I’ve visited Victoria, Canada twice now and it a beautiful area to vacation. If you are in the Seattle area, it is a fun trip to take for the day (or a couple days if you can!). We caught the ferry in Port Angeles and it was a 90 minute ride. There are only a few ferries out each day, so make sure to plan ahead which ferry you want to take out and back. The ride is scenic and comfortable. There is a snack bar on board and nice chairs and tables to sit at. We brought games for the kids to keep them busy. Slip Old Maid, UNO, Go Fish, Spot IT, or a deck of cards in your backpack before catching the ferry. Don’t forget your passports. Children don’t need passports, but they do need a birth certificate and if both parents aren’t traveling a letter from the other parent giving permission for them to leave the country. Rules changes, so always check the current procedures before going to Canada. The highlight of our trip this last visit was afternoon tea at the Empress.
The Empress is one of the oldest and most famous hotels in Victoria. It is a majestic building that sits right on the inner harbor on Government Street. It is well-known for the traditional Victorian afternoon tea.
The cost of the experience is steep at $75 for adults and $37.50 for children (small children may share a plate for no charge w/an adult). However, for a once (or maybe twice…I would go again!) in a life-time experience, it is worth the expense. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was nice (although it was a large dining room and I may have preferred a smaller space). The smoked salmon on blini was amazing and I could have had a whole tray of those. My kids were excited to experience a real tea party and the experience did not disappoint! Check out the adult menu here: emp-tea-menu-may-2017. They don’t have a current kid’s menu online, but you can see the variety of sandwiches (ham and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, cucumber and cream cheese, and I don’t recall the other) as well as a biscuit with jam that is amazing! Also, a chocolate covered strawberry, cupcake, chocolate covered chocolate chip cookie, and a raspberry chocolate is included on the kids tray. My kids loved it!
The service was wonderful and when we had an accident that included dishes breaking, they quickly cleaned up the mess and brought an entire new serving of all the food, which we were nearly finished with.
Victoria also has a small Chinatown that we checked out. If you blink, you may miss it though. It wasn’t a very lively town, but we did find a cute little Alleyway with shops that was cool. If we weren’t full from afternoon tea, we would have stopped at this delicious bakery in Chinatown. It looked amazing!
There are water taxis you can catch in the wharf that take you on a tour of the harbor. A great way to see the city from the water! We took a tour the first time we visited and really enjoyed it. You can also see the Parliament Building from the water.
A 45 minute drive from town are the famous Buchart Gardens. If you don’t have your car with you, the cheapest way to get there is the direct line on the city bus which is just a couple dollars.
The average person spends about two hours at the gardens, but if you are a garden enthusiast, you may want to plan more time. There are several area to explore: The Sunken Garden, The Lawn Walk, The Italian Garden, The Japanese Garden, The Mediteranean Garden, and The Rose Garden.
The gardens have an unusual history. The Sunken Garden once was a quarry Mrs. Buchart’s husband used for his nearby comment plant. She turned the exhausted quarry into a garden! The Japanese Gardens are built on what was once the Buchart’s tennis courts.
Also, try the Ketchup Potato Chips while in Canada. Pretty tasty!