On a visit home last Christmas my father gave me four old prints he had of Chelsea Village Wynberg and although at that time, covered in mould (the scourge of coastal living) and gecko droppings, the prints looked rather worse for wear. They have now however been reframed and hang proudly in our study. Having lived for a number of years within walking distance of the village I’ve become fond of this ‘British Settlement’ with architecture that dates back to the 1700’s.
The best and perhaps only way to appreciate Chelsea Village is to take some time strolling the narrow lanes and streets – it’s a much better way of appreciating the ambience and architecture of the historic buildings. A good route to try is along Wolfe Street, turn left up Carr Hill Road (take note of the Dutch Reformed Church) and continue up into St Johns Road.
At the intersection turn back towards the Village along Waterloo Road. You will pass Glebe Cottage (which is one of the oldest buildings in the village), turn left back into Carr Hill and then right into Durban Road. Walk across Wolfe Street and continue to Lonsdale. Turning right again brings one back to Wolfe Street.
Like a proper English village, Chelsea Village, centres on the village square. Although not a square as such, the village square is actually a triangle of grass, underneath a tree with a park bench. The village is home to gorgeous ‘boutiquey’ shops, buzzy restaurants (give Cafe Verdi and Bella Lucia a try) and wine bars. It’s the ideal place to spend a Saturday morning; stroll the streets and browse the unique shops and then perhaps have a bite to eat somewhere for lunch?
Chelsea Village has culture close to its heart too and the Maynardville Open Air Theatre (the Mother City’s only open air theatre) presents a Shakespeare production during the summer months every year. Maynardville is not just a theatre though; it’s also a park with large lawns and trees – an open, public space for people to relax. The garden and pond encourage geese and birds and although there is a slight drone of traffic its normally peaceful; a perfect picnic spot during balmy summer evenings.