When I was little, my grandma would take regular trips up to Victoria, B.C. with her friends. The one place she always raved about when she returned? The Butchart Gardens.
After hearing so many stories from her, I knew I had to make a trip up there myself one day. Fast forward to the present, and I finally made it! Not only did Victoria not disappoint, The Butchart Gardens was a definite highlight.
For those considering visiting The Butchart Gardens for the first time or thinking about a return trip, this post is for you!
7 Reasons You Should Visit The Butchart Gardens
1. Easy to get to
While located outside of downtown Victoria, there are a variety of convenient ways to get there:
Via Free Shuttle
If you book your tickets through the Victoria Clipper like we did, they'll provide you with a free shuttle ride to and from the gardens. We liked this because we didn't have to worry about any of the details. The Victoria Clipper gave us our garden tickets as soon as we got off the bus, and had return shuttles departing once an hour, on the hour.
Via Public Transportation
As someone who's always trying to save money on the road, I'm also a strong advocate for public transportation. If you didn't book your tickets to the gardens through the Victoria Clipper, Victoria's public bus system is still a viable option. Check out bus route 31 for a direct trip, or a combination of the 72 and 75 routes to get there.
TIP: For additional information on getting to The Butchart Gardens, click here.
2. Tea service fit for a queen
When it comes to traveling, there are some experiences worth splurging on. At The Butchart Gardens, it’s afternoon tea.
While uncommon in America, afternoon tea is popular in Britain, and cities like Victoria who have a strong English influence. The idea behind it is to have a light meal which curbs your hunger, and to socialize with the company you’re with.
Putting aside the ‘formal definition,’ afternoon tea at the gardens is simply a time to relax and enjoy being in such a special place.
What our afternoon tea included:
- A choice of tea from 9 different selections
- An English trifle (a.k.a. berry, cream and cake heaven)
- House scone with fruit preserve and cream
- 7 different kinds of finger-sandwiches
- A savoury quiche
- Petite sausage roll
- 5 different sweets (including a cute little truffle packaged in its own box)
* Menu items subject to change
In the colder months from October to March, afternoon tea is replaced by high tea. The concept and service is generally the same, only some of the dishes may be warmer and heartier.
3. Attention to detail
One thing which really blew me away was the staff’s attention to detail. It was raining the day we visited, yet as soon as we got off the bus there was a stack of clear umbrellas waiting. Instantly, the tone was set for how The Butchart Gardens treats its guests and it's property.
After touring the perfectly kept gardens and learning every food item is made from scratch, I couldn't help but be impressed.
4. Fifty-five acres of gardens
There’s a reason The Butchart Gardens is plural and not singular. In total, there are 5 distinct gardens - each inspired by a different theme.
The different gardens you’ll find:
- Sunken Garden
- Rose Garden
- Japanese Garden
- Italian Garden
- Mediterranean Garden
Because of the sheer size and uniqueness of the property, The Butchart Gardens is made up of a variety of micro climates. This means plants originally found in totally separate parts of the world are able to thrive almost right next to each other.
5. Unique experience every season
If you’ve already been to the gardens before and are wondering whether or not you should go again, the answer is yes! Both the plants and experiences differ depending on what season you’re visiting during.
For example, I visited in the spring when the tulips were at their peak, but missed the fireworks show and live entertainment which occur in the summer (meaning I'll definitely be planning another trip back to the gardens someday).
Seasonal experiences to look forward to:
- Tulip season - Spring
- Fireworks, live music and boat tours - Summer
- Fall colors in the Japanese Garden - Autumn
- Historical displays and indoor garden tours - Winter
- Light displays, ice skating and carolers - Christmas
6. A special history
I know history isn’t everyone’s favorite subject, but at The Butchart Gardens it’s pretty special. Everything the staff here embodies and practices is built upon their founder Jenny Butchart.
Over 100 years ago, Jenny poured her heart and soul into an empty limestone quarry - turning it into a blooming paradise. What started as an outlet for her creativity, became a place visitors came from miles (and worlds) away to see.
TIP: Keep an eye out for information plaques while your exploring the grounds, or simply ask a staff member to tell you more about the garden’s history. You’ll be blown away by Jenny’s efforts, and the lasting impact she had.
7. Something for everyone - including the kids
At the end of the day, the Butchart Gardens is place which brings people together. Whether you’re visiting alone, with friends, or with kids, the whole group is bound to enjoy themselves.
Year round experiences tailored to kids (and us adults who are kids at heart):
- Hand-crafted carousel
- Kid-friendly food at The Blue Poppy Restaurant
- Moss creatures near the Sunken Garden
- Party rooms for birthdays
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Wolves and Waterfalls was welcomed as a guest by The Butchart Gardens, the Victoria Clipper and Kenmore Air. As always, all opinions are own.