Although it’s tucked away in a quiet pocket between Rondebosch and Claremont, the largely-residential suburb of Newlands in Cape Town, is hardly sleepy.
Newlands is famous for many things besides its quaint Victorian cottages and winding back lanes: renowned sports stadia, landmark hotels, excellent restaurants, superlative schools such as SACS and Westerford, gourmet food shops, significant national monuments, a design centre, and a natural spring whose ever-flowing waters defy the ongoing drought in the Western Cape.
It’s also notorious for being the wettest suburb in Cape Town due to its annual rainfall levels. Trivia aside, here are some of the not-to-miss aspects of Newlands:
The Josephine Mill Museum is open to visitors by appointment, but you don’t need to go inside the museum to appreciate the building. Astonishing for its industrial revolution architecture and a water wheel that still functions, the on-site restaurant is set on the banks of the gently burbling Liesbeek River.
The Montebello Design Centre on Newlands Avenue is another must-visit destination for lovers of creativity. This collection of 25 painters’ studios, potter’s workshops and craft shops – huddled together in a fine example of period architecture – is a beacon for devotes of art, craft and design. The charming Gardener’s Cottage restaurant hunkers down below giant trees and overlooks a verdant nursery that spreads out around a historic Greenhouse.
As for sport, why watch on the big screen when you can see your team play live at Newlands Rugby Stadium or cricket grounds? The PPC Newlands Cricket Stadium is said to have the loveliest batting pitch in the world thanks to the majestic backdrop of Newlands Ravine and Kirstenbosch.
If you are in Newlands for the sporting action, the Park Inn by Radisson Newlands is so close to the grounds it’s likely that you could lob a shot into the nearby stadium from the hotel lobby. Besides the uber convenience of the location, the venue offers upscale accommodation and conferencing in a contemporary setting. It is a standout hotel thanks to its unique and ongoing commitments to supporting DeafSA – 20% of the hotel’s administrative staff are hearing impaired.
A mecca for foodies, Newlands can brag that is has not one but three artisanal ice-cream parlours. The Creamery’s ices are rich and decadent, and the choice selection is distinguished by an ever-changing Flavour of the Month. Gelato Mania, in close proximity, has a name that says it all for those who are crazy about Italian-style frozen confectionary. Le Delizie is run by a friendly Italian couple who have made Newlands their home.
Massimo is a third-generation gelato maker and confectioner who – besides noteworthy flavours of ice-cream such as Crèma della Nonna – conjures up an irresistible range of handcrafted chocolates using ultra ingredients such as hazelnuts imported from the Piedmont region of Italy. You’ll quickly become a loyal customer! Dean Street and surrounds are peppered with a score of upmarket eateries and a trendy smattering of smoothie bars and taco joints.
Exploring Newlands will uncover even further gems that will expand this growing list of lust-worthy locations. And it is possible to do it all on foot. While you’re ambling around and exploring the area, remember to take a refreshing drink of pure, clean and freely available mineral aqua from the abundant Newlands spring! Having made its way down through the rocky secrets of Table Mountain, the water bubbles up to reveal the true flavour of the area.