Welcome to the world of botanical brilliance! Nestled along the Saanich Inlet between the ferry terminal and Victoria BC, the Butchart Gardens are a floral wonderland that offers an unforgettable journey through vibrant blooms, serene paths, and exquisite landscapes. This oasis, steeped in over a century of history, is a must-see for nature lovers, garden enthusiasts, and anyone seeking beauty and tranquillity.
Whether you’re planning your first visit or returning for the umpteenth time, our insider’s guide will take you on a virtual tour through the gardens’ unique features, recommend the best times to visit, suggest exciting activities, and unveil secrets to make your experience truly enchanting. Get ready to enter a world of colour, fragrance, and stunning vistas that change with the seasons at Butchart Gardens.
There are some amazing gardens in the Victoria area but only Butchart Gardens has the designation of one of the top tourist destinations on Vancouver Island. Despite its somewhat secluded location in Brentwood Bay, which is 30 minutes away from Victoria, there are several transportation options available.
During the summer months (June to September) Bus Route 75 has a direct route from Douglas Street to Butchart Gardens.
Or another option is taking bus route 70/71 to Hwy 17 at Mt Newton X, then walking to Mt Newton Cross Rd at Hermwood and taking Bus 81 to Butchart. For a live map and up-to-date routes, visit Next Ride.
Once you pass through the gates, you immediately appreciate the benefits of the area’s distinct and moderate climate. Trees, shrubs and flowers from around the world thrive in the area, providing visitors with a diverse selection of flora to appreciate. Take your time and enjoy a stroll through the wide, accessible paths that wind through the six beautiful gardens spanning 55 acres of meticulously maintained grounds. Here, you will discover ponds, fountains, and lawns representing diverse plant species from around the globe.
When visiting Butchart Gardens, it is recommended to bring a camera and wear comfortable walking shoes—plan for two to three hours to fully enjoy the sights and experiences the gardens have to offer. Food services are available on-site, restaurants, ice cream and coffee shops are conveniently located along the walking route.
Amenities: Washrooms, food and entertainment
Pets are permitted inside the gardens except during the Christmas season check the website for dates.
At all other times of the year, pets are welcome to visit, provided they are kept on a leash. You are expected to clean up after your pet.
Located north of the car parking lot and away from the main entrance, this smaller garden is often missed. Showcasing exotic plants that thrive in the local temperate climate, the Mediterranean Garden has over 21,500 square feet of garden, 9 beds and 110 plant varieties.
This garden is a great way to start your visit just off the parking lot before you head into the Waterwheel Square.
Waterwheel Square is the main gathering area for Butchart Gardens, offering all of the necessities, including food, washrooms, water and a visitor center. Feel free to take a moment to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or water before starting your journey. The surrounding area is adorned with lovely hanging flowers, a charming water wheel, and beautiful stonework. When you’re ready to start walk through the Butchart Garden sign and make your first left to the famous Sunken Garden.
Walking up to the edge, you can feel your breath being taken away by this gorgeous sunken garden. This large depression was once just a barren limestone quarry but one woman’s vision changed everything. As you look over the garden you you will quickly recognize it from the countless photos that have been taken from this very spot.
As you head down through the 151 flower beds you will weave in and out across the 5-acre garden past the limestone mound lookout three ponds and to the Ross Fountain.
The Sunken Garden took over 9 years to create, and every spring gardeners plant over 65,000 bulbs in this area alone. It’s no wonder the Sunken Garden is Butchart’s flagship garden.
As you loop back up past the Bog Garden, keep your eyes out for crafted critters. Your next stop is the Rose Carousel and Play area.
Thirty hand-carved wooden animals and chariots, the domed Children’s Pavilion and Rose Carousel house events year-round—and welcome kids of all ages for a ride! Single ride $2
You will also find coffee, soft-serve ice cream and an open area for kids to run around. This is also the viewing area for the Saturday night fireworks. Continue on the path past the totem poles by the Dagon Fountian and through the large redwood trees down to the Rose Garden.
The Rose Garden is beautiful, filled with flowers that bloom in the summer to early autumn. The Butchart Rose Garden is the largest on the Island with 280 varieties of roses, 2,500 plants, as well as 30 rose arches filled with vibrant colours and heavenly scents to create an atmosphere of pure romance.
As you exit the garden through the rose arches, you will pass the Sturgeon Fountain and come upon the grand Torii gate leading to the Japanese Garden.
The path winds down along a small water feature that invites you to step inside one of North America’s premier Japanese Gardens. Here maple and beech trees rustle in late spring while Himalayan Blue Poppies blossom around a sprawling acre with 74 Japanese maples, flowing streams with stepping stones paths that lead to hidden gardens and traditional Japanese water features. After completing your tour of the Japanese Garden, you will walk around the Star Pond and proceed to the final garden, which is the Italian Garden.
