Butchart Gardens in Victoria has been called the most beautiful gardens on earth by National Geographic, CNN Travel, and more.
True or not, these lush flowery gardens built on a concrete industrialist’s barren limestone quarry are inspirational – a type of topsoil Cinderella story, if you will – a beautifying project that keeps on giving even today.
Let’s find out why 1,000,000+ annual visitors make the trip to Butchart Gardens and figure out how to get there, whether you’re coming from Vancouver, Seattle, or just up the street.
- Butchart Gardens
- What to see
- Tickets & prices
- Butchart Gardens tours
- How to get there
- Best time to visit
- Opening hours
- Where to eat
Are you ready to step into a world where nature’s vibrancy meets human ingenuity? Where every turn reveals a new floral spectacle, a serene space, or a stunning sculpture? Well, welcome to the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC.
These stunning botanical gardens in the Victoria suburb of Brentwood Bay are blooming with a hundred years of history. This former limestone quarry came to life in 1912 when Jennie Butchart began transitioning the property from a dull gray industrial site into the attraction we know and love today.
Today, it’s a Canadian National Historic Site that includes over 55 acres of gardens, dining options, and a variety of seasonal entertainment.
Things to Do at Butchart Gardens
The Sunken Garden
The Sunken Garden is Mrs. Butchart’s original garden and is undoubtedly the attraction’s highlight.
It is the largest and most popular area of the gardens for visitors.
Surrounding the area’s central viewing point lie over 5 acres of lush gardens. From here, you’ll get a glimpse of a wide variety of flowers, trees and plants, as well as a central fountain and pond.
151 flower beds house over 65,000 individual bulbs that are planted for spring. So you’re promised a kaleidoscope of colour once you enter.
The Japanese Garden
The Japanese Garden at Butchart Gardens is a beautiful and serene spot perfect for a peaceful stroll or a moment of quiet contemplation. With over 200 metres of flowing streams, as well as a number of ponds, it oozes zen and tranquillity.
The garden is designed in the traditional Japanese style. It has an unmistakable grand korii (Japanese gate) marking its entrance. You’ll then encounter finely manicured hedges, gravel paths, and stone lanterns.
There is also a small pond with koi fish and a traditional tea house where you can relax with a cup of green tea. Though open year-round, it is especially lovely in the spring, with cherry blossoms blooming throughout the grounds.
Related: Vancouver to Butchart Gardens Tours
The Rose Garden
The Rose Garden is one of the newest additions to Butchart Gardens and features over 2,500 roses of 260 different varieties. Highlights include beautiful floribundas, ramblers, climbers and Hybrid Tea Roses.
The Rose Garden is one of the most popular areas of the Butchart Gardens, and it is easy to see why. The garden is full of vibrant colours and stunning aromas. Its blooms peak between June and early Fall.
The popular Rose Arch provides visitors with the ideal backdrop for those crucial (sorry, it’s true!) Instagram snaps.
? Coming from Vancouver? Check out the 5 best Victoria tours from Vancouver.
The Rose Carousel
The Rose Carousel is a beautifully crafted wooden carousel that is a particular favourite with children.
The carousel features 30 hand-carved wooden animals and chariots. It’s decorated with carved roses and other flowers. It also contains 22 hand-painted horses that date back to the early 1900s.
While you’ll find this unique attraction within the 700 square metre Children’s Pavilion. Visitors of all ages can enjoy a ride on one of North America’s only operational Edwardian carousels for just $2.00.
Related: Find the Best Hotels in Victoria BC for your holiday
The Mediterranean Garden is modelled after an Italian villa garden and features a central fountain, cypress trees, and stone stairways.
This area showcases Victoria’s temperate climate, with its collection of over 110 lush and exotic plants.
Quite frankly, it’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. This 21,780 sq. ft garden is chock full of colour and life, with blooming flowers and chirping birds everywhere you look. And why wouldn’t it be? After all, the Victoria area is home to Canada’s only Mediterranean sub-climate (It’s true, I swear!).
A divergent path winds through the garden, leading past bubbling fountains and towering palm trees.
Related: Victoria Butterfly Gardens
The Italian Garden
Formerly the Butchart family tennis court, the Italian Garden underwent a dramatic transformation into a colourful courtyard with a beautiful cross-shaped pond at its centre.
You’ll now find over 21,780 sq. ft. of gardens in its immediate surroundings.
And with over 22,000 spring bulbs and biennials, you can be assured there will be no shortage of colour. The garden also features a variety of fountains, sculptures, and plantings to augment the already impressive view.
