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Butchart gardens: Day Trips and Tours from Vancouver

Butchart Gardens is a world-renowned historic garden estate located on Vancouver Island. Originally part of the Butchart family home, the gardens are now open to the public and you can see exotic collections of plants from around the world.

A Butchart Gardens day trip from Vancouver allows you to explore the miraculous work of mother nature and the city of Victoria in one day.

How to get to Butchart Gardens from Vancouver?

Butchart Gardens is one of the popular destinations for day trips from Vancouver and is located in Brentwood Bay, just over 20 kilometers north of Victoria on Vancouver Island. A little over 100 kilometers from the city of Vancouver, the island is only accessible by ferry or seaplane.

From Vancouver to Butchart Gardens by ferry

You can take the ferry with or without a vehicle from Tsawwassen in Metro Vancouver to Swartz Bay, and the journey takes about 3.5 hours.

Guided tour to Butchart Gardens from Vancouver

Booking a tour makes the journey to Butchart Gardens easy. You'll usually be picked up from your hotel around 8 AM and you'll return to Vancouver late in the evening.

How much does the entrance ticket to Butchart Gardens cost?

June 15 - Sept. 30

  • Adults (18+): C$38 (US$29)
  • Youths (13-17): C$19 (US$15)
  • Children (5-12): C$3 (US$2)
  • Children under 5: Free

Oct. 1 - Oct. 31

  • Adults (18+): C$31.80 (US$25)
  • Youths (13-17): C$15.90 (US$12)
  • Children (5-12): C$2 (US$2)
  • Children under 5: Free

Dec. 1 - Jan. 6

  • Adults (18+): C$34 (US$26)
  • Youths (13-17): C$17 (US$13)
  • Children (5-12): C$3 (US$2)
  • Children under 5: Free

What is the typical itinerary of a day tour to Butchart Gardens from Vancouver?

Generally, you will be picked up from your hotel around 8 AM. You'll travel by bus or private vehicle to the coastal town of Tsawwassen. The drive takes just over 30 minutes and you'll be able to stretch your legs before boarding a ferry or seaplane to transport you to Vancouver Island.

You can choose to go on an airplane trip from Vancouver to Victoria for over 30 minutes. Those that are traveling by ferry will enjoy a leisurely 1.5-hour cruise through the scenic Gulf Islands.

When you reach the city of Victoria, you'll usually head straight to the main attraction. Upon entering Butchart Gardens, you'll be free to wander through its numerous acres of unusual plants, trees and shrubs. You may have a guided tour of the gardens which highlights the most impressive parts.

Continuing on, you'll explore Victoria's green spaces, visit the museums or watch the world pass you by at the harbor. After a long day of sightseeing, you'll return to Vancouver in the evening.

What kinds of tours are available to go to Butchart Gardens?

There are several different day trips to Butchart Gardens and the neighboring city of Victoria also called the "city of gardens." You can choose from festive outings, exciting seaplane rides or multi-day tours from Vancouver.

Day trip to Butchart Gardens plus Victoria from Vancouver

On this Butchart Gardens and Victoria day tour, you'll be just as enthralled by the journey as the destination. You'll leave Vancouver and drive to Tsawwassen to continue your excursion by sea.

You'll weave through the Gulf Islands where you might spot a sea lion or a whale during your ferry ride. Then, you'll take a leisurely stroll through the unique greenery at Butchart before spending time in Victoria.

Christmas tour to Butchart Gardens from Vancouver

This festive-themed Butchart Gardens excursion begins with a hotel pickup and travels to Vancouver Island by bus and ferry. Once your feet are on dry land in Victoria, you'll have free time to roam the city at your leisure.

You may wish to drop by the Fairmont Empress Hotel or Victoria Parliament Building to see the impressive Christmas displays.

Moving onto Butchart Gardens, you'll see the themed displays adorned in colorful festive lights and wreaths. The gardens are transformed into a winter wonderland and you can take a walk through them with a mug of hot chocolate in hand.

Day tour to Butchart Gardens plus Victoria and seaplane flight from Vancouver

Instead of a ferry ride from the mainland to Vancouver Island, this trip takes you on an electrifying seaplane ride over the Pacific. You'll participate in a walking tour of Victoria and enjoy some free time before journeying to Butchart Gardens, to explore the massive green area with your guide.

