For an idyllic break from buzzing Cape Town, Franschoek is only a one hour car journey inland, and is a beautiful, safe and vibrant place to spend a couple of days and taste the local produce.
We stayed at Lemon Tree Cottage, a beautiful holiday home just a 5 minute walk from the main high street, with its amazing restaurants and bars, and tempting boutiques and markets.
We spent a perfect first evening at Le Petite Ferme vineyard, where we had fresh fish served with crisp white wine (called Baboon Rock!) and enjoyed the sunset over the garden and hills.
The children got excited at seeing the Christmas tree and were presented with biscuits to enjoy as dessert.
We slept well, despite the noise of feet on the flat roof above our heads every evening when we went to bed. Not wanting to go outside and investigate, we came to the conclusion that a friendly monkey or baboon used this route at the same time every evening! Whatever it was, it was big!
The next day was a leisurely 10.30 meet at The Station in Franschoek, which isn't for buses or trains but purely for a tram, that takes you around the vineyards. This seemed a genius idea! We chose the red route, it having the best outdoor spaces and even play areas for the children to enjoy.
Our first stop was Eikehof, which was our favourite. A family run vineyard in operation since 1903 by the great grandfather of the current owners who met us to talk through their produce.
They also grow peaches which we got to sample and a Port called Red Ruby (as they can't use the name Port if it's not from Portugal) which has a picture of his great grandads old truck on the label and is still displayed in the garden.
Next stop Leopards Leap, where we ate from the grill in their beautiful restaurant, and the children played in the play area in the garden that had a stream running through it to cool our feet. It hit 40 degrees on this day so it was well timed! As is the reason for these tours, we spent a small fortune on a case of wine to be delivered to England for Christmas. It's so much cheaper if you can import it yourself but space is at a premium!
Onto The Franschoek wine cellar which had a supervised play area AND included chocolate tasting. Although I'm not sure from the children's faces that they enjoyed the day as much as we did!
To Rickety Bridge where we had a tractor ride from the tram stop and there were garden games under a tree.
We really enjoyed meeting people at each stop as the tables are set up to be sociable and the hop on- hop off tram means you bump into the same people throughout the day.
Finally to Grand Provence who's garden was filled with beautiful sculptures and modern art, before jumping back on the tractor and tram and collecting our meats, cheese and fruit that we'd picked up throughout the day and enjoying it back at Lemon Tree Cottage.
The following day was also leisurely, with breakfast in Franschoek and a stroll around the market where Sophia and I picked out some Christmas presents to take home. The children caught up on some school work and I packed (once again 😱) for our drive back to Cape Town the following day.