For more than a century, this former quarry has bloomed as one of the world’s greatest show gardens. If there is one attraction to visit above all others in Victoria, this is it. Nearly a million people visit the gardens each year, which means it can be a bit of a stampede in the summer months (it’s best to come early or late to miss the worst of the crowds). The Butchart family—which still owns it—created the gardens after they exhausted a limestone quarry near their Tod Inlet home. Jenny Butchart first created the famous Sunken Garden, which was opened to the public in 1904. To that were added a Rose Garden, Italian Garden, and Japanese Garden, and now more than a million plants fill the grounds. Among them is the rare blue Himalayan poppy, which you might spot if you visit in June and are very lucky. On summer nights, the gardens are illuminated with colored lights and fireworks; in winter, it becomes a twinkling wonderland. The Dining Room Restaurant in the historic family home serves a fine high tea, plus there are musical events, a carousel, a terrific gift shop and much more.
- Frommer's Staff