the main facilities and things to do?
Large pick your own fruit and vegetable fields with strawberries, raspberries, pumpkins and more. There are toilets in the cafe with the use of the kid’s play area.
When are they open?
The cafe is open almost all year round, the fruit picking is seasonal.
Is there food available?
There is a cafe serving hot and cold food and drinks.
Is there parking?
There is free parking.
Are they dog friendly?
Dogs are welcome on a lead outdoors.
Are they accessible?
Please contact the venue,