Every year, the Christmas in Winter festival takes place in Tulbagh. This year Christmas comes early once again! If you have not experienced Christmas in Winter in the Western Cape, here are some reasons to visit Tulbagh this weekend.
You can experience a ‘white’ Christmas in June. Expect ‘snow’ in difference forms at the various establishments partaking in the festival, like this display at the House of Krone, which was my favourite.
A passport includes a Christmas hat, entrance to 4 museums and access to the wine estates participating in the Christmas in Winter festival. Wine glasses may be an additional R20 cost.
Stepping back in time:
Tulbagh is the fourth oldest town in South Africa and dates back more than 300 years. Visit some of the museums and step back in time. There are some interesting museums in the area, and the ones on church street are open for exploring. Entrance to some museums are free if you have a passport.
Church street Activities:
Church street is a hub of activities and one of the main attractions for the Christmas in Winter festival. The street is decorated with Christmas lights and trees. There are arts and crafts on sale at local markets and stalls. You can choose your gastronomical experience from at local restaurants and some even offer traditional Christmas dinners. The local chocolatier offers Belgian chocolate tasting and you can purchase chocolate to take with you.
Bubbly, bubbly and more bubbly:
Who does not love bubbles? I never need an excuse to drink bubbles and the House of Krone always puts on a spectacular show. When we visited the Christmas in Winter festival previously, they lived up to the expectation as one of the establishments with the best displays. Christmas décor inside and outside as well as snow displays, really made this establishment stand out for me. They had snow angels on hand, topping up your glass and making sure everyone was having a good time.
I found the wine farms to be quite generous with the tastings. Some wine farms were very busy, as they had live music to accompany wine tasting. There are so many farms to choose from, so go early and if you find a good spot, hang around. There is also cheese and olive tasting available.
Christmas in Winter Transport:
Drink responsibly by ensuring you arrange transport or have a designated driver. What I loved is that some wine farms offered transport, a shuttle service from Church street, Tulbagh or other pick up points, to and from their wine estate. This was perfect, so you can enjoy yourself and not worry about driving. There is a zero-alcohol tolerance on the roads, so be a responsible festival goer!
There are various options for staying in Tulbagh. We stayed in the historic Church street, at the heart of the festivities and festival. This is perfect for dining out after wine tasting throughout the day, and even better for partaking in the activities in the street the entire weekend. If you are going as a group, there are various farm houses in the surrounding areas which you can rent for the evening or weekend. We stayed from Friday evening to Sunday morning to ensure we got the most out of our weekend.
You will be spoilt for choice at the Christmas in Winter festival, from traditional meals to modern cuisine. Some wine farms have food trucks on site, food stands and other in-house options. There are a few good cafes and eateries in Church street to choose from.
Fun and Outdoor Activities:
If you are an outdoor person, there are trail running and hiking routes in the surrounding areas. Each wine estate offers different activities, so if you are visiting a specific wine estate, check their website for more details. Visit Tulbagh tourism for more information.
This festival was one of the best winter festivals I attended in South Africa and is definitely worth a visit. Maybe if we are lucky, we may even have a chance of real snow!
Until next time, Adventure Awaits!
Check before you Go!
Please confirm with Tulbagh tourism and local establishments what is on offer before you go. The festival changes slightly every year and the experience and offerings may change. For more information check here.
How to get there:
Tulbagh is located in the winelands, about 125 kilometers from Cape Town and will take you just under two hours to drive there. A nice short drive making it perfect for a weekend getaway!