My Family Getaway: Exploring the Franschhoek Valley
I am sure I have mentioned this little tidbit about myself in a few of my blog posts before but in case you do not remember, I will mention it again: I love visiting the Cape Winelands! And I specifically love visiting the Franschhoek Valley. It is my absolute happy place - a little country village with quaint shops, amazing art and masterful food, surrounded by imposing, yet beautiful mountains, and, best of all, a lot of wine farms. It will, therefore, come as no surprise that we spent our recent summer holiday in Franschhoek.
This village is famous for its selection of art galleries and top restaurants which can lend Franschhoek a bit of a ‘stiff-upper-lip’ feel (exactly the opposite type of place you would normally want to visit with kids), but although impeccable service, quality products as well as delicious food and wine are the norm here, I found numerous child-friendly things to do in the area. I was also pleasantly surprised by the fact that although some places were not child-friendly per se, they were always accommodating of, and friendly to, our loud and very active toddler. We always had a book and a ball with us as most farms and restaurants have large lawns and gardens, ideal for kids to run around on.
Here is my list of favourite activities in and around Franschhoek:
Child-Friendly Restaurants & Cafe’s
The Franschhoek Cellar
Situated on the main road, this wine cellar and restaurant is easily accessible by car or on foot and boasts a beautiful garden and courtyard with a fountain (which Bean loved). They have live music during the summer months and a shaded and enclosed kids' play area with childminders, ensuring that both adults and kids are entertained. The food is good and fairly priced.
Franschhoek Beer Co.
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Child-friendly Restaurant and Craft Beer Brewery Franschhoek: the Franschhoek Beer Co. . . Craft beer and gourmet style pub food while the kids play on the large grassy area and jungle gym - heaven :) The Cape Winelands have got the kid-friendly (and adult-friendly!) concept 100% right: the adults get to relax, eat delicious food, and enjoy great service while listening to their kids’ laughter as they play and go wild. . @thefranschhoekbeerco @franschhoek_sa . . . . . . #withkids #travelblogger #neverstopexploring #adventure #lifewithkids #wanderlust #flashesofdelight #awesomesouthafrica #bestvacation #travelblog #familyfriendlyza #familytravel #wowsouthafrica #travelwithkids #discoverctwc #mylifeinphotos #lifestyleblog #wedotourism #ilovesouthafrica #restaurant #restaurantreview #kidfriendly #playarea #craftbeer #franschhoek
The Village Grill and Butcher
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Kid-friendly Restaurant Franschhoek: Village Grill & Butcher! . . We discovered this hidden gem situated on Main rd just outside the main village in Franschhoek and we went back twice. The kids played for hours in the water features and the jungle gym and the large, mesmerising garden lent themselves perfectly to entertaining the littles. . . Most child-friendly restaurants generally serve cafe or bistro type food, which is nice but not very fancy as the focus is generally placed on keeping the kids happy. This restaurant however serves delicious adult food perfect for a Sunday lunch or a celebration of sorts. Really tasty! And the service is awesome. . The large trees provide ample shade for the diners and the ambiance is super-comfortable. . . This restaurant is well worth a visit (even worth a bit of a drive out to Franschhoek). . @villagegrillandbutcher @franschhoek_sa . . . . . . #familytravel #discoverctwc #neverstopexploring #lifewithkids #wowsouthafrica #flashesofdelight #travelblog #familyfriendlyza #adventure #withkids #awesomesouthafrica #bestvacation #travelwithkids #travelblogger #lifestyleblog #capetownbest #wedotourism #franschhoek #kidfriendly #restaurantreview #restaurant
This casual Italian restaurant is well-known for its tasty pizzas, pasta dishes and salads and it is situated just off the main road with a large outdoor courtyard and play area. In the same building, you will also find a frozen yogurt shop serving the ideal snack (on swings instead of chairs - so fun!) for those hot summer days.
Although this cafe/deli does not have a play area, it is situated in a large courtyard with a fountain just off the main road. During our holiday we would take a walk every morning and always stopped at this homely spot on our way home for a cup of coffee and a freshly squeezed juice. They also have freshly baked bread and an assortment of delicious treats available should you decide to not stay and eat off their fresh and healthy menu.
