Victoria Butchart Gardens Excursion Reviews
The gardens would have much nicer, if it didn't get dark so early. we arrived about 730 pm and got dark around 8. They did have garden lights but could not enjoy the true beauty of the gardens. This must be seem in the light! Wold do it again in the light.
What can I say. The gardens are beautiful. Our bus driver/guide had an interesting story about how the gardens came to be. Victoria itself is a beautiful city. Would like to be there on a Saturday evening sometime. They are supposed to have a great fireworks show over the water. Maybe next time.
UGHHHHH, so disappointing!!! I love gardens and I would have loved this one if we had arrived before the sun went down and the night was setting! We were delayed leaving the port on the bus to the garden (did not leave until 7:15) it's a 45 minute drive to the garden. By the time we got there it was so hard to take photos and enjoy the beautiful gardens. $100/person - total waste.
If done again, I would have rented a car and driven to the gardens.
This tour include a quick ride through town with commentary. No stops. Over two hours to walk Butchart Gardens late in the day. This is a tremendous tour for gardeners and others who love biology. Beautiful, beautiful place!
I wish the cruise line would allow extra time here vs. Skagway. This is a wonderul stop. We did the Butchart Gardens and they were truely beautiful and so glad we went. Unfortunately in doing this there is no time left to explore the city althought the bus driver did give us a quicky tour of downtown and the lights on the way back to the ship so we got to see it but would have preferred a couple of hours to explore after the garden.
This could have been the greatest excursion. Butchart Gardens was amazing, we got to see it on a perfect sunny day with 80 degree weather. Problem was there was something like 15 busloads plus a regular parking lot full of people, the Gardens were packed! Every pathway was a line of people, we had 2 hours to spend here and I was Barely able to walk it all and get all the pictures I wanted, much less spend hardly any time in the shops, we really needed 1 more hour here if their going to jam pack that many people in here
Absolutely stunning. The most amazing gardens I have ever been too. And I live in SE England!
Beautiful gardens, hasn't changed much in 20 years!
We had 2.5 hours, so we walked very slowly through the gardens. We had time to peruse the gift shop and even grab a snack before returning to the bus. Others only had 45 minutes to an hour as they had also booked the Butterfly Gardens. I felt that we had a nice visit/tour, but others may have been rushed. Also, our coach driver gave us a tour of downtown Victoria at night on our way back to the pier.
Because of the late season, the Rose Garden was not in bloom but the beautiful fall colors from the seasonal mums and changing maple trees made up for it. The cruise line made sure we arrived early in the day when the crowds were few, making for optimal photo opportunities. Our expedition leader, Ian, was a great tour guide. They also provided High Tea at the gardens, which was interesting but not quite what I expected. Glad for that opportunity but wouldn't do it again.
The Tour Guide was great, talked non stop the whole time, but we learned a lot.
The Gardens were beautiful lit up. Fountains etc. Will go back in the daytime.
These Gardens are not to be missed. They are elegant and colorful without being at all exotic - you will recognize most of the flowers. The lay out is easy to navigate and floral displays are everywhere. Allow at least two hours. The city tour on the way out and back was OK. Our driver/guide was a bit coarse.
Our limo driver was actually an author (Eric Hamilton), who wrote a book about his theory on the Princess Di death. He also looked liked David Letterman's twin brother. He was very informative about the area and gave us a brief rundown about the Gardens. Overall my wife enjoyed the gardens more than me.
The ships do not give you much time at this port and we missed the first bus out and took the 4:45 and we were done by 7 but due to schedule we got back to the ship at 8:30. It all worked out but I probably should have just spent the money on the boat and took a direct tour. Loved the Gardens. It was the main reason we went on the cruise.
Butchart is a wonderful tour, worth the drive to see.
Loved the town and the gardens, but time was too short. They did have fireworks (supposedly only on Sat nights) which were outstanding.
Although the Victoria stop is one of the shortest, and in the evening, it's there for a reason. If you don't do Butchart Gardens WITH FIREWORKS on Saturdays in the summer, then you're missing one of the most wonderful experiences of your lifetime.
We brought a couple pool deck towels to set in the grass and hold a spot for the fireworks, with the unique green and white stripes making it easy to spot. I was surprised that only one or two others did this.
The gardens were gorgeous, with not a leaf or petal out of place. And the 30 minute long fireworks show was straight out of Fantasia! Something Disney inc. has long-forgotten in it's modern shoot-and-boom fireworks shows. This was really, really special.
As stated above, the ship is scheduled to arrive late (6 PM), making it impossible to see all of the garden at a reasonable pace. Everyone we talked to on our tour loved the garden but was unhappy about the little time available to enjoy it. The brief tour of Victoria afterward was pleasant, but the constant, sometimes inane chatter of our bus driver/guide was annoying.
Very beautiful and priced reasonable for the activity. Tour bus driver was very entertaining and informative.
A do not miss experience!
