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1-Hour Victoria City Tour and Butchart Gardens
"After your guide picks you up you'll start out by visiting Fisherman's Wharf. Have a quick look at the local house boats and possibly see a local harbor seal. Then drive through the inner harbor and observe some historical sites such as the Parliament Buildings and the Empress Hotel. Make your way through the historical downtown to Canada's oldest Chinatown and then to James Bay heritage community. Visit the birth place of the famous author and painter Emily Carr. Afterw your guide will drive you through Beacon Hill Park (the largest inner city park) passing by the world's tallest totem pole and then towards the Lieutenant Governor's mansion. From there you'll have the opportunity to stop to view the exterior of the historical Craigdarroch Castle. Next
From CAD320.00
Victoria Full-Day Private Tour
"Start your Victoria day tour with a ferry ride through the beautiful emerald green Gulf Islands recently voted one of the top 6 destinations for 2016. Your first stop is Butchart Gardens Victoria's number one tourist attraction. A floral array of colour and fragrance fills 55 acres of the gorgeous 100 year old garden quarry. Next head to Victoria Harbour home of the BC Parliament Buildings (tour included). Wander through Old Victoria's unique boutiques and shops and savour some of the local cuisine at the many bakeries restaurants and candy stores. Finish the day with a beautiful afternoon drive around Oak Bay and capture the spectacular scenery around Old Victoria. Enjoy the fresh evening breeze with a ferry ride back to Vancouver to complete your land/sea adventure."
From CAD1,679.00
Private Tour: Butchart Gardens and Saanich Peninsula
"The Butchart Gardens draw more than 1000000 visitors to the Saanich Peninsula every year to experience world-class gardens and incredible scenery.  Designated a National Historic Site due to its international acclaim and renown the gardens offer vibrant displays of verdant plant life and scenic pathways allowing visitors incredible opportunities to explore graceful fountains recreated Japanese temples and renaissance-inspired displays. Your 2.5-hour tour starts with a pickup from your Victoria-based hotel or lodging in a small 10-passenger van.  After meeting your driver and tour host you will drive through half an hour of strikingly lush natural scenery as you make your way to the gardens.  Your guide will intersperse bad jokes and personal anecdotes with a careful narration of the history and details of the Saanich Pe
From CAD421.00

Butchart Gardens Tips (61)

Butchart Gardens 3

We moved away from the Japanese Garden and back into the Italianate and Rose Garden areas. The former had a fountain and statue or two while the latter traded on its name with a multitude of varieties.
There is so much variety in the geometrical patterns of the classical garden that you're never sure of what you'll come across next.

iandsmith's Profile Photo
Apr 13, 2016

Butchart Gardens part two

After breakfast we headed off in a different direction, finding ourselves in the Japanese Section. The rain was more a sprinkle at this time, the cloud cover lending an even light which was good for photography if nothing else.

iandsmith's Profile Photo
Apr 12, 2016

Butchart, as in Gardens

I'd heard so much about this place and was worried that the hype may exceed the reality. I needn't have worried, it lived up to its reputation and then some. We were on an APT tour and had the good fortune be booked in to breakfast before anyone else arrived and then have 20 minutes before the general public arrived.
The breakfast was very good, without being outstanding, but just sitting in the room where Mrs. Butchart used to dine and view her handiwork was a lovely experience.

iandsmith's Profile Photo
Apr 12, 2016

Amazing! Fabulous and Enchanting Gardens

The Butchart Gardens are amazing! We only had a couple of hours to spend and definitely could have spent an entire day roaming the gardens, dining in the gardens and watching their evening entertainment. This is truly one of the most impressive gardens and a "must see" for anyone visiting the Victoria area. There are so many different aspects to the Gardens and a quick tour just barely touches on these. The story of how these amazing gardens were created adds even more to appreciation of its beauty.

TIP: Make good use of the Map and roam the gardens. If time allows enjoy a picnic lunch in the Gardens or dine at the Italian/Mediterranean

charlenemixa's Profile Photo
May 30, 2014
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Beautiful butchart Gardens.

Robert and Jennie Butchart arrived here 100 years ago. Until 1912 this property was mining limestone until the Butcharts began planting trees, shrubs and plants that they collected from around the world on their travels.