DV Chocolate Cafe
This artisan chocolatier offers the best artisan ice cream I have ever tasted and they offer a sorbet or ice cream taster. All their ‘bean to bar’ products are GMO and Gluten free. They do not have a play area.. but who needs a play area with such delicious ice cream?
Child-Friendly Wine Farms in the Franschhoek Valley
This must be my favourite spot to visit in Franschhoek itself. Eikehof is a family-owned and -managed wine and peach farm and the husband and wife duo are so warm and welcoming, you cannot help but stay a while. Although they have no play area available, they do have a large sprawling lawn, with huge oak trees providing ample shade and an old vintage car which the kids love. Be sure to indulge in one of their snack platters and remember to buy a box of freshly picked peaches. I made my very first batch of peach jam while on holiday - it was such a treat.
The restaurant situated on this wine farm offers a large lawn and play area shaded by trees and surrounded by vineyards on one side and a small rivulet on the other. The service is impeccable and the food is tasty.
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It’s the last weekend before schools start, can you believe it? And just like that we are back in reality... . . For a relaxed family outing in the winelands before reality really kicks in, give La Bourgogne in Franschhoek a visit. Expect delicious wine tasting, tasty food and live music in a beautiful garden setting under large trees with a play area for the kids! They even provide blankets if the kids don’t feel like sitting at a table :) . . . . . #bestvacation #capetownbest #neverstopexploring #familyfriendlyza #wedotourism #mylifeinphotos #travelblog #wowsouthafrica #familytravel #lifewithkids #withkids #flashesofdelight #travelwithkids #lifestyleblog #lifestyleblogger #travelblogger #ilovesouthafrica #smilemore #awesomesouthafrica #adventure #jetsetter #kidfriendly #kidswhoexplore #franschhoek
Another one of our favourite picnic spots for families - read more about our outing to this Stellenbosch based wine farm here.
For more family-friendly wine farms in Stellenbosch, click here.
Spice Route Destination
Tanya and I decided to make this farm our destination of choice when we were excitedly planning our ‘Things to do with Kids’ family excursion, as this venue has so much to offer families. Read more about our Spice Route excursion here.
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And so the last day of the year has suddenly (or finally) arrived! What are you and your family up to today? . . We had the best time @spiceroutepaarl and @bertusbassonatspiceroute the other day and wish we could go back! There is so much to do (beer, wine, gin and chocolate tastings are amongst my favourites) and there is a play area and jungle gym near the @la_grapperia restaurant. . . When we went to Spice Route, the play area and restaurant were very busy though which overwhelmed my 3-year-old so we ended up setting up picnic outside @bertusbassonatspiceroute. They have a large lawn for the kids to play on, balance bikes and picnic blankets with some cushions. The deli serves a variety of meals and snacks as well as drinks and we ended up just chilling there for a good couple of hours. It ended up as the perfect summer family day . . . . . . #mylifeinphotos #neverstopexploring #bestvacation #travelblog #flashesofdelight #capetownbest #familytravel #awesomesouthafrica #adventure #travelblogger #travelwithkids #wowsouthafrica #familyfriendlyza #discoverctwc #withkids #wedotourism #lifestyleblog #lifewithkids #picnic #familyday #qualitytime #newyear #kidfriendly #kidswhoexplore
Vrede & Lust
This large wine estate has a separate play area situated under large trees, with a few picnic benches scattered around. The Lust Bistro, services this area and can be found a couple of meters away. The beauty of the separate play area is that you do not have to worry about other diners and can let the kids run wild.
My husband and I got married at this mesmerising wine farm (almost 5 years ago to this day, can you believe it) and we always visit this special place when we are in the Cape. It is simply a must-visit (even if you did not get married here) as the food is remarkable, the wines delicious and the view is phenomenal. They have a little grassy area for the kids to play on.
There are so many wonderful family-friendly wine farms, all with child-friendly restaurants, in this area, so while here, be sure to visit these as well:
Franschhoek Village Market
This weekly food and craft market opens its figurative doors every Saturday between 09:00 & 14:00 under the trees in front of the church hall. Expect yummy artisanal treats, freshly prepared meals, various art, handmade products, antiques, collectables and more, as well as a sit-down area with benches, live music and a bar. A large play area can be found right next to the market.
