Back in July, J’s parents came to visit, and we took an amazing weekend trip up to Victoria and San Juan Island.
We drove to Port Angeles the night before so that we could take the first ferry over in the morning. We had a gorgeous day and were so excited to explore! The ferry ride was a beautiful (but choppy!) hour and a half across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
We found a place to park our car for the day and headed out to explore downtown Victoria. One of the first things I noticed was how many gorgeous flowers there were!
We arrived at the harbor just in time to see these boats doing a choreographed show to music playing over the speakers nearby! So cute.
We spent a while just walking along the harbor, enjoying the boats and sunshine.
The Fairmont Empress is located right across the street from the harbor – a perfect location and filled with so many beautiful flowers! We loved walking through the gardens nearby.
The Parliament building is also located right next to the harbor and is another gorgeous building! We loved how easy it was to walk around and really get a feel for the city.
Here’s a panoramic shot I got showing the entire harbor, with the Fairmont Empress on the left and the Parliament building in the middle.
The hydrangeas were unbelieveable!
After walking around for a bit, we headed over to the Parliament building to find the Tally Ho Carriage Rides.
Tally Ho offers horse-drawn carriage tours, which is another great way to see some of the sights! We signed up for the hour-long Deluxe tour.
Riding in style!
First we rode through Beacon Hill Park.
And then we rode along the waterfront and enjoyed a new view of the Olympic mountains!
We even saw Mile 0 of the Trans-Canada Highway.
The tour finished with a loop through the James Bay neighborhood, which is filled with historical homes. It’s one of the oldest residential neighborhoods on the West Coast.
This was one of my favorites!
After the tour we bought some delicious fruit smoothies from a stand by the harbor,
and then went to sit on the steps of the Parliament building to enjoy the view!
And we spent some more time wandering around the gardens.
Our final stop of the day was at the Empress Tea Room, for afternoon tea!
The china was absolutely gorgeous!
We started out with some blueberries and cream,
followed by the Empress Blend of tea, which is exclusive to the Fairmont Empress.
Here’s a great photo of J’s parents 🙂
It was such a fun experience!
The best part was all the treats they brought out with the tea – cute little sandwiches, biscuits, and of course desserts!
The setup for each table was gorgeous
and just the room itself was so fancy!
Our whole day in Victoria was very charming, from walking along the waterfront, to a carriage ride through the park, followed by Afternoon Tea. It certainly felt like stepping back in time to the Victorian era, and it was a beautiful and relaxing day. After we finished up with tea, we headed back to our car and drove up to Sidney, B.C. to catch another ferry to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, where we were staying overnight. Check back soon for the highlights of our day on San Juan Island!
A few tips if you are planning a day or weekend trip to Victoria:
- Make ferry reservations ahead of time. There are several ways to get to Victoria, including the Clipper that takes you directly from Seattle, the ferry we rode from Port Angeles, or a ferry from Anacortes. Check the schedules ahead of time so that you can plan your visit accordingly. Making reservations made our trip so much smoother because it guarantees you a spot on the boat you want.
- Check your reservation information, but usually you will have to show up 60-90 minutes ahead of time to check in/go through customs.
- If you don’t need a car, it’s much cheaper to walk on the ferry, and then you don’t have to worry about where to park once you get there. We took a car because we’d planned a longer trip, but Victoria is a very walkable city!
- If you’re interested in tea at the Fairmont Empress, make reservations ahead of time, too! I made ours a few days prior to our trip, and there were very limited options left at that time, so the time slots fill up quickly!