Time spent with family and friends is important, and I am always on the lookout for places that are family friendly so that the kiddies can enjoy themselves as much as the adults do. Below are five family-friendly wine farm destinations in Franschhoek that are ideal for adults and children alike, as there is something that appeals to the young and old.
Families could easily spend a whole day at Boschendal, as there are so many wonderful things to do and explore at this amazing Estate. Boschendal is one of the oldest wine estates in both Franschhoek and the Cape Winelands as it was founded in 1685.
There are 2 restaurants to choose from, with the Werf restaurant offering a kid’s menu as well. Picnics are always fun for the whole family, especially when you can choose from tables and chairs or blankets and beanbags on their expansive lawns. Picnic goers also have access to the Tree House Playground and Pump Track for kids old and young. There are baskets for adults and children to satisfy all needs. The Tree House Playground has slides, walkways, platforms, mushroom pods and acorn hideouts to burn off some energy. During the holiday season, they run a Wonder Escapades programme for ages 4 to 12 years.
For the more adventurous, there is horseback riding, mountain biking and guided walks geared to meet all fitness levels and ages. All in all, a wonderful day out for the whole family.
On the tram line and with an array of experiences for the whole family, Rickety Bridge is also a must-visit when in Franschhoek. This estate is nestled against the majestic Wemmershoek Mountains and is home to a modern winery, luxury accommodation, wedding and function venue and of course their award-winning wines.
Paulina’s restaurant offers bistro-style dishes, with breakfasts, lunches, tasting plates and a kid’s menu. They also offer a fun and interactive meal experience whereby you can make your own Potjie (this is a proudly South Africa dish, which translated means ‘little pot of food’. This ‘Potjiekos Experience’ takes approx. 2 to 3 hours and family and friends can cook and eat together.
Fancy yourself a wine maker for the day, then try their Wine Blending Experience where you will be coached through a process of making your own bottle of wine with a personalised label.
Now that the adults are taken care of, lets see what there is for the younger family members. There is Boules in the vines, a jungle gym and lawn games available, as well as lots of grass to kick a ball or cartwheel on. The kiddies pairing is a fun way to try different flavours, and includes apply juice, Créme Soda and a strawberry flavoured milk paired with smarties, sour worms and wine gums. I think this pairing might just be a favourite for both adults and children 😉.
Allée Bleue or Avenue of Blue in French, gets its name from the majestic and mighty blue Eucalyptus trees that line the driveway of the estate. This picturesque family friendly estate is complete with vineyards, fruit orchards, herb production, relaxed picnics and more.
On a sunny day, it is ideal to sit outside on the balcony or patio, otherwise inside there are two beautifully thatched rooms to relax and do a tasting or have a meal. Their bistro is open for both breakfast and lunch with a tapas style menu. Picnics are a big favourite here with the pretty gardens and shady trees to find a space to relax and unwind. One of the picnic areas has a lovely jungle gym for the kids too. Please take note that dogs are welcome here too. For a relaxed family stay in the winelands, they also have two accommodation options to choose from. Either the Manor House Suites in the historic residence dating back to 1920, or Kendal Cottage which overlooks the palm garden.
Gorgeous Grand Provence with a dignified 325-year history is a bustling stop on the Franschhoek tram line and welcomes guests with trees and rolling lawns adorned with picturesque statues.
There are different wine tasting options available, as well as an Oysters and Cap Classique or Nougat and wine pairing. They have a formal dining restaurant and a more relaxed deli outside under the oak trees. Another option is to arrange a delicious picnic and relax on the lawns, while the children play on the nearby jungle gym. There is a custom designed art gallery to showcase contemporary work by some of South Africa’s talented artists with a variety of media. Accommodation is available, and a dream wedding venue completes this estate.
This family-oriented destination has a huge inside area with many different lounge pockets, a wide veranda and big inside restaurant. Take a stroll outside to find tables and beanbags scattered under the trees, with a little fountain and stream on the one side and the spectacular mountain and vineyard views on the other side. Need I say more.
The wine tasting section has a funky zig-zag bar, where you can find a space to sample their many wines available, with colouring pages to keep little hands busy. A great concept is their Rotisserie Restaurant that does something different by offering scrumptious meats from their Rotisol Spit, accompanied by a variety of salads and veggies to complete the dish. They also have breakfasts, coffees, pizzas and pastries available. A play area and an expansive lush grass area to play games on or kick a ball, helps burn off some energy. As if that wasn’t enough, they have a bike track for all ages, admittedly more for the little ones but adults feel free to take a loop too. The relaxing atmosphere with great wine, beautiful scenery and delicious food explains why Leopard’s Leap is so popular to both locals and tourists young and old.
The bond that links a family is not always one of blood, but of respect and joy in spending time together. Families come in all different shapes and sizes, and even if some family members may drive you crazy, it is key to finding a place that meets the needs of most. I hope that when visiting these farms, you can all experience laughter and fun while making special memories.