This intimate experience is an all-day affair, perfect for anyone wishing to experience the best that our city has to offer with a guided tour that kicks off at the city’s famed Fairmont Empress Hotel. Travel through Vancouver Island’s most distinctive neighbourhoods to the beach town of Sidney. Going past cultural highlights including Beacon Hill Park, the Trans-Canada Highway Mile 0 Marker, Mount Tolmie and your choice of a local winery of the Butterfly Gardens. Enjoy a tea-style lunch prepared by the Empress Hotel while at the beautiful Victoria Distillers.
Your Best of Victoria tour begins at the city’s most famous hotel, The Fairmount Empress (721 Government Street), this is where you will meet your tour guide and board our Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van.
The tour starts with a tour going through Downtown Victoria, Chinatown, Beacon Hill Park and the Cook Street Village, and visit the Mile 0 Monument. The tour will also head to Mount Tolmie where you will be able to get off the van for a panoramic view of the city and surrounding areas. After the tour you will be dropped off at the beautiful Craigdarroch Castle, a National Historic Site of Canada, you will have one hour to explore the history of the mansion.
After the Castle, enjoy a short drive to the small coastal town of Sidney where you will have the opportunity to dine on the lunch provided by The Empress Hotel. After everyone is finished lunch you will go on tour of Victoria Distillers and learn about the Gin making process before getting a taste of the Gins.
After the tasting, you will have the opportunity to choose between the Butterfly Gardens, which is an indoor tropical jungle environment with birds, poison dart frogs, an insectarium and, of course, butterflies, or a wine tasting at Church and State Winery.
Once you are finished at your choice the guide will come back and take you to the stunning Butchart Gardens. This garden is over 50 acres and home to over 900 species of flowers and plants, you will be able to explore the gardens at your own pace.
The tour ends with a 40 minute drive back to the Empress Hotel.
9:00AM – Depart the Empress Hotel
9AM - 1 hour and 30 minute City tour
10:30AM – Arrive at Craigdarroch Castle
11:30AM - Depart Castle and start drive to Victoria Distillers
12:10PM - Arrive at Victoria Distillers
1:00PM – Depart Sidney
1:25PM – Approximately arrive at your choice of Butterfly Gardens or Church and State Winery
2:10PM – Depart Butterfly Gardens/ Church and State Winery
2:15PM – Arrive at Butchart Gardens
5:00PM – Depart Butchart Gardens (Guests travelling between June 15 – September 2 will have the option to catch our 6:00PM, 8:00PM or our 10:00PM returns for the gardens on our regular shuttles)
5:40PM – Arrive back in front of the Empress Hotel
Sample lunch menu Savory tea sandwiches:
Locally smoked wild BC salmon
Whole-grain mustard and maple-glazed smoked ham
Cowichan Valley chicken, curry spices, toasted cashews
English cucumber, fresh ginger cream cheese
Signature candied ginger scone
Poppy seed orange loaf
Chocolate Irish cream truffle