Your Butchart Gardens day trip ends with a ferry ride through the Gulf Islands and a transfer back to your hotel.

2-Day tour to Butchart Gardens plus Victoria from Vancouver

You'll follow the same itinerary as most day tours on a 2-day trip from Vancouver to Butchart Gardens. However, instead of returning to Vancouver, you'll spend the night in the Fairmont Empress, which is often regarded as the best hotel in the city.

You can choose how to spend the next 24 hours on the island. That may mean taking advantage of the hotel's facilities or learning about Victoria's history at the Royal BC Museum. On your journey back to Vancouver, you'll take a seaplane flight to end your trip on a high.

How much does a tour to Butchart Gardens from Vancouver cost?

Victoria and Butchart Gardens day tours include round-trip transportation by bus and ferry, as well as admission to the gardens. You can expect to pay between US$180 and US$190.

Christmas tours also cost approximately US$190 and include round-trip transportation with a hotel pickup service and entrance to the gardens.

Day trips to Butchart Gardens that travel by seaplane include hotel pickup and drop-off, and transportation to and from Victoria by seaplane and ferry. Your admission fee to Butchart Gardens is covered, and you'll have a professionally guided tour of both the city and the gardens. You'll pay around US$190.  

Two-day trips include hotel pickup and drop-off, a guided tour of Victoria, and a seaplane flight. You'll stay in the Fairmont Empress overnight which is also included in the price. Prices start at around US$580.

What will you see and do on a Butchart Gardens day trip from Vancouver?

Butchart Gardens is over 100 years old and covers a grand area of 55 acres, just outside of Victoria. Located in Brentwood Bay, you'll find 900 different flora variations within its several themed gardens.

You can take a trip around the world through its flowers by wandering around the Mediterranean, Japanese and Italian gardens.

You'll find palms, succulents and brightly-colored flowers in the Mediterranean Garden. The Japanese Garden is a calming space full of flowing streams, azaleas and Japanese maple trees.

On the other side, the Italian Garden is a regal courtyard containing water features and bronze statues. If you're the traditional type when it comes to blooms, you may wish to take a turn in the Rose Garden which houses 280 variations of the fragrant flower.

Throughout the summer months, the gardens remain open for romantic nighttime strolls with evening illuminations and also host several concerts. At Christmas time, you can expect a striking "Home Alone" movie style display with thousands of twinkling lights, as well as wreaths and garlands.

When are Butchart Gardens open over the year?

The gardens open for the summer season between June 1 and Oct. 31. You can also take a day tour to Butchart Gardens during the Christmas period between Dec. 1 and Jan. 6.

What are the opening times?

The opening times of Butchart Gardens depend on the day of your visit.

Between June 1 and Sept. 11:

  • Monday - Wednesday: 9 AM - 5 PM
  • Thursday: 9 AM - 8 PM
  • Friday - Saturday: 9 AM - 9:30 PM
  • Sunday: 9 AM - 6:30 PM

Throughout the rest of the season, the Butchart Gardens is open every day with the following opening hours:

  • Sept. 12 - Sept. 30: 9 AM- 5 PM
  • Oct. 1 - Oct. 31: 9 AM- 4 PM

The gardens remain open for an hour after the gates close.

When is the best time to visit Butchart Gardens?

Plan a day tour to Butchart Gardens for the summer months when the flowers are in full bloom. During July and August, the weather also reaches a balmy 20 degrees Celsius which makes an amble through the gardens extremely pleasant.

Butchart Gardens transforms into a spectacular outdoor Christmas attraction over the holidays. If you need a little help getting in the festive spirit, plan your trip for the month of December.

Are there any tours to Butchart Gardens from other cities in Canada?

Yes, there are tours departing from other cities in Canada:

Travel tips

  • If you suffer from travel sickness, ensure you take the adequate medication needed with you for the ferry crossing.
  • If possible, time your Butchart Gardens day trip with the Christmas opening period to experience the gardens in all their glory.
  • If you're the adventurous sort, consider taking a seaplane over to Vancouver Island.