The Italian Garden can be found on the original residential lawn, which used to be the location of the tennis courts. This flower-studded courtyard has a traditional cross pond and 8 flower beds with 22,000 spring bulbs and biennials. It’s a relaxing place to enjoy your authentic gelato available at the Gelateria during the summer months.
Saturday night fireworks – Come and experience a world-class firework show from the comfort of our fireworks viewing lawn. During the Summer months through July and August Gasp, clap and laugh through the original aerial and ground production, pioneered by Jennie Butchart’s great-grandson, Christopher, and choreographed to music sure to delight and awe. For up-to-date information visit Butchart Gardens Summer at a Glance
Entertainment – Wednesday through Saturday night July and August, you can take in a live performance from our outdoor stage on the Concert Lawn. Nestled amidst lush trees, the stage is the heart of The Gardens, playing host to a variety of performers, from talented bands to ballet and more. For up-to-date information visit Butchart Gardens Summer at a Glance
As the temperature cools down and the days become shorter. The season’s color is enhanced by a varied assortment of Dahlias and vibrant Chrysanthemums, the leaves of the maple trees turn into beautiful shades of red, russet, and gold making it the ideal season to visit the Japanese Garden before the arrival of winter.
Colourful lights, carollers and festive fare—Christmas is a cheerful time of year at The Gardens. Experience the Magic of Christmas. Bundle up and stroll through the Twelve Days of Christmas display, sing along to the sounds of the season with Traditional Carollers or listen to the Festive Brass, then stop in at the Coffee Shop to warm up with a hot chocolate and gingerbread by the fire, there’s nothing like it on Vancouver Island during the Christmas Season.
The Japanese and Mediterranean Gardens are closed during Christmas.
You may think of The Gardens as a spring or summer affair, but with Vancouver Island\’s temperate climate, The Gardens has something to offer year-round. Enjoy the solitude winter brings, and take in the subtle beauty of our shrubs, trees and flowers, from delicate snowdrops to lush hellebore.
The Blue Poppy Restaurant undergoes a beautiful indoor spring transformation from mid-January to mid-March. The display features paths bordered by flowering shrubs, trees, and numerous blooming bulbs.
Come and explore the Historical Display, which showcases the lives and legacies of the Butchart and Ross families, including Robert and Jennie Butchart, Ian and Ann-Lee Ross, and their son Christopher. These individuals shared a deep love for the Gardens and warmly welcomed visitors from all corners of the globe.
Now in a new location behind the Visitor Information Centre.
Opening Friday, February 10 from 11:00AM – 3:00PM, continuing daily until Monday, April 10.
The gardens are in bloom, and the air is filled with their heady scent. The season of new life, spring at The Butchart Gardens welcomes over 300,000 flowering bulbs. Be surrounded by blooms from all corners spring flowers, shrubs and trees. Spring favourites include rhododendron, tulips, daffodil, magnolia, ornamental cherry and peonies.
Visit The Butchart Gardens website for the most up-to-date times and activities.
The vibrant colours and meticulous design will leave you speechless, no matter your age or interests! Open all year round, this well-run popular stop is the Disney for anyone who enjoys the outdoors, fresh air and of course flowers. Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC is a must-visit destination. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, an afternoon with the family or a little time to yourself – Butchart Gardens has something for everyone! Put it on your travel list and don’t forget to take lots of pictures!
With a former limestone quarry for her backyard, Jennie Butchart envisioned landscaping a sunken garden in its place, transforming the property for her family—and visitors—for generations to come.
Gifted The Gardens on his 21st birthday, grandson Ian Ross transformed them into the world-renowned attraction we know today, adding outdoor concerts and night lighting in the summers and the Magic of Christmas in the winters.
The Butchart Gardens in Victoria is still owned and ran by the family and is a National Historic Site of Canada. You’ll find remnants of the original cement plant cliffs from the original quarry and millions of bedding plants in over 900 varieties awaiting you as you wander the gardens all due to an ambitious woman in 1912.
How long does it take to walk Butchart Gardens?
One and a half hours, but if it’s busy and you like to take your time with lunch or ice cream breaks you can find yourself there for up to three hours.
Is it worth visiting in the winter?
The walk around the grounds is always beautiful, but to experience the flowers you will have to wait until late March or early April you can ask about the indoor garden during the winter months.
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Changing seasons and tides can have a drastic effect on most locations on Vancouver Island. Please be cautious as the information in this post may vary depending on the time of year and weather. Make sure to check for current weather and tide information before you make your journey!
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We would like to acknowledge the land we appreciate daily within the 50 First Nations that make up the traditional territories of the Coast Salish, Nuu chah nulth, and Kwakiutl–the first peoples of Vancouver Island .
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