The Elgin Railway Market opened its doors in 2018 in the picturesque town of Elgin in the Overberg region of the Western Cape.
Elgin is a large, lush area of land, circled by mountains and dominated by vineyards and apple orchards. This broad upland valley lies about 70 km southeast of Cape Town. The cool temperatures in the Elgin valley lead to wine and tourism consequently becoming significant parts of the valley’s economy.
Conveniently located 2.3km from the N2 just outside Grabouw, the Elgin Railway market recently opened its door to the public with an array of food and craft stalls. Upon entering the extensive safe parking area next to the market, I noticed the assortment of number plates, from Cape Town, to Johannesburg and even near-yet-far towns of Worcester and Malmesbury which shows the popularity of the market.
This old apple warehouse was converted into a bustling steampunk market, complete the elaborate designs, sweeping staircases and my personal favourite, the ginormous fan operated by belts and pulleys that looks like something from Top Gun. The metal arches and combination of raw brick and modern light fittings gives this market a historic yet modern-day inviting atmosphere.
This Art Deco & Art Nouveau inspired market offers appetizing food and outstanding fresh produce from local vendors. Browse through the selection of tantalising food and beverage stalls as well as a wide selection of Elgin and surrounding areas’ wines for sale.
Outside the main entrance you are welcomed by Burning Books’ mobile bookstore housed in a red 1955 Bedford Green Goddess fire truck. This innovative library allows children, and adults, to spend time reading through books the old-fashioned way whilst visiting the market.
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Expect fashion, jewellery, home décor, kiddies wear, flowers, natural skin care, deli goods, accessories, vintage collectibles, art, ceramics and delicious foods surrounding the main dining hall. I found the long harvest table leading onto a small balcony on the mezzanine extremely inviting and a perfect setting to enjoy your meal while overlooking the train tracks below.
Treat yourself with breakfast from the vendors on the ground or mezzanine floor. Leisurely stroll through the stalls as hands-on creators enthusiastically talk you through their wares from craft beers to decadent baked goods, handcrafted cheeses, breads and even adventures in the form of Segway tours or walk climbing.
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You’ll also find homemade cakes and pies, ice cream, Mexican dishes, fresh fruit juices, schwarma and burgers from the friendly vendors on the ground level. If you’re shopping with a conscience you can buy organic fruit and vegetables from the friendly lady on the far end of the building.
Whilst some argue that markets like this break the bank, it’s not always the case. Meals average between R60 to R100 and offers visitors a unique foodie experience away from the bustling city.
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With plenty to eat, drink and take home, this market does not disappoint. There are even activities available to keep the kids busy while you browse. Whether you come at nine or noon, there’ll be a ready-meal to satisfy your hunger.
Steam Train Experience
Experience the glamour of vintage train travel with a day trip aboard a restored steam train. The sight and whistle of an oncoming steam train is something that has become almost nonexistent, but now this spectacle can be used as a means of transport to the market over weekends, or even just admired from the market’s railway platform in Elgin.
The Ceres Rail Company offers day trips to the Elgin Railway Market every weekend, departing at 08:00 from the Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town.
Enjoy a 3-hour train excursion to Elgin, where you have another 3½hours at leisure to explore this unique market before heading back to Cape Town.
Tickets: R750 per Adult | R500 per Child | Infants under 2 – FREE | Duration: 9.5 Hours
Market trading hours
Mondays – Fridays
Ground Central Coffee Shop: 08h00–17h00
Flour + Love Breakfast and Lunch: 08h00–15h00
Corlie’s Italian – Pizza: 16h00–21h00
Bar – Beer and Wine: 16h00–21h00
Limited selection food vendors: 17h00–21h00
Bar – Beer and Wine: 17h00–21h00
Full Market: 09h00–18h00
Full Market: 09h00–17h00