Trevyn McGowan’s perfect weekend in Cape Town

The co-founder of groundbreaking contemporary design platform The Guild Group and the Southern Guild gallery launched Africa’s first international design fair in 2014

Trevyn McGowan at the Beau Constantia wine estate
Trevyn McGowan at the Beau Constantia wine estate | Image: Per-Anders Pettersson

On Saturdays, I wake at 7am and if I’m lucky, I get a fabulous breakfast in bed. My husband, Julian, is a great cook so it is very “spoily”: organic bacon, grilled mushrooms, goat’s cheese, avocado. Usually, though, the whole family gathers at around 9.30am to devour croissants that Julian grabs from Foxcroft, the bakery and restaurant in Constantia launched last year by the chefs behind La Colombe.

We then head off to Muizenberg, the best beach for beginner surfers. One of my sons, Gabriel, has inspired Julian and me to start. We’ll have a lesson at Roxy Surf Club – sometimes I even manage to stand up – while the other lazy kids hang out on the beach; then we all have fish and chips for lunch at Lucky, on Beach Road.

We have a one-year-old Vizsla, Barrett – named after Syd Barrett by my 14-year-old guitar-fanatic son, Zachary – who likes long, meandering walks. Our house is on the Alphen Estate in Constantia and backs on to the most incredible greenbelt leading right up the back of Table Mountain, where there are plenty of trails – so on Saturday afternoon, all five kids, and my eldest son Jacob’s wife, come for a walk or some sort of outdoor adventure. They complain at first – I have to drag my youngest, Ryder, away from his video games – but we have great fun: recently, we rented giant scooters from Scootours and shot down Table Mountain.


After our walk, we have an early evening swim in the pool and then we all go out for supper. We may go to Beau Constantia, a contemporary wine estate perched high on Constantia Nek, overlooking the bay; or to Harbour House in Kalk Bay for the freshest oysters and shellfish. It sits out on the rocks and waves crash against the windows.

On Sunday morning, I’ll try to lie in until around 8am. Often I go for a walk in the mountains with my friend India, who runs Brave, a programme that supports girls from troubled backgrounds. Then I will take my daughter, Ruby, to the V&A Waterfront for some “teenage shopping” at The Watershed. It’s got a great mix of fashion, handicrafts and jewellery from hundreds of designer-makers. We then grab something delicious from the food market – a steak and rocket wrap from Vagabond Kitchens is a favourite – and we pop into the new Guild space, which is a gallery, studio and concept store.

We always have an enormous family roast on Sundays – it’s not a South African tradition, but Julian is British – and my parents and sometimes one or two of the kids’ friends come along, so there are usually at least 12 of us. We are spoilt when it comes to ingredients: in the past three years, Cape Town has seen a huge boom in great quality butchers, delis, wine shops and places to eat. We get ethically sourced meat from Frankie Fenner, and have Eisen & Viljoen, a Bordeaux-style red from the Normandie Est 1693 winery in the Franschhoek region of the Cape Winelands, which we buy online from the South African retailer


After we’ve eaten, we play games around the table and then sit around the fire in winter, or in our courtyard when it’s warm. Later, we all pile into the cinema room for any film that can hold everyone’s attention. Studio Ghibli films are a favourite, and we recently watched Guardians of the Galaxy. I try to get everybody off to bed at a reasonable time, then Julian and I jump into bed, discuss the week ahead and watch an episode of whatever series we are engrossed in. This is our one moment of alone time and it feels precious. I would love to get to sleep by 10pm but I never do; I am always sorting and plotting until midnight. I then sleep very deeply until 6am when I’m up to make four lunch boxes and start the weekly grind.

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