And like any Italian attraction worth its salt, the garden is home to its own gelateria! The Gelateria Benvenuto offers a tempting variety of housemade sorbetti and gelati.
The Butchart Gardens Dragon Fountain
The Dragon Fountain is one of the most popular features at Butchart Gardens. The massive fountain is located just past the Sunken Garden towards the ocean. It features a series of spectacular dragons spewing water into a large basin.
The fountain is illuminated at night, making it a popular spot for evening strolls. Visitors often stop to take photos or enjoy the peaceful setting.
Related: Best Cheap Hotels in Victoria
Tacca the Bronze Boar
Tacca is a replica of a 17th-century sculpture by Italian artist Pietro Tacca. Standing nearly four feet tall and weighing in at over 200 pounds, he is truly an impressive sight. But it’s his bronze colour that makes him truly unique.
According to legend, Tacca was once a normal pig who wandered into a forest where he ate a magic fruit that transformed him into a bronze statue.
Today, he stands as a reminder of the power of nature and the importance of conservation. And with his large tusks and impressive stature, he’s sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike.
Don’t forget to rub his head before you leave! Apparently, it’s good luck.
Related: Best Victoria Sightseeing Tours
The Ross Fountain is a must-see for any visitor to Butchart Gardens. Located just down the path from the Sunken Garden, its viewpoint offers visitors a popular photo opportunity. You’ll see the fountain’s spectacular water spouts spray water in seemingly every direction.
The fountain was installed in 1964 by Robert Ian Ross, Jennie and Robert’s grandson, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Butchart Gardens. It is housed in a beautiful pond with spectacular Vancouver Island cliffs as a backdrop.
It is a true urban oasis of the most stunning variety. And at night, the fountain is illuminated with colourful lights, making it a truly magical sight.
The Totem Poles
One of the main attractions at Butchart Gardens is the totem poles. The totems were carved in Coast Salish style by Master Carvers Charles Elliot of the Tsartlip Nation and Doug LaFortune of the Tsawout Band. They depict local animals, including eagles, ravens, and bears.
While erected to celebrate the 100th anniversary in 2004, the totems also serve to recognize the rich cultural heritage of the local Indigenous people – and provide a beautiful photo opportunity for locals and visitors alike.
Butchart Gardens Prices
It is recommended to book your tickets online in advance. The prices below are what you can expect to find at the door. But you’ll need to find your own way out to Brentwood Bay.
Many tourists choose to get all-inclusive tour packages that depart from downtown Victoria or downtown Vancouver – watch for these in the next section of my article.
- Adult (18+): $35.40
- Youth (13-17): $17.70
- Child (5-12): $2.00
- Adult (18+): $38.00
- Youth (13-17): $19.00
- Child (5-12): $3.00
- Adult (18+): $31.80
- Youth (13-17): $15.90
- Child (5-12): $2.00
- Adult (18+): $24.75
- Youth (13-17): $12.40
- Child (5-12): $2.00
Christmas (Dec 1 – Jan 6)
- Adult (18+): $34.00
- Youth (13-17): $17.00
- Child (5-12): $3.00
Admission for children under 5 is free.
Butchart Gardens Tours
The Gardens are located in Brentwood Bay, about 30 minutes Northwest of Downtown Victoria.
Needless to say, it can be tricky to get to for travellers without a car. Luckily, many all-inclusive tour packages cover transportation, admission, and even pairings with other attractions.
The Butchart Gardens Express Shuttle From Victoria
Departure: Inner Harbour | Length: 3-5 hours (depending on the season) | Cost: From $50.00 CAD
I call this the no-nonsense package. An air-conditioned shuttle will provide convenient Inner Harbour pick-up – and drop you off later right across from the famous Fairmont Hotel.
Better yet, times are flexible, running almost every hour so you can cater to your own schedule.
From there, all you have to do is sit back and relax while your expert tour guide hits you with some useful nuggets of information – take advantage of them to get restaurant ideas, visit tips, and anything else.
- Butchart Gardens admission
- Transportation to and from the gardens
- Flexible Inner Harbour pick up/drop off
Butchart Gardens Tour From Vancouver
Departure: Downtown Vancouver | Length: 12 hours (approx.) | Cost: From $249.00 CAD
Wanting to fit in a quick visit from Vancouver to Victoria but can’t find the time?
This tour package from downtown Vancouver allows you to explore Butchart Gardens and Victoria’s Inner Harbour in one convenient day trip – so there’s no need to pack up your stuff and book another hotel.
Even better? It features hotel pick up/drop off.
