Going to Victoria and not doing a Butchart Gardens tour is like going to Rome and skipping the Colosseum. Butchart Gardens is iconic Victoria, a bucket list item that is not to be missed. The gardens overlook Tod Inlet near Brentwood Bay, located approximately a 30-minute drive from Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
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You can take public transportation to get to the gardens (purchase a day-pass from the bus driver for $5 CDN per person). The city bus will take approximately 1 hour to reach the gardens from downtown.
Or, choose a private guide for an unforgettable excursion.
A private, local tour guide will pick you up at a convenient location – including the Port of Victoria if you are arriving by cruise ship – in their personal luxury vehicle. Most tours can accommodate up to 6 passengers and tours are usually quoted per tour, not per person. Be sure to read the particulars of each tour to ensure there is sufficient seating for your party. Compare tours of Butchart Gardens here.
Each guide has their own itinerary for a Butchart Gardens tour, but all are flexible and more than happy to customize the tour to your specifications.
A typical tour may start out with a visit to Fisherman’s Wharf – a unique little village of local house boats and the location of some awesome fish and chips. If you’re lucky, the local seals will pop their heads out of the water to say hello.
No tour of Victoria is complete without a drive through the Inner Harbour to see some historical buildings including the majestic British Columbia Parliament buildings as well as the Empress Hotel.
Next you may enjoy a drive through Victoria’s China town – the oldest China town in Canada and home to Canada’s narrowest road, Fan Tan Alley.
The neighbourhood of James Bay is a popular destination with quirky sites such as the gnome homes on Pilot Street and the tea cup tree on Clarence as well as well preserved examples of vintage architecture such as gables, finials and corbelled chimneys. James Bay is also the birthplace of author and Group of Seven painter Emily Carr.
A tour of Beacon Hill Park is another popular site on the Butchart Gardens tour. Beacon Hill Park is an expansive park located just minutes from the inner harbour complete with many amenities that appeal to visitors of all ages including one of the world’s tallest free-standing totem poles.
Next you may stop to see the exterior of the stately Craigdarroch Castle. Depending on your interests and time available, you may choose to tour the castle as well.
After seeing some popular downtown sites, sit back, relax and enjoy a scenic drive to the gardens, fully narrated with fun and interesting facts.
Want to take some photos as you go? No problem, with a private tour guide, they understand you want to capture the memories and are happy to stop wherever you wish. They will also be able to suggest some little-known gems such as the 360-degree views from Mt Tolmie.
Your tour guide will get you to Butchart Gardens and generally allow approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to explore the 55-acre property. Again though, if you want to customize your time at the gardens – or you just learned about the Butterfly Gardens and want to go there too, just make arrangements with your driver. It’s no problem at all, we’re pretty chill here on the Island!
With thousands of visitors in the city every day from May through October, these private tours book up quickly.
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