See the best of Victoria and its surrounding attractions on this activity-filled day tour! The perfect combination of free time and guided elements, this tour takes you across Vancouver Island’s Saanich Peninsula, from downtown Victoria to Butchart Gardens to the seaside town of Sidney. Visit the Mile 0 monument, Craigdarroch Castle, Mt Tolmie, and either the Butterfly Gardens or Church & State Wines. A picnic lunch and transport by comfortable motor coach are included.
Your Victoria day tour begins at the city’s most famous hotel, the Fairmont Empress, where you’ll meet your tour guide and board a deluxe motor coach. Drive through the neighborhoods of Chinatown, Beacon Hill Park and Cook Street Village, and visit the Mile 0 monument, where you have a quick photo stop at the beginning of the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1). Continue your tour to Craigdarroch Castle, a National Historic Site of Canada, where you’ll have a one-hour tour of the beautiful Victorian mansion.Back on the coach, head to Mt Tolmie, just north of the city, for a photo op of the panoramic views of Victoria and the surrounding area, and then make the one-hour drive to Butchart Gardens, passing through the suburbs of Oak Bay and Saanich.When you arrive, enjoy a ‘tea on the knee’ box lunch consists of savory sandwiches, homemade sweets and iced tea (see sample menu below). Sit down in a reserved area of the gardens to enjoy your alfresco lunch, and then wander around the gardens at your own pace. A National Historic Site of Canada, Butchart Gardens is home to more than 50 acres (20 hectares) of flowers and other plant life from all over the world. Check out the Japanese Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Rose Garden, Italian Garden and more.When it’s time to leave Butchart, head just five minutes down the road to either Church & State Wines or Victoria Butterfly Gardens, your choice (they are next door to each other). At Church & State, tour the winery facilities and enjoy a tasting of some of its best Okanagan and Vancouver Island varietals. If you choose the Butterfly Gardens, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the tropical jungle environment, discovering birds, exotic wildlife like poison dart frogs and, of course, fluttering butterflies. Meet back up with your tour guide on the coach and head to your last stop, the seaside town of Sidney, about 16 miles (26 km) north of Victoria. You have one hour of free time to explore the charming town — known as Sidney-by-the-Sea — at your leisure. Browse the independent shops, buy a snack at the local bakery or wander along the picturesque waterfront (food and activities at your own expense). Your Victoria sightseeing adventure ends with the 40-minute drive back to the Fairmont Empress Hotel.