Then it’s an air-conditioned shuttle to Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, where you’ll board a ship bound for Victoria. The 90-minute trip offers exciting opportunities to spot local wildlife, including whales, seals and eagles.
On the other side, you get to visit Butchart Gardens as well as Victoria’s famous Inner Harbour – here, you can explore the colonial architecture, grab a meal, explore Canada’s oldest Chinatown, and more.
- Hotel pick up/drop off
- Shuttle transport to and from Victoria
- BC Ferries tickets (2 ways)
- Admission to Butchart Gardens (1.5-hour visit)
- Free time to explore Victoria’s Inner Harbour (2 hours)
Butchart Gardens Directions
Butchart Gardens is located in Brentwood Bay, BC, about a 30-minute drive from Victoria without traffic.
Related: Victoria Hop on Hop Off Bus
How to Get to The Butchart Gardens from Vancouver
There are several ways to visit from Vancouver, which are more thoroughly in our Vancouver to Victoria day trip article. The two most popular can be found below:
Vancouver to Victoria by Ferry
The easiest option is to take a ferry from Vancouver to Victoria. The ferry takes about 90 minutes; when you arrive in Victoria, you can drive to the gardens in about 25 minutes.
Don’t have a car? You can get Vancouver to Victoria bus, which includes your ticket aboard the ferry. Once you arrive, you can get to Butchart Gardens from the Inner Harbour using public transport or the Express Shuttle.
Vancouver to Victoria Seaplane
The flight takes about 45 minutes by float plane from downtown Vancouver, and when you arrive in Victoria, you can continue on to The Butchart Gardens via taxi or bus.
This is only recommended if you’re looking for a bucket list scenic flight across the Salish Sea.
It’s a tad pricey, so you’ll probably prefer the all-inclusive packages from Vancouver.
How to Get to The Butchart Gardens from Seattle
The best way to visit Victoria from Seattle is to take the Seattle to Victoria ferry. Known as the Victoria Clipper, this passenger-only ferry offers service from Pier 69 straight to the Inner Harbour.
Once you arrive in Victoria, you can take the Express Shuttle or any of the options below.
How to Get to Butchart Gardens from Victoria
The drive from downtown Victoria takes 30-40 minutes, depending on location and traffic. For directions from your place of lodging, visit Google Maps.
If you’re using public transit, the #75 bus from Douglas and Pandora is the quickest option, though do keep in mind that the journey can take over an hour.
If you’re low on time and tolerance for transit, I strongly suggest considering the Victoria all-inclusive package to eliminate the hassle.
The Best Time to Go to Butchart Gardens
They’re open all year round, but the best time to visit Butchart Gardens is spring and summer.
During these months, the gardens are in full bloom, and there is an abundance of flowers and plants to see. Not to mention, the British Columbia weather is typically nicer during these months.
Here is a quick look at what you can expect when you choose to visit.
Spring at Butchart Gardens
(March 18 – May 31)
Springtime is a beautiful time to visit. The gardens come alive with blooming flowers and plants, and often special events and activities take place.
Many visitors enjoy the bountiful cherry blossoms, particularly in the Japanese Garden.
One of the most popular events during springtime is the Easter Egg Hunt, which takes place on Easter Sunday. During the event, kids can search for eggs hidden throughout the gardens during the Easter Egg Hunt.
Summer at Butchart Gardens
(June 1 – September 30)
Summer is the busiest time of year at Butchart Gardens, so it’s best to book your tickets in advance.
The gardens are open late during the summer months, so you can enjoy them after a long day at work or exploring other attractions. The popular Rose Garden is in full bloom, so be sure to get in a few snaps.
Over 3000 subtle lights transform the Gardens into a magical wonderland as dusk settles during the Summer. This artistic display of light and shadow offers fantastic photo opportunities from Thursday to Sunday.
The summer concert series is one of the attraction’s most popular summer events. You’ll encounter free concerts at 8:00 pm every Friday and Saturday. There is also a Fireworks display and the popular Jazz Festival.
Related: Victoria Whale Watching Tours
Fall at Butchart Gardens
(October 1 – November 30)
In fall, the leaves on the trees change colour, and the gardens are decorated for Halloween. Greens transition to a rich sea of reds, oranges and yellows, providing a stunning backdrop.
The maples in the Japanese Garden are truly a sight to behold this time of year.
One of the most popular events during fall is the pumpkin patch, which takes place in October. It’s also a great time of year to partake in a popular greenhouse tour.
Here you’ll go behind the scenes with a staff gardener to learn about a variety of topics, including plant propagation and pest management. Great for a budding green thumb. Tours are only offered on weekends.
