Craigdarroch Castle#10 in Best Things To Do in Victoria & Vancouver Island
To sample the Victorian high life, head about a mile east of the Inner Harbour to Craigdarroch Castle, a National Historic Site. This impressive home was built in the late 1800s for coal tycoon Robert Dunsmuir. Although it's more of a mansion than a castle, it houses 39 rooms, each of which is decked out in furnishings from the turn of the 20th century. Another highlight are the more than 30 gorgeous stained glass windows, the majority of which illustrate floral themes.
Even if you aren't a big history buff, many previous visitors recommend stopping by Craigdarroch Castle for a glimpse into how the wealthy once lived, not to mention stunning views of downtown Victoria. The only downside among reviewers: The house doesn't have any ramps or elevators, making it difficult for visitors with mobility issues to tour the upper three floors of the castle.
Craigdarroch Castle is open every day from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with extended evening hours from June to early September. Admission costs CA$14.25 (about $11) for adults and CA$5 (about $4) for children ages 6 to 12. Although there are no guided tours, admission includes an audio guide. Plus, you'll find staff and volunteers stationed throughout the various rooms ready to answer your questions. You'll find the castle about 2 miles east of downtown Victoria. If you're not in the mood for the uphill bike ride, consider hopping on the bus (routes Nos. 2, 15, 27 and 28 all stop nearby). Visit the Craigdarroch Castle website for more information.
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#1 Inner Harbour
The Inner Harbour is Victoria's primary tourist neighborhood. The harbor itself – home to various fishing boats and colorful floating homes – is framed by wide pedestrian streets, often frequented by street vendors and buskers. Numerous cafes and restaurants line the sidewalks and provide the perfect locale to savor an afternoon cup of tea while keeping your eyes peeled for whales playing in the open water. The Inner Harbour also hosts some of Victoria's most popular attractions, including the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Parliament Buildings. If you're embarking on a boat or ferry tour, this is where you'll likely start your journey.
Although the majority of recent visitors recommended spending a few hours at the Inner Harbour for the view, some suggested devoting at least half a day as there is always something interesting to see and do. For an even more charming scene, return in the evening, when the Parliament Buildings are lit up.
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