A guide to visiting Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island

A guide to visiting Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island
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(This post about visiting Butchart Gardens was updated in 2019)

 

One of the absolute must visit places on Vancouver Island are the very beautiful Butchart Gardens. The gardens receive over 1 million visitors a year who come to admire the colourful display of flowers. Spread over 55 acres they include the Sunken Garden, Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Star Pond amongst others.

In this post you will find information to help you to plan your visit to the gardens

  • Where are Butchart Gardens?
  • What is the history of the gardens?
  • What is there to do and see at Butchart Gardens?
  • When is the firework display at Butchart Gardens?
  • How much is admission to Butchart Gardens?
  • When is the best time to visit Butchart Gardens?
  • What food and drink is available at Butchart Gardens?
  • How much time do you need at Butchart Gardens?
  • How can I travel to Butchart Gardens from Victoria?
  • Essential information

 

BUTCHART GARDENS CANADA - FLOWERS AND STAIRS

 


WHERE ARE BUTCHART GARDENS LOCATED?


 

Butchart gardens are situated 23 km north of Victoria on Vancouver Island, BC Canada.

 

 


THE HISTORY OF BUTCHART GARDENS


The gardens were the idea of Jennie Butchart who (over 100 years ago) decided to design a flower garden in what was then an abandoned quarry. Her husband was a wealthy businessman who owned a cement plant on the island and the quarry had provided limestone to the business. Her vision and creativity led to the creation of what are now one of the most beautiful floral show gardens in the world.

 

FLOWERS AT BUTCHART GARDENS

 


WHAT IS THERE TO SEE AT BUTCHART GARDENS


As well as beautiful flower displays there are numerous gardens to visit across the 55 acres. The sunken garden is perhaps the most iconic of the gardens at Butchart. Enjoy a few moments admiring the view before descending into a garden filled with flowers, trees, shrubs and lawns.

If you are visiting the gardens between June and August head to the beautiful rose garden and enjoy the sight and smell of hundreds of roses. Take a picture under the Rose Arch.

The Japanese garden features lush greenery and is a tranquil setting to enjoy a few moments before heading to the Star Pond. The Pond is surrounded by beautiful flowers and in the centre you can find the frog fountain.

The Italian and Mediterranean gardens are not to be missed and stunning plants and displays.

If you are visiting the gardens in winter the former residence of the Butchart family is opened for visitors. Each room tells the story of the family and the creation of the gardens from the former quarry. In the summer there is a display which gives an insight into the history of the gardens too but the house is not open for visitors.

In Spring don’t miss the Spring Prelude Garden which features daffodils and tulips intermingled with tropical plants and orchids.

 

The star pond at Butchart Gardens

 


WHEN IS THE FIREWORK DISPLAY AT BUTCHART GARDENS


The firework display is held every Saturday night during the summer months. These are very popular so if you plan to park at the gardens head there early to ensure you get a space. Take a blanket to sit on and make sure to get a seat on firework lawn before the show starts as it becomes very full!

I would suggest visiting the gardens, having something to eat (High Tea) then heading over to the Concert Lawn for some live entertainment before moving over to the Firework lawn prior to the show. The fireworks only start when it is dark which can be after 10 pm in the summer months so again check on the website for anticipated times.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE – INSIDER’S GUIDE TO VISITING VANCOUVER ISLAND


HOW MUCH IS ADMISSION TO BUTCHART GARDENS


CHRISTMAS AT BUTCHART GARDENS

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE – TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN VICTORIA CANADA


I would devote at least 4 hours to visit the gardens with additional time to enjoy the entertainment and firework display in the summer. This will give you enough time to enjoy everything Butchart has to offer.

Butchart gardens in Autumn

 


WHAT FOOD AND DRINK IS AVAILABLE AT BUTCHART GARDENS?


The Dining Room – the formal option at Butchart encourages bookings with opening times depending on the season so do check on the website.

The Blue Poppy Restaurant – only open in the summer months this restaurant doubles up as an indoor garden in the winter. This offers more casual dining with no reservations necessary.

Coffeeshop – for warming drinks in winter and cool drinks in summer this is the place to stop off after your tour of the gardens.

Seasonal snacks are also available at Butchart Gardens including a gelateria, popcorn cart, coffee shop cart, and gourmet picnics in the summer months.

