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Top 5 Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season in Victoria

Posted on November 1, 2018

There's no better place to experience the magic of the holidays than in Victoria, B.C. Between twinkling lights, festivals, parades and much more, here's five ways embrace the festive season.


1. Take Part in Festive Holiday Events 

First up is the much-loved Festival of Trees, which will be up for display starting Nov 15 until Jan 7 at The Bay Centre. Just a few days later, the Annual Gingerbread Showcase kicks off running from Nov 18 to Jan 6 at the Parkside Hotel & Spa. On Nov 24, grab a thermos of hot cocoa and catch the 37th Island Farms Santa’s Light Parade as Santa leads his way down Government St. An absolute must do is The Magic of Christmas at The Butchart Gardens. From Dec 1 until Jan 6, experience the Twelve Days of Christmas display, nightly garden illuminations, ice skating, a carousel ride and indulge in a festive afternoon tea. 

For a full list of holiday events to choose from, be sure to check out the holiday event calendar for what’s on around town, plus everything you need to know about celebrating the holidays in Victoria


magic of christmas butchart gardens

festival of trees christmas bay centre victoria
Image credits: The Butchart Gardens (top), Brandon McGeachie Photography (bottom)


2. Experience Christmas in a Castle.

Starting Dec 1, visit Craigdarroch Castle to get a truly Victorian Christmas feel. First built in 1890, Christmas at Craigdarroch Castle will take you back to Christmas’ past with traditionally decorated mantles, vintage toys, a dining table set with turkey, ham, a boar’s head on a platter and Christmas trees throughout the castle. There will also be local musicians performing at various times throughout the day. 

3. Warm Up at Victoria’s Coziest Spots 

While Victoria normally doesn’t get “winter” like the rest of Canada, we do still have some chilly days in December, so there’s still no better way to warm up than with a cozy, inviting atmosphere. Visit Murchie’s Coffee and Tea for a London Fog and a slice of their famous Marie Antoinette cake, or head to the Fairmont Empress and gather around the fire to roast S’mores on the Veranda while overlooking the inner harbour. 

You can also check out 28 more cozy places to escape the winter chill in Victoria. 


bard and banker pub
Image credit: @blumpics on Instagram


4. Enjoy an Enchanting Evening at Merridale 

The holiday magic doesn’t end with the festivities in downtown Victoria. Head to Merridale Cidery & Distillery in Cobble Hill, about 45 minutes drive from the city center, to enjoy Christmas at the Farm. Every Friday and Saturday night from Nov 23 to Dec 22, you can enjoy an enchanting walk through Merridale’s courtyard light-up with hundreds of twinkling lights, decorations, and displays, followed by a screening of the 1966 classic “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” and a farm to table dinner served at long tables. Wanting to bring the whole family? Reserve for Sunday night’s Family Christmas at the Farm.

Tip: Make sure to check out The Farm Store; it will also be open throughout the evenings, so you can pick up a few unique holiday gifts! 


merridale cidery christmas at the farm
Image credit: Merridale Cidery & Distillery


5. Explore the Pacific Marine Circle Route

December is the start of storm watching season on the west coast, and the most spectacular coastal systems can be experienced along the Pacific Marine Circle Route. Between Victoria and Port Renfrew, you’ll have ample opportunity to hike through west coast rainforest and explore blustery beaches or cozy up along the way and enjoy the scenery away from the elements. Make sure to stop at Sheringham Lighthouse in Shirley for stunning views and a great photo op. 

Book a stay at Wild Renfrew where you can choose from a private, spacious seaside cottage or suite. They’re located in the heart of Port Renfrew which is home to some of the island’s best storm watching (and wildlife watching!). Try Botanical Beach, which is about 5 minutes drive from Wild Renfrew, or stop at Mystic Beach or French Beach on your way to or from Victoria. 

wild renfrew pub in port renfrew
Image credit: @sparkinvictoria on Instagram


Want more?

If you're looking for more fun things to do in Victoria this Christmas season, visit the online event calendar or connect with us on social media! We're always happy to offer recommendations and assist with trip planning. Find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram