A fully guided 2 1/2 hour tour featuring the Scottish Baronial Craigdarroch Castle and the spectacular Queen’s Gardens. Cruise past the gabled Church of Our Lord and St. Ann’s Academy with its’ 1858 chapel into leafy Rockland and its 19th century mansions. Skip off the tourist map and discover the Queen’s Gardens, rivalling Butchart Gardens. The gardens are perched dramatically over the sea and across from the majestic Olympic mountains. Roll on up to Craigdarroch Castle sitting on one of the highest points in Victoria overlooking the city. A cradle of 19th century opulence, the castle boasts the finest collection of residential stained glass in North America and some superior woodwork with a history of scandals (brought to life by your VPC tour guide) to match. Peer down from the scenic height of the tower over the city and its surrounding mountain ranges. Coast back past Christ Church cathedral and its old cemetery into the heart of town and have your guide point out restaurants that cater to your tastes.
- Craigdarroch Tour
The tour begins from the Victoria Tourism Centre which is directly across from the Empress Hotel. Then from Victoria's beautiful inner harbour we will head off the beaten path toward Fairfield--Victoria's second oldest neighbourhood. Will then wave to the ladies and gents dressed in white on the Victoria's Lawn Bowling field and pass by Victoria's oldest church, Catholic School and first General Hospital--all architectural gems.
The routes then passes by many century old Inns and Bed and Breakfasts and Arts and Crafts style character homes. The first major stop is Government House and the breathtaking views and gardens surrounding the estate. This is the official residence of British Columbia's Lt. Governor and her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Your guide will park the pedicab and escort you through the rose gardens, rock gardens, water features and native forest. As is most common, the area will have few visitors (the wealthy residents of the area do not allow tour buses) and you will feel as if you have the place to yourself. This area is a gem. Often, some of the volunteer gardeners are around and they are truly lovely folks. For guests who have difficulty walking, the tour will be modified to accommodate.
After leaving the bliss of the gardens, we head towards the Castle. Your guide begins to weave the story of a modest Scottish immigrant worked his way to one of greatest fortunes in North America. Your guide will escort you through the Castle. The Friends of Craigdarroch Castle Society have helped preserve and restore the site to its 19th century glory. With all the period piece furnishings, it will feel like the family is still living there today. You will learn about the family and soap opera drama and scandals that would make a very intriguing story to any Hollywood producer.
As you leave the Castle, there is a chance to peruse the gift shop before we head back to the city. Ask your guide for shopping and restaurant choices, as we are always happy to steer you in the best direction afterwards.