Newlands is such a beautiful Cape Town neighbourhood! It’s a special favourite among nature lovers for the perfection that is Newlands Forest as well as its proximity to Kirstenbosch Gardens. But it’s got a lot more to offer besides.
Explore what to do in Newlands, where to eat, and where to stay. I’ve also included some information for readers considering moving to this suburb!
What to do in Newlands
So if you’re going to visit Newlands, what can you do here? Plenty! Let’s get into it.
Go for a walk in Newlands Forest
Our favourite thing about Newlands is that the neighbourhood sits directly on Table Mountain, with its whole flank a large mountainside forest. It’s stunning, with so many paths and trails crisscrossing into the forest. You’ll find both native and alien trees here, both old growth that stretches far above you. Birds flit about and call to one another, and streams gurgle down the mountain. It feels so idyllic!
Newlands Forest is dog-friendly and free access. It also forms a start-point for a number of hikes up Table Mountain — the most famous of which are Skeleton Gorge and Nursery Ravine!
Keen to find out more? Read our Newlands Forest guide.
Visit Montebello Design Centre
Montebello is a stunning little centre in the heart of Newlands, right on its main road. The favourite attraction is the little cafe under the trees, The Gardeners Cottage. They do a mean brunch, and have created such an enjoyable space that you’ll be hard-pressed to find an open table on sunny-skied weekends.
But the Design Centre has a lot more going on. Stroll further and you’ll find a nursery with so many different types of ferns and exotics. They’ve also got a local artisans’ co-op, an organic food market with the best blueberries and tomatoes I’ve had in my life, a carpenter and wood sculptor, and a ceramicist. All create amazing work, and all are worth seeing!
Take your kids to the park
Newlands also has a lovely little playpark sitting along the canal. Take your kids to scramble along the trees and into the treehouse, or play on the more traditional contraptions (sorry, not a mum here!). It’s well-maintained and safely situated – although you do play at your own risk.
Join a tour of Newlands Brewery
I LOVED this tour of Newlands Brewery! You’re taken through the microbrewery and the very-not-micro brewery and told all about the production process. You get to see and smell so many interesting processes. The bottling room was my favourite — watching hundreds of thousands of beer on the move every moment, and seeing how many bottles they recycle!
Quick side note: Cape Town breweries do reuse their bottles where possible. If you can, always put the lid back on before throwing it into recycling, as this apparently helps the bottles avoid breakage so that they can be reused!
Go to Kirstenbosch
Locals and tourists alike — if you’re reading this post, you probably already know about Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. It’s one of Cape Town’s great attractions, and one of the best botanical gardens in the world. And it’s right next to Newlands.
Kirstenbosch is the perfect place to spend a weekend afternoon picnicking, strolling among the native plantlife, and birdwatching. It’s also another starting point for those Table Mountain hikes!
Keen to find out more? Read our guide to Kirstenbosch Gardens.
Watch a game at the Newlands Cricket Stadium
One of South Africa’s best cricket stadiums, this is an absolutely beautiful place to watch a game. It’s got a stunning mountain backdrop, and a rich, long history. You can watch a game, go on a stadium tour, or attend an event here — find out more on their website.
Newlands used to be home to a rugby stadium too, and it still technically is. But this is unfortunately under sale for redevelopment at the time of writing (March 2023).
Where to eat and be merry
The iconic Cape Town pub, Foresters Arms. Always busy — if you want to be here during a game (any game) be sure to book, as they get packed to the gills!
The food is great, classic pub food, and there are many local and international beers to choose from. If you’re looking for cocktails, I’d recommend going elsewhere as it’s not what they do best. But Forresters is a perfect pub!
Does a well-balanced diet have to include ice cream? Sources differ. Subjective experience says yes.
Kristens is my absolute favourite ice cream place in Cape Town. It’s a little local brand — they make their own ice cream from scratch, and they’re always experimenting with new, exciting and totally unique flavours! The kitchen sink brownies, dark chocolate and cherry, and buttered maple are some of the best, but you’ll be spoilt for choice. They also make fantastic waffles and haffles (half-sized waffles).
