Exploring Victoria: A Journey Through Time with Horse Drawn Carriage Rides

Carriage ride near the Parliament Buildings in Victoria

Victoria is renowned for our stunning waterfront, exceptionally well-manicured gardens and rich history. And one of the most charming ways to experience the beauty and heritage of this city, is through horse drawn carriage rides.

These tours offer a unique and nostalgic way to explore Victoria, blending the old-world charm with modern-day attractions. Carriage tours are highly recommended and sell out quickly, especially when multiple cruise ships are docked at the Port of Victoria. 

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking one of my links. Learn more here.

The Heart and Soul of the Carriage Tours: The Horses

The companies that operate the carriages in Victoria employ a variety of breeds known for their strength and gentle temperament such as Percherons and Belgians. These gentle giants are carefully selected and trained to handle the bustling city environment, ensuring both their safety and the comfort of passengers.The horses are robust and capable of pulling full carriages with ease, but they also have friendly dispositions that make them a favourite among guests.

Care for the horses is paramount. Our local companies all pride themselves on the exemplary care they provide the horses to ensure their health, well-being and happiness.  The horses are treated like family and enjoy a structured routine that includes regular veterinary check-ups, regular grooming, high-quality feed tailored to their needs and plenty of opportunities to relax in spacious pastures. The horses are not overworked and are rotated frequently to ensure they get enough downtime. They are also provided with specialized shoes to protect their hooves on the city's paved streets.

What to Expect on a Horse Drawn Carriage Ride

Horse drawn carriage with awning up

All horse drawn carriage rides start and end beside the British Columbia Parliament Buildings on Menzies Street at Belleville. The two main companies currently operating are Tally-Ho Tours and Victoria Carriage Tours. Black Beauty Line Carriage Tours has operated in the past however their website is currently offline.

The tours range from 30 minutes to 90 minutes and most carriages can accommodate a family or group of up to 6. Prices for carriage rides are quoted per carriage, not per person. Regardless of which company you choose to go with, all carriage tours will cover similar landmarks and scenery and can generally be tailored to suit specific interests.

30-Minute Tour

A short yet delightful tour that takes you through the historic James Bay neighbourhood, showcasing charming heritage homes and the beautiful Emily Carr House, once the residence of one of Canada's most famous artists.

James Bay

James Bay is one of the oldest residential districts in Victoria and is home to a plethora of heritage homes that date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition, James Bay is home of the oldest Canadian sports organization west of Montreal - the James Bay Athletic Association, home of the Bays Rugby teams. With quaint findings like the gnome homes on Pilot Street or the tea cup tree on Niagara, James Bay is worth exploring. 

45-Minute Tour

A slightly longer option, this tour includes the highlights of the 30-minute tour with the addition of the scenic Beacon Hill Park, a lush oasis in the heart of the city featuring beautifully landscaped gardens and tranquil ponds.

Beacon Hill Park

Beacon Hill Park is a highlight on many of the carriage tours. This expansive park offers a serene escape with its meticulously maintained gardens, tranquil ponds and abundant wildlife. The park is also home to one of the world's tallest free-standing totem poles, a remarkable piece of art that stands 38.8 meters tall. As you ride through the park, you can enjoy the vibrant colors of the flower beds, the lush greenery and the peaceful sounds of nature.

60-Minute Tour

carriage ride during covd

This comprehensive tour covers the highlights of James Bay, Beacon Hill Park, and the picturesque Dallas Road waterfront, offering stunning ocean views.

Dallas Road Waterfront

The scenic Dallas Road waterfront is another popular feature of the longer carriage tours. This picturesque route offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the Olympic Mountains in the distance. The fresh sea breeze and the sound of the crashing waves create a relaxing atmosphere, making it a perfect addition to the carriage ride. Along the way, you might see locals walking their dogs, cyclists enjoying the path and even marine wildlife such as seals or otters.

90-Minute Tour

The most comprehensive tour, this journey covers all the sights of the shorter tours, plus additional hidden gems of Victoria, providing a thorough and leisurely exploration of the city.

Other Notable Landmarks

Depending on the length and route of your tour, you might also pass by other significant landmarks such as the Royal BC Museum, which offers a deep dive into the natural and human history of British Columbia, and St. Ann's Academy, a beautifully restored historic site that was once a convent school. The tours often provide a narrative of the city's history and anecdotes about these landmarks, enriching the experience with fascinating stories and facts.

A horse drawn carriage ride offers a charming and nostalgic way to explore the city's historic neighborhoods, beautiful parks, and scenic waterfront. Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or simply seeking a unique and relaxing way to see the sights, these tours provide a truly memorable experience.

On one of our first dates in the city, my now-husband and I enjoyed a romantic carriage ride. Our knowledgeable guide highlighted the key attractions and allowed us ample time to sit back and savour the gentle clip-clop of the hooves, immersing ourselves in the timeless charm of the experience.

If a horse drawn carriage ride sounds ideal, click this link to find the perfect tour and be sure to book early to avoid disappointment.

Recent Articles

  1. Where to Stay in Victoria, BC: A Comprehensive Guide

    Jul 10, 24 12:42 PM

    Choosing the right place to stay can significantly enhance your experience. This guide provides tips and ideas to help you decide where to stay in Victoria.

    Read More

  2. Best Hotels in Downtown Victoria: My Top 10 Picks

    Jul 09, 24 06:08 PM

    Don’t risk being disappointed with your accommodations. Get trusted information about the 10 best hotels in downtown Victoria from a verified local.

    Read More

  3. Horse Drawn Carriage Rides in Victoria BC: A Journey Through Time

    Jun 08, 24 01:38 AM

    Experience the beauty and heritage of Victoria BC through a horse drawn carriage ride.

    Read More

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.