Now, as autumn unfolds and the days get cooler, you can wander under a canopy of red Japanese maples toward two graceful silver birch trees with striking yellow leaves. All the colors of "The fall" are here to entertain you with over 50 acres of gardens, a coffee house, picnic grounds, fountains and restaurants to add to your experience.

The smile on my wife’s face was worth the plane ticket, not just the admission price!

K.Knight's Profile Photo
Apr 24, 2011

Christmas Lights Extravaganza at the Gardens

One of the things Buchart Gardens advertises is their Christmas light show. So, today I visited the Christmas Lights Show.

As there is very little in bloom in the garden during this time, and since various plants are strung with electrical wires, and since various other areas that would normally be open grass feature various temporary sculptures and other such items, I am counting this as a different tip than a normal Butchart Gardens tip. The gardens simply are not at all the same as normal this time of year.

While the victoria Clipper from Seattle to Victoria is a decent deal during the winter, it is not a good deal to add the Butchart Gardens Christmas Lights tour to this package, at USA$52. This price might make sense if you absolutely do not want to find your way up to the gardens by public transportation ($2.50 each way, plus garden entrance fee). The fact is that one of the suggested things on Buchart Garden's web site is to pay the entrance fee and visit in the afternoon, then stay or visit again in the evening, so that one can see the gardens in both the daylight and lit up at night. If I had added this trip to Victoria Clipper, the tour wouldn't have arrived until after 5 at night - meaning that I would miss exploring the garden during the day, as well as being able to see the Japanese Gardens, parts of the Sunken Garden, and a few other pathways that were closed at 4 PM due to the desire to have some viewing orchestration for the light show.

However, it is possible to purchase just the Butchart Gardens tickets from the Victoria Clipper shop on the boat. This is only USA$26. This may seem to be a bit of a dig too, since the garden only reports the entrance fee as being only $23.57. However, keep in mind the prices listed on the garden web site, and at the entrance gate, do not include the 12% Harmonized Sales Tax. However, the USA$26 sold by the Victoria Clipper include all of the costs - so it really isn't that bad. On my trip over I paid for the ticket, received a voucher, and exchanged the voucher for an entrance ticket when I got to the garden.

Sure, it is winter time and there isn't anything at all in bloom today, and the chance of rain is good (I did get a bit wet!) but at the same time I might as well do what the garden themselves suggest and get the most out of my entrance fee - so I decided to not do the package tour with Victoria Clipper. Instead, I went there on my own, and arrived about 3 rather than the package tour time of 5.

The sheer number of lights was quite impressive, but there are a lot of pathways that you can walk down in the garden. To really see everything that is going on here, you really need to venture down a number of different side trails, and make several loops of the garden. Otherwise, parts of the garden that have decorations would be easy to miss.

By arriving before 4, it was possible to see some of the areas that had lights from a different angle than would be allowed after 4, as those areas were closed. For example, the sunken garden features an elevated viewing area which was closed for the Christmas lights event, but open before 4. The entire Japanese Gardens section was closed after 4 as well, and didn't feature any Christmas decorations - and considering the nature of the event probably it would be against the serenity tradition of the Japanese gardens to have a lot of loud animated sculptures at it.

This year, the light decoration theme was "12 Days of Christmas" and included decorations that matched the characters of the song. This included lighted wire forms, light forms, sculptures, and automated marionettes.

While it was a bit more difficult to get here than it would have been on the bus tour, I think it was well worth the extra effort to get here before the various parts of the garden closed for the evening. Darkness falls early here, and so staying in the garden also helped me to get some photos of the lights in partial light - which with a very light touchy camera is fairly important to do. Complete darkness with Christmas lights seem to make it very confused.

Getting Here:

VT member Goodfish pointed out this good page on the Buchart Gardens web site with all manner of instructions on how to get to the gardens. However, somehow while stumbling through their menu system, I did not find this page.