Recommended – experience High Tea whilst at Butchart Gardens. Consisting of savoury tea sandwiches, scone with jam and cream, traditional warm delicacies, house-made sweets and a selection of loose teas to choose from reservations are essential. The menu also changes seasonally so do check on the website for the exact menu availability.

restaurant at butchart gardens

 


HOW TO GET TO BUTCHART GARDENS


FROM DOWNTOWN VICTORIA

By car – 22 minutes via Patricia Bay Hwy/BC-17 or 25 minutes via Interurban Road

Bus  – Bus 75 from Douglas at Pandora

 

 


ARE THERE BUTCHART GARDENS TOURS FROM VICTORIA AND VANCOUVER?


If you prefer a tour I recommend these ones from Get Your Guide.

The Butchart Gardens were designed to delight visitors, and continue to enchant visitors today! This tour from Victoria will charm your senses. To maximize your experience, we give you time to discover the beauty of the gardens independently.

Visit Victoria with a local guide in private luxury vehicle at a leisurely pace. Enjoy a 1.5-hour ferry ride through the spectacular Gulf Islands, be amazed by Butchart Gardens. Explore, discover, and learn about Victoria’s history and places of interest.

 

A totem pole and flowered walkway in Butchart Gardens

 


ESSENTIAL INFORMATION


Check out the official website for more information – BUTCHART GARDENS 

 

PIN FOR LATER – VISITING BUTCHART GARDENS

Visiting the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island A GUIDE TO BUTCHART GARDENS VANCOUVER ISLAND - TRAVEL CANADA

 

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Author: Tracy

Tracy has lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to over 50 more. A qualified school teacher with an interest in history, reading, photography, nature and wildlife she is always planning her next trip (preferably by train)

With a lifetime of travel experience, and a network of friends all over the world, she is also able to share genuine insider guides, recommended best book lists and train journey inspiration to help you travel authentically to some of the most beautiful places on earth.

Come and join me as I travel the world one country (and train journey) at a time!

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42 Comments

  1. July 12, 2016 / 5:07 pm

    I’ve never been in the Glasshouses in Edinburgh’s Botanical Gardens but my husbands gamily live in Edinburgh so I’m going to put this on my list for the next time we vist

  2. December 2, 2016 / 9:34 am

    What a fabulous post! Botanical gardens are gorgeous and you have really done them justice with your photos and check out the blue sky in Edinburgh! Someone was smiling on you that day, oh and the fireworks in Vancouver, wow, I wasn’t expecting you to say you had seen that at the gardens! I love all the information you have provided as well, thank you, it means we have everything we need to know so I have pinned it for future reference! #feetdotravel

    • December 2, 2016 / 8:09 pm

      Thank-you Angie. The gardens were so lovely as are Singapore and Kirstenbosch in my next post – all stunning but so different. The firework show at Butchart Gardens is fabulous and if you get the chance I would definitely go when they are on.

  3. December 2, 2016 / 2:45 pm

    I always love to visit pretty gardens and these photos show me that I have to to go to both of these. I have pinned these and I look forward to the post on sland Singapore Botanical Gardens and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

    • December 2, 2016 / 8:05 pm

      Thank you! They are all really lovely gardens – all very different too!

  4. December 2, 2016 / 5:54 pm

    Fantastic gardens from different parts of the world. Really useful information for a visit and fabulous photos too. Thanks for sharing!

    • December 2, 2016 / 8:02 pm

      Thanks for reading! I love visiting beautiful gardens and these are definitely 4 of my favourites 🙂

  5. December 2, 2016 / 10:16 pm

    We passed on the chance to go to the Butchart Gardens and regret that now! So many beautiful flowers! I love gardens, but I do not have a green thumb of my own…

    • December 3, 2016 / 8:39 am

      The gardens are stunning we loved them plus the fireworks on certain nights made it even better. I hope you get the chance to go if you are near again.

  6. December 4, 2016 / 4:24 pm

    When I thought Edinburgh I never really thought of gardens, but these are quite impressive. My grandmother would really adore these 🙂

    • December 4, 2016 / 4:52 pm

      We loved them – was a nice afternoon stroll admiring the beautiful flowers ?

  7. December 4, 2016 / 4:37 pm

    Love the beautiful gardens from around the world. My favorite was the glass house the housed the orchids. My favorite. The outside gardens on Vancover Island are amazing. Thanks for sharing and looking forward to Part 2 🙂

    • December 4, 2016 / 4:46 pm

      Thank you Stephanie – They are stunning gardens – the orchids in Edinburgh were stunning 🙂

  8. December 4, 2016 / 6:44 pm

    I love visiting gardens and have been to quite a few. I enjoy them tremendously. Butchart is on my list. Your pictures captured the beauty of these places. Thanks for sharing!

