Butchart Gardens are a popular spot to visit from Victoria, Vancouver, and even Seattle, either on a gardens tour or combined with a whale-watching cruise, sightseeing tour, or seaplane flight and three-course dinner in the park. As you make your way through the different garden areas—from rose-covered paths to the dramatic Sunken Garden—you can admire blooming bulbs in springtime, head out on the dahlia walk during summer, admire floral displays in gorgeous fall colors, or take in the Japanese-inspired garden in the winter months.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Wear clothing suitable for the outdoors; dress for the weather, and bring an umbrella or hooded jacket in the rainy months.
Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in the gardens or eat at one of the several on-site restaurants.
The gardens are both wheelchair and stroller accessible.
You may visit the gardens independently or with a tour guide.
Though cameras are encouraged, the use of selfie sticks is prohibited.
Wi-Fi is available at the coffee shop near the visitor center.
How to Get There
Butchart Gardens are 14 miles (23 kilometers) north of Victoria’s Inner Harbour on Vancouver Island, about 30 minutes away by road. Buses run to the gardens from downtown Victoria and the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal. You can also take a shuttle bus, taxi, or limo from the Fairmont Empress in Victoria to Butchart Gardens.
When to Get There
Butchart Gardens are open year-round, and during peak season (July through August) they get quite crowded between 11am and 3pm. Arrive at opening and you’ll be rewarded with few crowds and beautiful lighting for your photographs. On summer evenings, the gardens host fireworks displays every Saturday night in July and August. In December, the garden’s Waterwheel Square is converted into an outdoor ice-skating rink, complete with Christmas decorations and lights.
Butchart’s Themed Gardens
There are six themed gardens here: the Sunken Garden, the Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Italian Garden, the Concert Lawn Walk, and the Mediterranean Garden. The original Sunken Garden is a must-see, home to annuals, flowering trees, and unique shrubs, although kids will love the hand-carved wooden carousel along the Concert Lawn Walk. Meanwhile, the serene Japanese Garden invites contemplation and the small Mediterranean Garden has drought-tolerant plants from areas of the world with climates similar to Victoria’s.