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Advice on visiting Victoria

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London, United...
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Advice on visiting Victoria

Hi

I am staring to plan my 40th birthday trip and looking for some advice.

Current plan is.

London to Seattle

3 nights in Seattle.

(When in Seattle I want to do some sort of city tour and also visit the museum of flight and a Boeing factory tour)

Seattle to Victoria by ferry

2/3 nights Victoria at the Empress.

Victoria to London via Vancouver.

OK this is where I need your help.

When in Victoria the only thing that I know that I want to do is Afternoon Tea at the empress. What else should I do?

My ideal day on holiday is:

-Breakfast (not too early)

-of to visit something (this is where I need suggestions)

-Lunch (leisurely)

-Shopping

-Coffee/afternoon tea

-Time to sit somewhere and read a book for an hour or so.

-Back to the hotel to get ready for dinner

-Dinner

I don't really want to visit museums or galleries that take all day to see in full, smaller ones are ok. I would like to do some shopping, but more sort of independent stores rather than malls. I have been whale watching before and don't really want to do that again. I guess I am not explaining this well, I don't want to sit and do nothing but I don't want to have an itinerary thats so packed that I need a rest when I get back.

Also suggestions for places to eat would be good.

Next thing how should I get from Victoria to Vancouver airport for the flight home? I have looked at Air Canada's website and to fly looks the easiest way but seams expensive for such a sort flight. Is there a ferry? Or just for fun should I think about float planes. (I would however have some luggage)

Any thoughts?

Thanks

Alex

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Advice on visiting Victoria

Welcome to the forum, Alex ~

2 or 3 nights in Victoria would allow you a nice amount of time to see things there. Will you have a rental car while there? or be willing to rent one for a day? When are you coming? Advice will be different if it's, say, late September or October.

"Shopping" will be up Government Street as far as Johnson or so and even along Fort. And I would suggest you drop in to the Royal BC Museum gift shop for a look around.

I would suggest you give the Royal BC Museum a consideration. It is an excellent museum with plenty of exhibits that focus on local history/society to keep you busy for a couple of hours. And I would also suggest you drop in to Munro Books, just for the unique ambiance. 1108 Government Street

For places to eat, perhaps you could suggest a budget range and the types of food you like.

To get to Vancouver Airport, you could do a number of things: fly Air Canada, fly Harbour Air to the Richmond float plane dock 10 min by complimentary shuttle south of YVR. This route allows the full 23 kg of luggage. The Vancouver Harbour route allows 11.5 kg. You could take the ferry, but I usually recommend not on departure day. The ferry might have trouble or delay and you would be hooped for your flight. Recently there was a threat of some kind on the ferry and everyone had to get off. So much for making connections on this side. If you wanted to do this beautiful scenic route, and you are coming before the days get too short, you could take Pacific Coach to YVR the evening before, enjoy the evening daylight, and stay in a hotel near the airport. You pay them for the coach and ferry and go on one bus right to the airport.

www.harbour-air.com

www.pacificcoach.com

www.bcferries.com

Here is a list of things to do in Victoria that I like to post for questions like yours. A cab fare pretty much anywhere in local Victoria (except Butchart Gardens) would be under about $20.

VICTORIA DOWNTOWN:

Inner Harbour Causeway

Victoria harbour ferry ride, http://victoriaharbourferry.com/

Butchart Gardens – ~2 hours - www.butchartgardens.com/index.php…

Royal BC Museum – ~2 hours, royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Exhibit_Gall/default.aspx

Craigdarroch Castle

Helmcken House

Emily Carr House

Miniature World

The Victoria Bug Zoo http://www.bugzoo.bc.ca/

Abkhazi Gardens - …conservancy.bc.ca/properties/…

4 self guided heritage walks victoria.ca/EN/…heritage-walking-tours.html

************************

FARTHER AFIELD

Dominion Astrophysical Observatory @ Mount Douglas Park http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/ibp/hia.html

Shaw Ocean Discovery Center in Sidney http://www.oceandiscovery.ca/

Hatley Castle @ Royal Roads University, 2005 Sooke Rd - http://www.hatleycastle.com/

Fort Rodd and Fisgard Lighthouse in Colwood

Victoria Butterfly Gardens near Butchart Gardens http://www.butterflygardens.com/

Nanaimo, Canada
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2. Re: Advice on visiting Victoria

If you have the time, I would highly recommend getting on a ferry for a trip to Vancouver. It is an amazing trip, and takes you through the Gulf Islands. If you are lucky, you might see some great wildlife from outside on the deck. A very beautiful route...But as Mufti says, you would need to go over the day BEFORE your flight. There are medical emergencies, mechanical problems, and sometimes a boat in distress where the ferry must go and help out. So do think about that.

What time is your flight back home?

Edit: and the Royal B. C. museum really is spectacular too IMHO!!