The best thing to do is to find a bus #75 that is going directly from downtown to the gardens. However, only a very few of them operate this complete route in the winter season, and many of those that do operate into downtown Victoria do not go to Butchart Gardens. You will therefore want to pay close attention to this timetable, as it may make things a lot easier for you. For example, had I left downtown Victoria at 1 in the afternoon, I could have taken the #75 all the way to the gardens from downtown. Otherwise, you have to take bus route #30, #6, or #31, or some other bus from downtown north to "Royal Oak Exchange" which is basically just a busy street intersection with a bunch of bus stops at it. I wound up taking #30 and then #75. The bus between downtown Victoria and Royal Oak Exchange turned out to be fairly time consuming and rather circuitous. Certain versions of bus 30 and 31 are express buses, and those stay on the main roads. There is also an express version of the #32 that seems to make a reasonably quick trip from downtown Victoria to Royal Oak Exchange, but it doesn't appear in the winter timetable. Bus route #6 also has a somewhat faster trip than the locals, but they all take between 20 and 30 minutes to get from downtown to Royal Oak Exchange.

Once at Royal Oak Exchange, your wait depends on how well you read the timetables. During many times of the day, #75 operates only once every half hour, and service levels quickly drop to hourly in the early evening. Traveling with the rush hour, however, it does operate once every 15 minutes.

My understanding is that #75 goes to downtown Victoria more regularly in the summer months as the gardens are a much more popular tourist attraction in the summer months. However, the Christmas lights show isn't during the summer months.

There is also a bus route that goes to the gardens from the ferry in Sidney. It is bus route #81, but it doesn't operate very frequently at all.

Of course, if you do decide to take the $52 Victoria Clipper tour, you don't have to worry about any of that as they have a dedicated motor coach to take care of that.

Driving to the garden is possible. Simply drive north on the Patricia Bay Highway and follow the signs once you get to Keating X Road. The road into the garden is very narrow and steep in places, and though they do run regular buses to the garden you probably don't want to be driving this thing with a full size motorhome or other huge vehicle. The bus takes up most of the road, and meeting between two such large vehicles on the narrow part of the road could be interesting at best. Parking is through the main gate and to the right. However, keep in mind this is a very popular tourist attraction, and parking may be frustrating at peak periods.

glabah's Profile Photo
Dec 28, 2010

Butchart Gardens - Unmissable !!!

The Butchart Gardens represents the single most impressive gardens in a city that is often called the "city of gardens". This gardens are unmissable, even if you go to Victoria just for one day.

The gardens were begun by Jenny Butchart and it was open in 1904. There are the Rose, Italian and Japanese gardens and the most beautiful one: the Sunken Garden. Today the site is run by the Butchart's grandson and covers some 130 acres and receives around 500,000 visitors a year.
If you come there in the summer months, you'll be able to enjoy the musical entertainment and the fireworks displays. Fireworks are shown on Saturdays from late June to late August.
On December you can enjoy "The magic of Christmas" where thousands of lights and season decoration will welcome you.

Don't forget to visit the Benvenuto seed & Gift store which, besides selling seeds of some of the garden's plants, has a great range of books, gerdening implements, cards, calendars, plant catalogs, etc.

I recommend you to visit it in late afternoons as it is generally the quiest time to visit.

cinthya_in_victoria's Profile Photo
May 02, 2008

Butchart Gardens

These gardens are quite lovely, though I would have liked to have seen more plant species on display. Still, they make for a pleasant day trip. The sunken garden is beautiful, the Japanese garden peaceful (if you can filter out the hordes of tourists), and the rose garden wonderfully fragrant. In the peak summer months there are fireworks on Saturday evenings. Bring a blanket and reserve a spot on the lawn if you want a good view; there are a lot of ground fireworks that would be hard to see at the back of the crowd. The Garden houses two restaurants: The Blue Poppy (cafeteria style, but decent food) and the Garden Restaurant (fine dining; try the afternoon tea just for the experience; make reservations!).

Babzz's Profile Photo
Jan 19, 2008

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"Very Victoria"
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Great by night or day

Judging by pictures it looks gorgeous during the day but my guess is it's a good place to visit when it's warm. When we went to see gardens at night it was lit with 12 days of Christmas theme and it was fun walking around and guessing each decoration. But be warned - it's very cold there at night in winter, so pack gloves, warm socks, warm shoes and a coat.