Winter at Butchart Gardens
(December 1-March 17)
Winter at Butchart Gardens offers a quieter, more introspective visit where chirping birds and flowering blooms have given way to the crisp air.
Naturally, the gardens are decorated for Christmas, and there are often special events and activities taking place.
The beauty of the well-manicured shrubs, trees and flowers is still undeniable. You’ll find everything from delicate snowdrops to lush hellebore and more. The Blue Poppy restaurant is also transformed into a conservatory, lined with flowering shrubs, trees and bulbs.
Christmas at Butchart Gardens
One of the most popular Winter events is the Santa’s Breakfast, which takes place on select weekends in December. During Santa’s Breakfast, guests can enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet while Santa Claus roams around the gardens.
From December 1st to January 6th, thousands of festive Christmas lights illuminate the attraction. This makes it one of the best times of the year to visit.
Soak in the sights and head to the Coffee Shop to warm up with a hot chocolate and gingerbread by the fire – it’s a local Christmas tradition.
*During Winter months, the Japanese and Mediterranean Gardens are closed.
Butchart Gardens Hours
The Butchart Gardens are open all year round, but the hours of operation vary depending on the season.
Times posted reflect gate admissions. Visitors may stay for one hour after the gate closes.
- Spring (April 1 – May 31): 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Late Summer (Sept 11 – Sept 31): 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Low Season (Winter): 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
- Christmas (Dec 1 – January 6): TBA
Butchart Gardens’ peak Summer hours vary according to the day of visit.
Be sure to double-check the hours on the day you stop by.
- Mon-Wed: 9:00 am 5:00 pm
- Thursday: 9:00 am 8:00 pm
- Fri/Sat: 9:00 am 9:00 pm
- Sunday: 9:00 am 6:30 pm
Where to Eat at The Butchart Gardens
There are various dining options on-site to satisfy all your cravings. Here is a quick look at what you can expect:
- The Dining Room Restaurant – The perfect place to relax and enjoy a meal after a day of exploring the gardens. The menu features a variety of creations that use fresh, local ingredients. This romantic dining room is also known for its afternoon tea, an extravagant affair accompanied by British-style pastries, sweets and desserts.
- The Blue Poppy Restaurant – Offers a more casual alternative to the Dining Room. The restaurant is open during summer for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In addition to the regular menu, the Blue Poppy Restaurant offers a kid’s and a specialties menu.
- Gelateria Benvenuto – Features over 24 flavours of artisan gelato that is made fresh daily using local ingredients. Moreover, there are always a few vegan and gluten-free options available.
- The Coffee Shop – Offers a variety of espresso-based drinks, coffee, tea and Italian sodas. You’ll also find a selection of ice cream, pastries, and sandwiches.
Butchart Gardens FAQs
What is the best time of year to visit Butchart Gardens?
The best time of year to visit is during the spring and summer months. During these months, the weather is warmer, the gardens are in full bloom, and there is an abundance of flowers and plants to see.
How do you get to Butchart Gardens from downtown Victoria?
The easiest way for those with a vehicle is to make the 30-40 minute drive north along the Patricia Bay Highway to Brentwood Bay. The #75 bus also offers service to Brentwood Bay from along Douglas Street.
If you’re averse to driving and public transit, the Butchart Gardens Express Shuttle offers admission and transport to and from the Inner Harbour.
What is the best way to get to Butchart Gardens from Vancouver?
The easiest way to visit from Vancouver is via a packaged Butchart Gardens Tour. Your tour will include transportation, admission, and even a couple of hours to explore Victoria on your own. Otherwise, the only way to make the journey is by driving to the Tsawwasen Ferry Terminal and making the crossing to Victoria.
What are some of the events that take place at The Butchart Gardens?
Some of the events include the Easter Egg Hunt, the Summer concert series, the Fireworks display, and the Jazz Festival. During the festive season, the gardens are illuminated with thousands of lights and also host Santa’s Breakfast, a popular holiday tradition.
What to wear to Butchart Gardens?
It is recommended to bring comfortable clothing and walking shoes that are seasonally appropriate. It is also important to check the weather forecast before your visit, as the gardens can be muddy if it rains. A rain jacket or hoodie will also be a good idea outside of Summer.
Ready to Smell the Roses at Butchart Gardens?
So there you have it: almost everything you need to know about how to visit Butchart Gardens Victoria.
But let’s keep the conversation going, shall we? Don’t be afraid to use the comments section below if there is anything else you’d like to know.
Or alternatively, you can hit us up on the Vancouver Planner Facebook page with all of your Butchart Gardens queries.
Don’t forget to smell the roses?