YOUR GUIDE TO VISITING THE FANTASTIC COCKINGTON GREEN IN CANBERRA
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We were all up bright and early the next morning, as this was our only full day in Canberra, and we wanted to make the most of it. After a yummy breakfast of blueberry pancakes topped with banana and honey, made by yours truly, we set off on our first stop of the day, Cockington Green. My family and I absolutely loved it here. Located in Gold Creek, which is just a 15-minute drive out of the city center, you could easily spend the whole day here. There are also heaps of other nearby attractions to help keep you entertained, such as the Canberra Reptile Zoo, Walk-in Aviary, and the National Dinosaur Museum (which is where we were heading next), but more about them later.
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Cockington Green is a place that will really fuel your wanderlust! The park contains handcrafted miniature models of English country towns, cute fairy villages, and an incredible selection of well-known buildings and monuments from around the world. All of which you can enjoy while you wander along their beautifully manicured paths.
As we approached the front entrance, I caught a glimpse through some trees of a beautiful black and white Tudor-style building surrounded by manicured front gardens. I literally thought that I had blinked and gone back to the English countryside! My day was off to an excellent start – a big tick! I adore Tudor buildings, so much so that I got married in one.
You first enter through the gift shop, which is packed full of fantastic souvenirs. I bought several lapel pins to add to my collection and various other trinkets. You’ll see the first display as soon as you exit the gift shop, which is a miniature version of Cockington Green itself. It’s just so damn cute! From here, we followed the multi-coloured flower-lined paths that gently guided us through the gardens until we ended up at a wonderful children’s play area. As soon as it came into view, Aria took off, running towards it without a moment’s hesitation! She was particularly taken by a miniature blue playhouse, which also had pretend farm animals for the children. They even had communal barbecues and tables to accommodate a picnic lunch. It really was a lovely family space.
After running around the park for a while, we decided to grab a coffee. Now it pains me to say this, but there was one slight negative to my trip, and that was the café. When you first walk in, you are greeted with a charming set of tables with little wooden chairs that had hearts carved into them. There were dark wood beams on the ceiling, which helped carry on the Tudor-style vibe. Sadly though, my food and coffee were awful. I ordered a latte with banana bread. It was probably the worst coffee I’d ever tasted, and the banana bread wasn’t much better. When they brought my food over to me, I first noticed that the banana bread looked really pale, almost like it had no bananas in it! Then I tried the coffee. It was bad. I’m a bit of a penny-pincher, so if it were anywhere near drinkable, I would have drunk it. Brownies honour! But I could only stomach a couple of sips before I discreetly chucked it away. I did force myself to eat some of the banana bread, but it tasted weird. However, it was honestly nowhere near enough to put me off wanting to visit here again, as I absolutely adore this place.
Food aside, I’d still encourage you to venture inside the café, as they have the most exquisite dollhouse on display. Probably the most stunning I’ve ever seen. The level of detail within the house had me smitten! I was particularly taken by the lavishly decorated piano room, which was so intricately detailed that it could be described as nothing short of fantastic. There was also a combined larder and pantry room with tiny condiment jars and boxes of food and a big fat goose stuffed on a large table. If it’s a nice day when you visit, you might want to eat on the café tables outside as there is a lovely stone bridge above a large pond which you can gaze upon while having your food. When leaving the café, be sure to exit through the front entrance so that you can see a miniature model of the city of Chester, which is located in a small room off to the right. Chester is situated in the north of England and famous for its Roman history and black and white Tudor-style buildings. There is also another beautiful but much smaller doll’s house, which is still worth a look, but it’s not quite as spectacular as the larger one next door.
Despite missing my coffee fix, we carried on looking around the exhibits. Just past the playground, you will come to what can only be described as a lovely quintessential English Village. It’s complete with half-timbered cottages and brightly coloured flowers. It’s dotted throughout with mini trees and ponds to help make them look so realistic. There was even an old-fashioned wooden football stadium, which I was so impressed with, due to my adoring love for the game, and a random hexagonal-shaped castle, which surprisingly slotted into the area quite well! I really did feel like I was in a small English village in the country, and I must admit, it did make me feel rather nostalgic.
The international section was by far my absolute favourite spot. As I write this post, the borders are currently closed here in Australia, with no indication as to when they might reopen, so it was great to be able to see so many ancient monuments of the world. Upon entering this section, I was greeted by a miniature St. Michael’s Monastery (located in Kyiv in the Ukraine). It was stunning, and it really stood out with its turquoise blue and white facade and gold-domed roof. Up until this point, the Ukraine had never really interested me before as a travel destination, but now I can’t wait to go and explore this beautiful church and the rest of the city. There was also a mini Petra, which I was ridiculously excited about seeing. Before the pandemic hit, I was planning a big trip to Egypt and Jordan for my 40th birthday, but now it could be several years before this trip happens. So, for now, this was as close to Petra as I was going to get!
As I walked around, I learned about many different places that I’d never seen nor heard of before, which was exciting. Sometimes, as a travel blogger and enthusiast, I think I know more than I actually do, so to read about places like the Borobudor Temple in Indonesia, a beautiful shrine in the shape of a lotus flower, was fascinating. This is definitely going on the bucket list. There was also a castle from the Czech Republic (you had me at castle) called Carlstejn castle, which looks like something straight out of a fairytale, and the incredible Red Fort in India with its bright red walls, that I have only ever seen in photos.
Right in the centre of this section is the Chateau du Bojnice, located in Slovakia. Again, I’ve never heard of this building before, but when I got home from Canberra, I did a bit of Googling and wow! Just wow! Think Disney princess castle, and you’re halfway there! It’s made from white-looking stone, with rounded turrets, medieval-style windows, and bright blue and red roof tiles. To complete this dreamy look, it’s surrounded by a mote and a tall, lush forest, which just adds to its beauty. I can just imagine it covered in snow in the middle of winter, but I bet it’s beautiful all year round. I just have to visit it someday!
Before we left, we rode the old-fashioned steam train in the park, which was such an enjoyable experience. It runs all around the edge of the gardens, and it was great to see the park from a different perspective. Aria loved it so much that she almost refused to get off! It was a nice way to wrap up our visit, as we got to see everything for one last time, and upon exiting the train, we headed to our next stop of the day.
As we were leaving, we spotted the cutest little fairy village right by the entrance, with lovely mushroom-shaped houses and fairy lights wrapped around the trees. It had a truly magical look. How did I miss this on the way in? I was definitely more excited about this section than Aria, but that’s probably because she was more excited about going to see the dinosaurs, so on our way, we went!
Thanks for reading my post today on Cockington Green in Canberra. This place might actually be my most favourite attraction to visit in the city. It’s just so different and unexpected from everything else. Being a travel blogger, I sometimes think that I have heard of every place under the sun, but then I come to places like this, where I learnt about many different sites that are completely new to me. Many have now made it onto my ever growing bucket list! If you’re in Canberra please put this wonderful place on your must-see-list. You won’t regret it!
Are you planning on visiting Canberra in the future? Have you visited Cockington Green before? Let me know in the comments section below.
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