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Somerset West is found in the Helderberg Basin and is surrounded by magnificent mountains, fine beaches and stunning vineyards. Established in 1817 by four farmers, the village was named after the British Governor, Lord Charles Somerset in 1819. It has been extended quite a bit since its establishment but has managed to stay beautifully intact as it became the residential and commercial capital of the Helderberg Basin. Charming, old-fashioned buildings line the roads offering enchanting shops and boutiques for a pleasurable shopping experience including wine, chocolates, antiques and jewellery. There are quite a few historic buildings and monuments around town including the old NG church built in 1819, and the famous, beautifully restored homestead of the Vergelegen winefarm which was started in 1700. The wine route is a lush feature of the Helderberg region and falls part of the greater Stellenbosch wine route, including the oldest wine co-operative in the country. There is also a fruit route which is located about 15km away on the N2 and starts at Elgin. For those who prefer walks and trails, Somerset West offers many opportunities to take in some stunning mountain and ocean views including the Helderberg Nature Reserve which covers 245 hectares and has trails which would suit any type of walker and is famous for its views over False Bay and Cape Point. Somerset West offers ample opportunities to a range of sport lovers includes golf courses, a country club, bowls, soccer, tennis, squash, cricket, hockey and a pistol shooting range. Of course one of the most distinguished golf clubs in the region, Erinvale, is also situated in Somerset West. Other popular activities include the Firlands Farm Stall that has many arts and crafts stalls, a steam train, farmyard, pub and bakery. Then of course Somerset West is also home to the Country Craft Market which boasts an astounding 150 unique handcraft stalls where one is bound to find something of material and sentimental value. Somerset West has a Mediterranean climate. Therefore the summers are dry and hot but soothed with cool ocean breezes. Fortunately, the winter period wont all be grey as many days are usually dotted with sunny days throughout. For an ideal climate, Spring and Autumn are advised as it contains mild days and warm evenings. With regards to education, Somerset West has excellent institutions which range from pre-school to tertiary level including the esteemed Somerset College and Parel Valley, the latter of which is taught bilingually. Of course, the University of Stellenbosch is just around the corner as well. The area attracts residents from both home and abroad. Homes ranges from executive architect designed feature homes through to residential family homes and lock up and go convenience homes.
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