New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published October 24th 2015
Update August 31st 2017
Lanyon Café has been refurbished and is now called Barracks Espresso Bar and Eating House.
Pizza or a Ploughmans at historic Lanyon Homestead
Lanyon Café is situated inside the property at Lanyon Homestead, a historical home built in 1859 and a focal point of the local sheep and cattle farming community at the time. The property is 30km's south of the CBD in Tuggeranong - minutes from the suburbs but in a completely rural location. There are guided tours available to explore this stately home, displaying beautifully preserved rooms with original furnishings and wide open verandahs.
Once you have explored the property, it is at the Lanyon Café where you can sit back and enjoy this stunning location looking over to the Brindabella Mountains.
As you drive into the property, it is long, unsealed driveway to get to the homestead carpark. There are notices along the way to remind you that areas of this property are still a working farm, so you may encounter sheep, horses or cows along the way. As soon as you enter the property, the rural atmosphere immediately slows down the pace and the long driveway gives you time to forget your city troubles and enjoy the simpler pleasures of a bygone era.
The main house at Lanyon Homestead is a beautiful sight as it opens up before you. With Bunya Bunya trees above, the walk into the property is a scenic one with garden paths down to orchards and quaint gardens. It is free to walk around the gardens and enjoy the café, however if you want a tour inside the home there is a fee. See here for more information.
Behind the homestead is a series of courtyard buildings built in the same era, used for storing their food, grains and machinery. Some of these buildings are open to explore, telling the stories of John Lanyon and James Wright who established the property in 1835, using convict labour to build the original dwellings and farm the land to provide food for them all. The Cunningham family bought the property off them in 1859 and built the stately home that remains today.
Courtyard buildings ( the back of Lanyon Cafe on the right)
The café is also one of these historic buildings in the courtyard, with outside picnic tables looking out to the rural scenery on the other side of the courtyard. If you haven't shaken off the city woes by now, then relaxing in this peaceful spot under the trees is sure to slow you down.
The seating area inside the historical building consists of a dozen tables to sit at and enjoy the interior features of the building. There is also a working fireplace, so if you visit in Winter this would be a cosy hideaway.
For a small café, the menu is extensive with breakfast, lunch, dessert, drinks and wine list available. Apart from the delicious café options on the menu you can enjoy traditional colonial fare such as scones and cream, pot pies, ploughman's lunch, welsh rarebit and damper.
Since discovering the Lanyon Café a few weeks ago, our family have been there twice to enjoy the ambience, the gardens and in particular the good food. The Breakfast Menu includes (at the times of writing) The Barracks Breakfast including scotch fillet and damper, Eggs in Purgatory, Breakfast Damper, Eggs Benedict (weekends only), House made Muesli, Croissants and more.
Pancakes with maple syrup ($12.50) available until 3:30pm.
Lunch Menu items include (at the time of writing) Lentil and Macadamia Nut Burger and salad, Steak sandwich, Roast Duck pizza, Lamb pizza, Lasagna and Gnocci, just to name a few. There is also a Specials Board to choose from and they also cater for weddings, parties, conferences and groups for High Tea.
Lentil and Macadamia Nut Burger (on damper) and salad ($16.50)
If you think your vegetables tasted fresh in your meal, head on down to vegie patch on the property and see where they all came from. The beautifully manicured gardens are enjoyable to explore, with benches located around the property so that you can just sit and take in the view.
Lanyon Café is a surprise, a hidden gem only minutes from Tuggeranong's suburbs. I am ashamed to say, as a Tuggeranong resident for the last year, I have never driven in to have a look at this historic property and explore its gardens. It is now a favourite destination for our family to enjoy a slower pace of rural life, learn more about local history, for our daughter to have a run in the gardens and for us to enjoy the beautiful food at the café.
It is a part of Canberra's history that we can all enjoy.
Why? Enjoy modern colonial fare at this historical property
When:The cafe is open the same hours as Lanyon Homstead, Tuesday to Sunday 10am - 4pm. Gates close at 4:30pm. Available for dinner Thursday to Saturday by appointment. Cafe available for weddings and functions.