Somerset West is situated in the Hottentots Holland area, about a 30 minute drive from Cape Town along the N2 (national road).
Close to Stellenbosch, this residential centre has a delightful setting and many of Somerset Wests residents commute to Cape Town daily. Somerset West was named after an English governor of the Cape Colony during the 1800s, Lord Charles Henry Somerset, with the suffix 'West' being added to differentiate it from Somerset East, another South African town in the Eastern Cape.
Somerset West lies within easy reach of several beaches bordering the Atlantic Ocean and lying within False Bay. The nearest, the beach at Strand, approximately 6 km from the centre of the town, is popular with families and holidaymakers.
Somerset West is home to the wine farm, Vergelegen, an impressive 18th century farmhouse built in Cape Dutch style. The farm is now owned by a subsidiary of the large mining company Anglo American, who have restored the farmhouse to its original magnificence and continue to produce some of South Africa's best wines there.
A popular Christmas tradition that has been held annually for the past 20 years at Vergelegen is "Candles By Candelight". Visitors are invited to bring a picnic basket, blanket and torch and celebrate the joy of Christmas with family and friends on the sprawling lawns of this magnificent wine farm.
Another Christmas tradition, Somerset West is know for its annual display of Christmas lights along the Main Road. Every year people come from all over the country to drive slowly down the Main Road to see the brilliant display of glimmering lights, bells, angels, reindeer, candles and a lot more! The Helderberg Lights Festival (also known as the Strawberry Festival) traditionally complements these lights when the Main Road is closed off in the evening, and floats, parades and flea market stalls are lined up under the lights. A wonderful outing for the whole family!
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