On ferry trip from Vancouver we saw a pod of about 8 orcas!! The gardens are spectacular!
I had booked a tour of Buchart Gardens with CVS tours. It included the bus from the pier and the admission into the gardens for $55/pp. Compare this to the $85 the cruise line wanted for the same trip. The only difference between this tour and the one sponsored by the cruise line, was that we had to take a bus to downtown and then change buses at the Empress Hotel. It was very simple, and we got to look at the Inner Harbour for a few minutes while we waited for the bus.
The gardens were amazing! I'm not even sure that pictures do it justice. Because we arrived in Victoria so late in the day, we didn't really have any other choice for when to see the gardens. We were there for about 2.5-3 hours, and it was barely enough time. I could have stayed longer. We were back on the ship in plenty of time for sail away.
Butchart Gardens was wonderful. For those who said 45 minutes was enough time to see the gardens are crazy. We strolled through the entire gardens with an occasional stop to smell the roses and pose for photos or 50, and it took longer than 45 minutes. It was hot in the rose garden, but we found shade and cooler temps the rest of the way. The sunken garden and Japanese were our favorites. Everyone said it wasn't a busy day, and there wasn't a parade of people on the path, so it was much more enjoyable than some visits. Just amazing flowers, shrubs trees, paths and waterfalls. Make sure to pick up a product guide. In late July almost every flower in the guide was in bloom.
Although, the garden is a must see in Victoria, our time was very short (the ship arrived late to the port).
Butchart Gardens is a must-see.
Visit the Empress Hotel....very impressive.
These are the most incredible gardens I've ever seen! Absolutely beautiful! We took a taxi into town, then found the city bus and took it ($2.50 apiece) to the gardens, then just paid the entrance fee. This way we got to see the city, which is very beautiful also. Very worth the $30 entrance fee; this place is amazing!
With so much to see and do in Victoria (www.tourismvictoria.com), it was disappointing that Princess only allowed 6-1/2 hours of port time. On a previous visit here, we had walked to the Inner Harbour and booked a whale watching tour there (www.princeofwhales.com). Today, we planned to take the public bus to Butchart Gardens.
We were ready to go when passengers were finally allowed to disembark at about 7:30 a.m. The terminal building did not appear open yet but a person was outside distributing maps with several routes to the city center. We took off at top speed up Montreal St., stopping at the Little Gem Grocery (148 Superior) to buy an all-day bus pass (CA$5 pp). From there, we walked to the stop for bus #75 northbound towards Saanichton / Royal Oak (www.bctransit.com/regions/vic/schedules/map.cfm?p=side.txt&line=75&); the bus stop is across the street from rear of the Empress Hotel. If you want to take the public bus, pay close attention to the routes and schedules. Depending on the time of year, the northbound #75 bus may not stop right at the Butchart Gardens and the southbound bus may require a transfer to another line at the Royal Oak interchange. The trip from downtown to Butchart Gardens takes about 50 minutes without a transfer or about 65-75 minutes if you have to transfer.
We arrived at the bus stop with plenty of time to catch the 8 a.m. bus. When we told the driver that we were going to the gardens, he said he would make sure we got off at the correct stop. Our bus stopped just past the entrance drive to the gardens. The bus driver pointed out the direction to go; the entrance kiosk is only about a Â¼ mile walk downhill from the bus stop. Note that this is along a narrow street with no sidewalks.
We arrived at the Butchart Gardens (www.butchartgardens.com) entrance kiosk just before the official opening time of 9 a.m., paid the admission fee (which varies by season) and headed off to explore the gardens. Unfortunately, it had started to rain lightly. Although we had come prepared for rain, we were pleased to see that the gardens provide transparent umbrellas for guests to use during their visit.
The map and guide given out at the entrance kiosk shows a suggested path through the gardens. Because we arrived earlier than most of the bus tour groups, the gardens were not crowded and we could enjoy and photograph the colorful plantings without feeling like we were being herded along. There are several themed gardens, fountains and ponds. It's hard to believe that this is a reclaimed quarry! At this time of year, the roses were not yet blooming but the rhododendrons were spectacular. Butchart Gardens is a must-see for anyone who enjoys beautiful flowers.
We completed a leisurely circuit of the gardens in about an hour. The crowds were starting to build up, but we decided to walk the circuit again to take some of the side paths. Our original plan had been to spend about 2-1/2 hours (a minimum of 1-1/2 hours is recommended) in the gardens and return to the ship via bus #75 bus with a transfer to bus #31 (which stops right at the entrance to the port). However, after 2 hours we felt that we had seen enough of the gardens and leaving earlier would give us some time to visit the Inner Harbour area. Once we were back downtown, we took a few photos before heading back to the ship along the waterfront, where we saw a sea lion swimming in the harbor. Back at the port, we walked out on the Ogden Point Breakwater for a good view of the Grand Princess and spotted another sea lion swimming near the rocks.