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What to do in Wellington

It’s well and truly winter in Cape Town, which means things are for the most part sad and grey. One way to revive your spirits when all around you is gloomy and glum is to get away from the weekend, as we just did, with no better town than Wellington to do so. It’s just over an hour from home, making it the perfect ‘feels so far away but doesn’t take all day to get there’ destination.

Click here for my official review, as the professional pics do a much better job than these from our phones, belowโ€ฆ

The detour-filled roadtrip

Trees and clouds
If you’re only going away for the night, you don’t want to leave your leaving time to late – you also don’t want to drive straight there, missing all the sights on the way. Notice all the pretty trees and puffy clouds just a little off the daily commute-beaten track.
Waterwheel in Paarl
Instead of travelling directly from A to Z we took a slight detour through Paarl. Look at the wonderful waterwheel I’d have missed if my eyes were simply on the road ahead (note: Obviously this is a better idea for the passenger than the driver).
KWV brandy tasting
The reason for our Paarl detour? We’d popped into KWV for a wine-tasting last Father’s Day (click here for a reminder) and Husband was keen to try out their brandy tasting. He went for the ‘brandy and Huguenot chocolate pairing’ – all this for R55, and you get French chocolate as it melts on the tongue faster than our SA brands, so is better suited to bringing our those brandy flavours.
KWV brandy tasting
Husband savouring those KWV flavours.

Relaxing in your room

Val du Charron driveway
We were soon back on the road and found Val du Charron in no time – that palm tree-lined driveway is quite impressive!
Local Grill at Val du Charron in Wellington
Look how lovely! Alas the wind was just too chilly for us to even consider sitting on that deck, but I think it’s just the thing on a Summer’s day.
Coach House tree
That tree is super enormous. Doesn’t look it as there’s a palm tree cut off in front of it but take my word for it. Shaded almost the entire Coach House.
Balcony at Val du Charron's Coach House
I think Husband was quite pleased with our room in the Coach House.
Stained-glass above pool at Val du Charron
Beautiful stained-glass work above the pool – so cold I can guarantee you’d get ill from a full dip in Winter, but must be the most amazing thing in summer. (Note to self: Return to Val du Charron in Summer!)
Coach House pool at Val du Charron
Welcome to the five-star Coach House suite. The pool is positively giving off frost it’s so chilly. But beautiful, sure.
Five-star Coach House suite
There’s a natural rock wall inside, behind me, and you can just see the bathroom in the distance.
Bathrobes in the Coach House at Val du Charron
Of course we tried out the bathrobes in our room much later that night, after a soak in the tub. It’s all part of the reviewing process.
COffee at the Coach House, Val du Charron.
I was soon warming up with a coffee Husband kindly created from the in-room plunger. Actually downed two cups as he made a full ‘plunge’. Plus gobbled up the crunchy ginger biscuits in the kitchen area while gazing at that remarkable view.
Rock wall in Val du Charron's Coach House
Husband in front of the internal rock wall (and TV). We watched a spot of rugby, then freshened up to go sightseeing…

Exploring the town

Cats on roof in Wellington
These kitties were willing to pose for a photo or two while sunning themselves on the tin roof.
Wellington church
This was the prettiest thing in the town of Wellington. Almost everything was closed, at 3pm. On a Saturday afternoon. Certainly not a bustling town.
Val du Charron's grounds in Wellington
And so, back we went to Val du Charron. Such a truly tranquil setting.
Wine tasting at Val du Charron
Wine tasting is included in your stay at Val du Charron – go just to hear the stories behind their three flagship wines: Four White Legs, Erasmus and the Black Countess. I summarised them here if you just can’t wait.
Dog at Val du Charron
We met this resident doggy while wandering around the grounds. He wasn’t interested in any form of communication with us.
Val du Charron horse
In fact, this horsey was much more talkative than the dog. Lol ๐Ÿ™‚
Val du Charron.
Husband quite enjoyed horsing around. (I’m just too punny). That’s the four-star accommodation behind him.

Watching the Wellington sunset

Sunset in Wellington
Soon the sun began to set. It was one of the most remarkable – and chilliest – sunsets I’ve seen, with snow on the mountains…
Fireplace at Coach House at Val du Charron
See? T’was so cold that we lit the fire on our patio.
Sun setting over the Hawequa mountains
Presenting: Sun setting over the Hawequa mountains.
Sunset in Wellington
The sunset. Made all the more surreal by that line of palm trees. I’d go back just to see this again. For reals.

Dining in The Local Grill

Dinner at The Local Grill, Val du Charron
One of Val du Charron’s biggest drawcards is the on site restaurant, The Local Grill, which opened its doors in October 2015. Here’s a civilised snap of us at our table for dinner that evening.
Local Grill place mats
The helpful place mats at the Local Grill explain where those mysteriously named pieces of beef actually come from.
Salmon starter at The Local Grill.
Husband went for the salmon starter. He gave it a big thumbs up.
Grass-fed pepper-rubbed fillet at The Local Grill.
For mains, Husband went for the grass-fed fillet, rubbed in pepper. Pic on the left is how it arrived. Pic on the right is how he ate it – smothered in a side of mushrooms and ‘Dijon mustard and chives’ sauce. He deemed it ‘Excellent’ – high praise indeed.
Chocolate shake and cheddar melt burger at Val du Charron
I went for a chocolate milkshake and the cheddar melt burger with a side of fries. Embarrassed to admit I barely managed to finish, and couldn’t even think of dessert. Means I can’t report back on the delicious-sounding local things like pecan nut pie, chocolate brownie, milk tart and malva pudding. Sob. There was nothing to do but sleep it off.
Muesli, fruit and croissant and cappuccino at The Local Grill.
Mmm, breakfast. There’s no better way to start the day. Back in The Local Grill the next morning, I opted for the muesli, yoghurt and fruit bowl, as well as a croissant with cheese, and a Terbodore cappuccino. Your eyes do not deceive you, that IS a second cappuccino cup on the table…
Cappuccino, toast and omelette at The Local Grill, Val du Charron.
Because even Mr ‘Coca-Cola for breakfast’ himself (that’s Husband) tried the cappuccino (after a Coke, of course.). He paired it with the omelette and brown toast. Bellies full again, all too soon we had checked out and made our way back home. We gave Bainskloof Pass a miss after all the wine-tasting ghost stories about it… maybe next time!

Thatโ€™s all, folks, check in again next week for my next update. If you missed my other Winter 2016 overviews of what to do in Stellenbosch in May and in Franschhoek in June, click here and here. ๐Ÿ™‚

*Disclaimer: Obviously our accommodation at Val du Charron and meals at the Local Grill were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.