The Hatley Castle and Gardens are a Wonderful Side Trip from Victoria BC

History Parks & Gardens Sight Seeing

Hatley Castle is a beautiful National Historic Site near Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island. It is a short 20 minute drive from downtown Victoria and is open all year with tours available.

The Castle has an amazing history and is now a university. Decades prior to that it was a military college and before that an estate of the Dunsmuirs who built the Hatley Castle as wells as the Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria.

Breathtaking View of Hatley Castle

The Castle itself from the exterior is quite stunning. The Castle is located on a hill with a breathtaking view especially from the parking lot near the lake. The rolling hills make the whole experience quite beautiful.

A very peaceful and quite place indeed!

The Hatley Castle Gardens

The Hatley Castle and Gardens are a wonderful side trip when you are in the Victoria area. In addition to the historic castle there are five spectacular gardens to walk through and take pictures.

The rose garden is both beautiful and charming. You may even get the chance to meet the gardener who has been there nearly two decades. There is also a formal Italian garden and a large sprawling Japanese garden. Striking peacoks wander about the gardens.

Hatley Castle Tours

Guidend tours of the Castle are available but are not fequent so you need to plan your visit. The guides are very informative and will point out the spaces where scenes from the X-Men series were shot along with the history of the Castle. Queen Elizabeth has visited the Castle twice.

Hatley Castle Specialty Programs

  • Afternoon Tea in Hatley Castle – Featuring English tea sandwiches along with pastries, specialty teas and coffees. Reservations required. Minimum 12 people.
  • Geocache – an adventure where you can learn how to use a GPS (global positioning system) at Hatley Park. Reservations required. Minimum 10 people.
  • Garden Rambling – Explore this beautiful garden by taking a one tour with one of Hatley Park’s gardeners. Small fee of $5 plus admission. Minimum 4 people.

Hatley Castle Conference & Meeting Rooms

Three venues to select from: the Mews Conference Centre, the Quarterdeck and Hatley Castle. Accommodations and catering also available on site. They also have corporate team building events.

  • Mews Conference Centre – main floor with a 2,500 sq ft ballroom, lounge and four meeting rooms.
  • The Quarterdeck – has banquet space for up to 250 guests – utilized also for banquets, dances and weddings.
  • Hatley Castle – 40 room heritage building with old world charm and modern day facilities.

History of Hatley Castle

You can enjoy a one hour guided tour which walks the estate and where you can gain insight into the history of Hatley Castle from the First Nations, Dunsmuir family, Royal Roads Military College and currently the Royal Roads University.

The Hatley Castle is as vibrant as in past with university classes, administration offices and public events.

The mansion was originally build as a home for the Hon. James Dunsmuir in 1908 with a design by Victoria’s premier architect, Samuel Maclure based on the English Queen Anne and Elizabethan revival styles of the Edwardian period.

This web site has an excellent description of the Castle’s history.

Contact information

Hatley Park National Historic Site
2005 Sooke Rd., Victoria, BC V9B 5Y2 Tel: 250- 391-2666 Toll free: 1-866-241-0674

Directions to Hatley Castle from Victoria, BC

  • About a 20 minute trip – travel north from Victoria on Douglas Street which turns into the Trans-Canada Highway – Highway 1.
  • Take exit 10 heading to View Royal-Colwood.
  • Follow this to Sooke Road
  • Continue on Sooke Road till you see the signs for Royal Roads University & Hatley Park National Historic Site.
  • Bus service also available but the walk up the hill is a bit challenging.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Amazing Vancouver Island and a clickable link back to this page.

Image credit:

Publisher of Amazing Vancouver Island. Doug grew up in Kamloops and Vancouver. He is also the President of KIAI Angency, an Internet Marketing and Branding agency in Vancouver. He is an avid photographer and you can see his many pix of Vancouver Island on Flickr.

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