Hallowe'en is nearly upon us and what better way to welcome in the spooky celebration than with a visit to a pumpkin patch? 

Not only are pumpkin patches fun for all the family and the ideal place to find the strangest, wartiest and most unique pumpkins - they are also prime for photo opportunities meaning you can leave with a new Instagram photo.

The American tradition of visiting a pumpkin patch started in the 1920s and has slowly moved across the pond in more recent years. 

With many celebrations unable to go ahead this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, this tradition is something we're lucky enough to still be able to enjoy.

Here are some of the best pumpkin patches in and around Southend:

Christmas Farm, Battlesbridge 

Halstead Gazette:

Synonymous with families across the region as the place to go for pumpkin picking, Christmas Tree Farm is open once again for family-fun. 

There are thousands of pumpkins to be picked across the 40-acre plot and come in many different colours including red, white, blue and orange of course.

The majority of pumpkins range between £0.50 - £3, with the larger ones at around £5.

Hurley's pumpkin forest at Christmas Farm is open until October 31 between 9am and 5pm and pre-booking is essential for entry. 

Covid safety meaures include following wearing a mask and following social distancing guidelines.

Foxes Farm Produce, Basildon 

Foxes Farm Produce is a family farm, run by husband and wife Guy and Emily who launched their pumpkin patch to the public back in 2015. 

They have PYO pumpkin patches in Basildon and Colchester which are open until the end of October where you can go to the field and pick your own pumpkin.

When you visit be sure to watch out for some famous faces, last year Denise Van Outen and Alison Hammond from ITV's This Morning visited.

Entry to the pumpkin patches must be pre-booked via their website. 

Pumpkin Picking Village, near Marsh Farm

Around 20 minutes outside of Basildon you can find the Pumpkin Picking Village near Marsh Farm. 

The pumpkin patch is open from 11am to 5pm daily and entrance must be pre-booked, tickets do not include entry to Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park - but why not make a day of it and visit there too?

If you're looking for something a bit extra why not try one of the pumpkin picking nights which run until October 31 - apparently the pumpkin patch glows in the moonlight.

Along with the extra activities available there is also a 'pumpkin courtyard' with Hallowe'en themed food and drinks as well as photo backdrops. 

Will you be visiting a pumpkin patch before Hallowe'en? Let us know in the comments.