    • December 5, 2016 / 9:04 am

      Thank-you Lisa. We loved Butchart and would love to revisit! It was a lovely day out.

  9. December 4, 2016 / 8:26 pm

    I can’t believe I missed this when I was in Edinburgh! Great details on the post and beautiful pictures. Will definitely add it to my list for next time.

    • December 5, 2016 / 9:03 am

      Thanks Helena – yes definitely worth visiting for the glasshouses alone ?

  10. December 4, 2016 / 9:07 pm

    Love these gardens! So many stunning plants and flowers – looking forward to Part 2! Thanks for sharing

  11. December 7, 2016 / 11:21 pm

    Wow look at these photos! They are all amazing. The gardens in this post look stunning! I love spending time in the nature and when ever there is a botanical garden around, I try to make time to check it out. Australia is great like that, I bet you are going to love it here!

    • December 8, 2016 / 10:14 am

      thanks Kreete! I am looking forward to the outdoor lifestyle and being able to enjoy visiting nice gardens

  12. December 8, 2016 / 2:00 pm

    Love the blog – botanical gardens are often under rated and you really highlight why they should be visited more love it!

    • December 8, 2016 / 7:32 pm

      Thank you Lauren – they are beautiful places to visit! Look out for my next post too 🙂

  13. December 11, 2016 / 9:00 am

    Both of the gardens are enchanting. Of the 4 that you are covering I have only visited the Botanic gardens of Singapore. Hence I will be looking out for the next part.

    • December 11, 2016 / 4:54 pm

      Thank you – hope that you enjoy the next post 🙂

    • December 11, 2016 / 5:03 pm

      Thank-you – hope you enjoy the next post too 🙂

  14. December 13, 2016 / 8:45 am

    I’ve not been to these. Our faves are kew and kirstenbosch though Singapore is the one I’m desperate to go too #citytripping

    • December 13, 2016 / 4:15 pm

      We love Kew too and I cover Kirstenbosch and Singapore in my next post – Singapore is beautiful especially the orchid garden. Definitely worth a trip – though Singapore is amazing!

  15. December 14, 2016 / 3:22 pm

    Next time I visit Edinburgh, I’ll make sure to stop at the Gardens. It looks so beautiful!!

    • December 14, 2016 / 4:55 pm

      I am sure you will love it Van – make sure to visit the glasshouses they are superb!

  16. December 14, 2016 / 4:45 pm

    I’ve definitely started exploring botanical gardens more since my daughter came along – they’re often lovely and cool in the heat and great for her to run around. #citytripping

    • December 14, 2016 / 4:54 pm

      I have a picture of me and my daughter at Kew when she was about 10 months old – great place to take her for a stroll in the pushchair. Now twenty years later I still love them and my daughter loved the orchid gardens in Singapore. Great places to visit!

  17. December 14, 2016 / 5:00 pm

    I will Jo – thanks for the great suggestion! (and a Bettys tea room too 🙂

  18. December 14, 2016 / 8:30 pm

    I love flowers and the more the better for me too! I rather like orchids so Edinburgh and definitely Singapore deliver those in abundance!I too would love to visit Keukenhof – it would be amazing!

  19. December 14, 2016 / 10:44 pm

    Beautiful. I love finding gardens when I’m travelling – especially in the least likely places. My favourite is possibly the botanical gardens in Singapore and Quito has a surprisingly lovely one too. Look forward to part 2!

    • December 15, 2016 / 7:39 pm

      Thank-you! I loved Singapore too. I have yet to visit anywhere in South America but will keep in mind Quito when I get to Ecuador! Thanks for the tip!

  20. December 15, 2016 / 11:35 pm

    I love a botanical garden. Enjoyed the one in Singapore and I live very close to Kew. Didn’t know about the one in Edinburgh. Thanks for linking #citytripping

    • December 16, 2016 / 5:12 pm

      Thanks Elizabeth – the one in Edinburgh is a great place to visit if you get the chance.

  21. January 21, 2017 / 6:54 am

    Hello Tracy, I really love to visit beautiful places especially gardens. I feel so relaxed and calm with natural beauty. Thank you for letting me know such a beautiful gardens.

    • January 22, 2017 / 5:12 pm

      Thanks Mike – I hope you get a chance to read part 2 as well!