I recently took my boys through to the Elgin Railway Market. I have heard so many people talking about it and haven’t had the chance yet to visit it, but last weekend, I packed them into the car and we headed to the market and WOW, what a market and setup it is!
We went on a Sunday morning, so we didn’t get to see the steam train which visits on Saturdays mostly. But, we did go check out the railway line and little railway station.
The market is all indoor and has been amazingly setup. From what I have read, the building was erected by Italian prisoners of war and many residents from the area remember assembling beach crate back in the 1940’s. The building has been completely redecorated and setup and has a “steampunk” vibe to it. The decor has been really well thought out and the atmosphere is warm and inviting.
We went on a particularly cold day and there was a fire burning beautifully in a fiery rocket stove which was keeping the building warm on an icy day. There was a very talented musician playing the guitar, harmonica and a drum and singing old favourites. Everywhere you looked, there were people enjoying time with family and or friends. All in all, the vibe is relaxed and welcoming.
If you can think of a meal you would be interested in, the likelihood you will find it there is very high. I walked around the entire building and the food stalls setup were selling such a variety of food, it actually made it difficult to choose what to eat!
Food available included:
- Mexican – nachos and tortillas
- Sushi Bar
- Indian food
- Variety of sweet goodies for those with a sweet tooth – spotted quite a few toffee apples
- Ice cream and waffles
- Pizza (on the upper level)
- Chicken burgers and chicken fingers with a variety of sauces (I had that and it was amazing!)
- Biltong / Droewors
- Wine shop on the upper level
- Wine, local beers, gin and other drinks are available at the bar
- Burgers, pies, quiches and tarts
A favourite with my kids (and me too, of course!) is quite a few of the food stalls have testers so you can try a food item or sauce before you order it. My kids couldn’t resist giving the chocolate and fudge samples a try!
There are a few shops on the ground floor and on the second level. Types of items available for sale at the various shops included:
- Leather Items
- Gift / Decor items
- Overberg Wines
- Clothing (vintage type style)
- Coffee Bean
- Fresh flowers
- Wooden pieces
The Elgin Railway is definitely worth a visit. Currently, there isn’t that much to do for the kids indoors, so if you do decide to give the market a visit, bring a few games or things for the kids to play at the tables if they get bored. There is a small outside play area, but the day we went, it was raining on and off and it was an extremely cold day, so being outside wasn’t an option with everything being wet and cold.
One thing I wanted to mention – when visiting busy markets, one of the most common challenges is finding somewhere to sit and eat. At the Elgin Railway Market, there are tables and chairs everywhere. Finding somewhere to sit down and eat wasn’t a problem at all. People share the tables and chairs and you are sure to meet new people if you land up opting to share a table with other visitors to the market. My kids landed up playing cards with another boy who was sitting alongside us.
I will be heading to the market again on a Saturday when the train is there next time.
If you are coming from Cape Town, you can also book a train ride on the Ceres Rail which offers day trips from Cape Town to Elgin and back – you can visit the Ceres Rail website for dates, times, costs and and how to book.
So, if you are looking for an outing with the family or with friends for a weekend, it’s less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town and will be worth the trip.
Make sure to keep an eye on the market’s Facebook page to know when the train is visiting and if anything special is happening at the market on an upcoming weekend.
If you have visited the market and have something to add, please leave a comment below – would love to hear what you thought of it! And, if you head there soon, have a good time and go with an empty stomach so you can take advantage of the yumminess on offer!