Huguenot Museum and Monument
Expecting a boring old museum, I was loathed to visit this specific attraction but, being a descendant of one of the first French Huguenots to arrive in the Cape so very many centuries ago, I decided I should probably have a look, and to my surprise, I actually enjoyed it. History is far from boring, it is fascinating in fact.
The iconic monument requires a separate entrance fee to the museum but once you are inside, marveling at the immaculate gardens, the minimal fee is absolutely worth it. Picnics are allowed.
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Holiday Inspiration Cape Winelands: a visit to Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop and Weaving Studio: . . We took a much needed break and visited my mom in the Franschhoek Valley a while ago and one of our day outings was a trip to the Alpaca farm near Fairview and Spice Route. The kids LOVED the animal interaction as well as feeding these cute fluffy creatures! The play area, positioned right in the center of the Alpacas, was of course a major added bonus :) . . Entrance to the farm is free, a bucket of feed costs R20.00 and the coffee shop offers basic, but tasty, light meals and drinks. A tour of the weaving facility is also available for older kids and adults (I didn’t dare take my hyperactive 3-year-old :)) . . I suggest visiting this kid-friendly venue either mid-morning or in the afternoon as there is very little shade. . . . . . . #familytravel #familyfriendlyza #discoverctwc #withkids #bestvacation #neverstopexploring #adventure #travelblog #lifewithkids #travelblogger #lifestyleblog #awesomesouthafrica #travelwithkids #capetownbest #wowsouthafrica #flashesofdelight #wanderlust #mylifeinphotos #kidfriendly #alpaca #alpacasofinstagram #winelands #paarl @thealpacaloom
A Day at the Beach
Although Franschhoek is situated inland, it is a mere hour’s drive away from beach locations like Strand, Somerset West and Cape Town. During our holiday, we decided to take an early morning outing to Strand so that Bean could play in the sand and splash in the waves. He loved it! Bikini Beach in Gordons Bay is also a fabulous beach for little kids as it is very protected by the bay, meaning that the waves are small and not so intimidating.
Blaauwklippen Wine Estate
On our way back we decided to stop at Blaauwklippen Wine Estate for a cup of coffee, as they have a play area and an animal touch farm (with goats) for kids.
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Child-friendly wine estate Stellenbosch: Blaauwklippen. . . This estate is quite well-known in family circles for their weekly market but we went during the week and had lunch. The outside seating area is covered by large trees, the atmosphere is relaxed and the jungle gym and sand pit are in close proximity to the table (but not too close to bother the other child-less diners). They also have goats which, of course, provided my kids with much entertainment. . . The inside wine tasting and seating areas are not child-friendly and have a more formal feel. . . In this photo Bean was telling his new friend all about the beach and the waves (we had spent the morning in Gordon’s Bay). . . . . . . #capetownbest #wedotourism #awesomesouthafrica #travelblogger #familyfriendlyza #discoverctwc #adventure #mylifeinphotos #lifewithkids #wowsouthafrica #flashesofdelight #bestvacation #travelblog #familytravel #lifestyleblog #travelwithkids #neverstopexploring #withkids #kidfriendly #kidswhoexplore #goat #winetasting #winefarm #wineestate #blaauwklippen @blaauwklippen
Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm
When I heard about the Croc Pond Tours offered at this Le Bonheur touch farm, I immediately booked a spot for our next family excursion, sure it would be fascinating for Bean. My 5-year-old brother joined us and although Bean was probably a bit young for this specific excursion (18 months), my brother absolutely loved it, especially when we had the opportunity to hold a baby crocodile. We had a casual meal at the cafe afterwards and although the weather was a bit miserable, it did not stop us from indulging in some artisan ice cream while the kids went wild at the fabulous outdoor play area.
This historic Cape Dutch farm, offering two restaurants (Babel and the child-friendly Greenhouse), a wine tasting room, a farm shop and a bakery, is famous for its impressive 3,5-hectare garden. The lush, peaceful, varied and interesting garden is great for a relaxed stroll and Bean loved running through the various pathways, stopping every now and again to admire the ducks and chickens.
After spending our holiday in this glorious part of South Africa, we came home well rested, inspired and content, ready for a new year and a whole lot of new challenges.