To get there we went with Gray Line tour, which supposedly has no problems, but on the day we went they were over booked and did not have enough busses, so we ended up waiting for over an hour for a new bus to come. We still had a great time, becasue gardens take you less then an hour in the evening but my advise show up to the bus stop an hour early just so you don't have to wait and get annoyed.

olgaehr's Profile Photo
Jan 07, 2008

Breathtaking Butchart Gardens

The Butchart Gardens are 55 acres of unbelievable floral display located in Greater Victoria on Vancouver Island. Any trip to the city of Vancouver is incomplete without a visit to this horticultural wonderland. The Gardens reinvigorate the soul as they showcase the splendor and beauty of Mother Nature in all her glory. The most beautiful flowers from across the globe are all magnificently displayed at your fingertips. A more peaceful, tranquil, and enjoyable experience cannot be had. Also, the multiple "themed" gardens allow you to experience different cultures in a very unique way. We used the West Coast Sight seeing tour service. They were great. This takes an entire day but is absolutely worth it. Enjoy a ferry cruise through beautiful Active Pass in the Gulf Islands to Victoria. A stop at the Gardens before being dropped off to explore downtown Victoria allows you to see everything Victoria has to offer at your own pace and without having to stay overnight. The trip back to Vancouver can take up to 4 hours, but they offer a sea plane option for the trip back to Vancouver which is more expensive but worth it's weight in gold. You get to experience Victoria without the long travel time.

932john's Profile Photo
Dec 21, 2007

Visit and go around the Buchart Gardens

Victoria is famous because of its Buchart Gardens. When you get there, make sure to go to the rose garden. Count the numbers of different classes of roses! They have everything! They even have the so called-black rose! Smell the sweet roses and when you get tired, follow the path to the Japanese Garden.

Cross one of the Japanese bridges and check all the Japanese maple trees and the bonsai plants. Go all the way to where you can peek the ocean!

The Burchart Garden is especially beautiful in the spring time because most of the flowers are in bloom! But, the garden has an all-year round flowering plants so even if you visit in any seanson, the garden is still beautiful!

joiwatani's Profile Photo
Aug 01, 2007

Fun for Everyone!

Everyone always enjoys an afternoon spent at the Butchart Gardens. For first time visitors, allow about two-three hours for moderately paced walkers, add on an hour or so for those who prefer to amble at a more leisurely pace.

To reach the gardens, you can drive, take a tour bus or schedule your day around one of the city busses that run to the gardens (infrequent but cheap and workable). There are restaurants on site if you want to get lunch or dinner, and a fabulous gift shop too.

The gardens are divided into themes including The Sunken Garden (in an old quarry I believe), The Japanese Gardens, The Rose Gardens, The Italian Gardens, etc. In the summer there are fireworks on Saturday nights, and in the winter they have a "Twelve Days of Christmas" display with a new "day" being added each year.

You're going to be out in the sun, so bring your hat, sunscreen and a water bottle! Pack a snack for kids and anyone with a big appetite (or eat at one of their restaurants). Umbrellas can be borrowed for free in case of rain, I'm not sure about wheelchairs...

Jun 11, 2007

Things to Do Near Butchart Gardens

Things to Do

Butterfly Gardens

As Anne and Sue were visiting the Butchart gardens, they decided to make a day of it and check out the Victoria Butterfly Gardens as well. The Butterfly Gardens house hundreds of varieties of...
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Hatley Castle

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City Hall

Victoria City Hall is located on Douglas Street and Pandora Avenue. It was completed in 1890 and was designed by architect John Teague. Outside there was a statue and a memorial to Victoria's...
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Harbour ferries

Well known for its charming city center the picturesque harbor, is a manageable on walking and explore the charming harbor and main city streets without paying for needless tours. The harbor area...
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Fisherman's Wharf

FIsherman's Wharf is Victoria's hidden treasure waiting for discovery! It's so close to downtown, and has a vibrant atmosphere with funky floathomes, fishing vessels and marine life! You get a front...
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Market Square

Market Square dates from the late 1800s. This was a time when Victoria was enjoying rapid growth and prosperity due to all the gold prospectors passing through on their way to seek their fortunes in...
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Getting to Butchart Gardens


800 Benvenuto Ave


  • Sunday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Monday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Tuesday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Wednesday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Thursday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Friday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Saturday 09:00 to 17:00