Edited: 7:24 pm, July 06, 2012
Sechelt, BC
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3. Re: Advice on visiting Victoria

The Royal BC Museum is a must do and can easily be done in a couple of hours. I visit every time I am in Victoria and even though the exhibits largely remained unchanged since I first went thru back in the '70's I still find it fascinating.

Last time I went thru the old town/farm/mine/ship a museum guide told me to look out for a couple of subtle changes. I found 3 of 4 - had to ask what the last one was. It really is a cool place.

Victoria, Canada
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4. Re: Advice on visiting Victoria

For shopping in Victoria, walk up Fort Street, also known as "Antique Row".

Beacon Hill park is a great place to spend the day.

Shopping and tea in Oak bay village.

The easiest way to get from Victoria to the Vancouver airport is to take Pacific Coach Lines bus from the bus depot, onto the ferry, and then the bus will take you straight to the airport. The bus ride to the ferry is about 30 mins, the ferry ride is 90 mins and then another 30 min bus ride to the airport.

London, United...
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5. Re: Advice on visiting Victoria

Hi

Firstly thank you all for the information, this helps a lot. (Its going to take me a while to read through all you're suggestions.

MuftiMixandmatch

In answer to your questions.

Yes we might hire a car but I think we prefer not to. If there was somewhere that we wanted to go and a taxi was out of the question due to the distance then we would hire a car.

As yet we haven't booked any flights. My birthday is in January but I think we are going to wait until May. When maybe the weather might be a bit better.

With regards to places to eat, I am not sure that I am going to be very helpful, but here goes. When we travel we tend to eat on one night at the smartest or one of the smartest places in town. I don't mean a restaurant where the staff think they are more important than the customers. Or a place thats ultra trendy.

More sort of linen tablecloths, nice china, friendly but smart staff and a menu thats french/european but with local ingredients. (I am sure that doesn't help at all! A few years ago we visited Vancouver and ate at a place that we really liked, typically I can remember what it was called but it might of been Le Gavroche) For the rest of the stay we tend to eat in more relaxed style restaurants. I don't mean budget level but more the sort of place you could turn up to in jeans and a t-shirt, maybe an Italian or chinese or a steak house.

Suggestions for breakfast would also be welcome.

Thanks again

Alex

Nanaimo, Canada
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6. Re: Advice on visiting Victoria

John's place for breakfast! I think it is on Pandora Street... might be a hike but that is a good thing, as you will need it after breakfast there!

http://www.johnsplace.ca/

And if you just walk along Government street, there are so many cool places for lunch. In May, the weather might be good enough you could sit outside. Cool though. There is the Irish Pub and the Scottish Pub, owned by the same people.

I can't think of a dressy place right now, as I just don't go to those places, but some locals will get on here I am sure and point you in the right direction.

http://www.irishtimespub.ca/

http://www.bardandbanker.com/

Edited: 10:30 am, July 07, 2012
Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: Advice on visiting Victoria

Hi Camperdown ~

Thanks for providing more information.

There is plenty to do on foot in Victoria, so a car is not necessary. I was only wondering if you were already planning on a rental car.

May is a very good time to go to Victoria. We have Victoria Day long weekend on the third Monday of May, the roads and ferries are hopping and everyone is very grateful to Queen Vic for giving us a reason to get out of town for the first taste of warm weather in the year. If you are taking BC Ferries to the Island on this weekend, you would want to make reservations on the ferry. As well, more attractions have better opening hours after Vic Day weekend.

I think, in general, you will find restaurants in Victoria to be quite "dress casual." I wouldn't worry about any of that for most of your meals. For your special dinner you might consider Il Terrazzo. As well you might consider Cafe Brio, about 1 km from the Inner Harbour but just a few minutes by taxi and probably $8 or so.

calgary
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8. Re: Advice on visiting Victoria

Can't beat the Oak Bay Marina for an upscale meal. The Bengal Lounge in the Empress Hotel for their curry buffet.

Newberg, Oregon
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9. Re: Advice on visiting Victoria

Il Terrazzo is indeed a very good restaurant -- great food and even better wine list. Only downside, it tends to be a bit noisy and conversation can be a little tough. Our favorite special occasion is Restaurant Matisse, on Yates at Wharf Street. The menu is classic French in a lovely, romantic setting. And owner/maitre 'd John will make sure your evening is special. We have a return visit planned in December.

Victoria, Canada
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10. Re: Advice on visiting Victoria

Yes, May is a good choice; the weather is often better than it is in June!

Le Gavroche is of course excellent; the closest equivalents here are probably Cafe Brio, Pablo's and Camille's (which is for some obscure reason not on TA's map; it is at 45 Bastion Square). I recommend the Bon Rouge. Highly recommend the Bengal Lounge for lunch or dinner; if you are there on Friday or Saturday there is good live jazz too. Join the President's Club (https://www.fairmont.com/fpc/ ; free) and get a discount on many weekday items. Also recommend the veranda restaurant which is outdoors overlooking the harbour.

Note, you don't need a reservation for BC Ferries as a walk-on / bus passenger.