Mama Roma is a beautiful little Italian restaurant that does Italian food exactly as you’d want it done. The seafood pasta is a huge fan favourite, as is the risotto porcini. And the atmosphere is really charming and cheerful!
This restaurant is just so darn cute. A hidden gem, it’s located at Josephine Mill and feels as if you’re entirely out of the city. The food is incredible, and the ambience is impeccable.
Hans and Lloyd Coffee Co
Last on the list is my favourite Newlands coffee shop. This is a perfect place to sit on your laptop and get some work done while you sip at a coffee. Their breakfasts are the best, and I would highly recommend getting something that includes mushrooms — there’s just something about the way they do their mushrooms! Also really good smoothies.
Free and cheap places in Newlands
Third place refers to a place where you can hang out and recharge that isn’t home or work. In Newlands, there are a few options that are available that won’t break the bank and you can enjoy your time there with friends or family.
- Walk through Newlands Forest — a great place to be surrounded by nature and away from the busyness of the city. Completely free and a new trek can be done every time you visit, making Newlands a great third place for Capetonians!
- Dog stroll through Papenboom Meadow — a quaint meadow filled with lush flora and shady trees, making this a great and free choice for dog walks and quick get-out-the-house missions. It also connects well with Newlands Forest for those keen walkers.
- Picnic and chill at the Ardene Gardens — an arboretum for exotic trees, shady paths, and picnic areas, this is an awesome place for nature excursions and hangouts with friends.
- Visiting Kildare Road and its many cafes and restaurants — you could return to this are weeks on end and not experience all the cafes and restaurants available to you. Barristers, Kristen’s, Noodlebox, Häzz, Hans and Lloyd… The list goes on!
Locals Corner: Participate in the community
This section is all about participating in the communities and societies of Newlands. We have recommended some websites where you can find out about initiatives, security information, urban developments, and much more in Newlands!
- Newlands Residents Associations (NRA) — founded more than two decades ago with the purpose of safeguarding the concerns of residents. NRA is a registered civic organisation with a big say in local affairs, such as community safety, property development, and environmental and heritage issues.
- Newlands (Cape Town) Community — this Facebook group is for residents and is primarily focused on social communication. Lost and Found items, recommendations, and discussions pertinent to Newlands like news and events too.
- Newlands Neighbourhood Watch — another Facebook group with the purpose of reporting crime and security-related issues.
- Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc) — is a member-driven NPO with branches all over South Africa as well as the Kirstenbosch Gardens. BotSoc was formed more than 100 years ago with a mission of conservation, cultivation, and study of flora across SA.
Where to stay
Newlands has some lovely cottages, guest houses and hotels within its leafy expanse. These are some of the very best for every budget range! If you’re visiting Cape Town on a shoestring budget, I don’t recommend Newlands — it’s too pretty, central and mountain-adjacent to be cheap!
Gorgeous hotel decorated with local art, with a gourmet restaurant, large fitness centre and spa, beautiful leafy garden and perfect views.
Self-catered cottage in the heart of Newlands, with a private pool and terrace, fully equipped kitchen and elegant furnishings.
Newlands Guest House
With a pool and sun terrace, private parking and friendly hosts, this lovely little guest house has everything you need.
Thinking of moving to Newlands?
Here’s a bit more information for anyone considering moving here! It’s a beautiful neighbourhood to stay in long-term, best suited to young families keen to be close to the CBD without the central city vibe.
Weather & climate
As you may know, Cape Town’s suburbs tend to have their own microclimates. Newlands is one of, if not the rainiest suburb in the city. That said, the summers are mostly clear and dry, while winter days are long, cool and wet. You can find out more here!
Pre-primary school: Kildare Primary
Primary school: South African College Junior School
High school: Westerford High
You can get your fruits and veg covered at the Montebello Design Centre, as well as local crafts. And The Avenue Cafe, also on Newlands Avenue, has tonnes of goodies from all over the world — you just have to look.
Most of your shopping will need to be done out of Newlands, though, as it’s largely residential. That’s fine because Claremont’s Cavendish Mall is a 5-minute drive away and will have everything you need!
Explore Newlands Cape Town
There you have it, a local’s guide to Newlands. I hope you’re ready to explore and find your own hidden gems and specific favourites among these classic bests!