Kicking off the second part of this travel guide with activities you and your family would love to do in Victoria, British Columbia. Though I would have been happy not ever stepping outside the doors of the Fairmont Empress, our girls were shrieking with delight when we told them we had a big day of adventures ahead.
On our list were the Butchart Gardens, one of Victoria’s main attractions year-round and I would quickly see just why it was such a popular destination. We arrived just as the sun finished setting and the millions (yes millions!) of twinkly lights were greeting us. I wish these photos could do justice to the grand beauty of this unforgettable experience, but it is truly something you have to see with your own eyes to fully appreciate. The whole vast scape of the gardens is meticulously covered with holiday lights and Christmas magic literally as far as the eye can see. There was a fun interactive scavenger hunt component, with all “12 Days of Christmas” depicted, displayed all around the gardens which our girls loved finding.
Aside from the lights themselves, you can truly make a full day (and night of course) of the Butchart Gardens experience. There is an ice-skating rink, a carousel, a ton of food options and shops.
I would love to come back in the spring, when the whole feel of the gardens does a 180 to display beautiful flowers, and spend a day discovering every nook and cranny.
Our other favorite, and just down the street from the Empress, was the Royal BC Museum. We grabbed some umbrellas and headed out to explore all 3 floors of this natural and human history of the Province of British Columbia museum, which also holds the British Columbia Provincial Archives. The girls’ favorite part was roaming among the depicted animal life and meeting Father Christmas. The Canadian version of Santa Clause.
Then it was time for the grand finale of the trip. Our Christmas dinner at Q restaurant. We did it up with extra sparkle to celebrate the end of this magical trip. Eric and I raised our glasses once we sat, to toast the adventure and both girls rushed in with the water glasses, making us laugh. Then we went around the table each saying what our favorite part of the trip was. The girls were extra giddy and excited as if knowing to take in every moment before it was time to head home. My favorite part truly was the four of us being together. Whether snuggling by the fire roasting marshmallows or holding hands as we navigated the ice-skating rink, or all running to greet Winston the Empress ambassador every morning before breakfast. It was being at this truly magical place as a family and feeling so comfortable that was the most wonderful part.
After dinner we decided to spoil the girls some more and headed up to the gold lounge for some hot chocolate and more treats. If I can add one more thing to my list of favorites, this lounge is it. I could have spent a day just sipping on tea and reading a book here. There is an amazing terrace that must be the absolute ‘it’ spot for lounging during the warmer months. I mentally added it to my “when we come back” list.
It was time to turn in for our last time. The girls cuddled with their Winston stuffies as I kissed them goodnight. The next morning there would be some tears as they said bye to their best buddy with promised to be back soon. As I headed past the grand Christmas tree in the lobby for the last time, I took in all the magic and thought to myself “this is definitely what Christmas should feel like”.
A big thanks to the Fairmont Empress for partnering on this post!