Will and Kate Take Canada! All the Details on the Royal Couple's Luxe Locale
Original Article by Yolanda Crous for Brides Magazine
This week, Prince William and Princess Kate are jetting around British Columbia and the Yukon with royal cuties Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Although they're hitting tons of locations during their trip — Vancouver, the Great Bear Rainforest, Haida Gwaii, the Okanagan, and Whitehorse are all on the itinerary — their home base will be Victoria, a gorgeous coastal town with a British vibe on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Fun fact: British Columbia's capital is also a sweet spot for honeymoons, and it's the perfect place to launch a romantic road trip around the island. Here are 10 things we think Will and Kate should see and do on their trip — and you can totally knock these off for your honeymoon!
1. Check in to the Fairmont Empress
Want to honeymoon like royalty? Stay at the Fairmont Empress, an ivy-covered grand dame hotel that presides over Victoria's Inner Harbour. This visit, William, Kate, and the kids are staying at Government House — the official residence of B.C.'s lieutenant governor — but Will's great-grandparents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, visited in 1939, and his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II has swung by several times. Also the afternoon tea is insane. (Definitely pick up a box of the hotel's tea blend to take home with you.)
2. See some gardens
This is a city that loves its flowers. About 1,600 baskets overflowing with petunias and geraniums hang from Victoria's lamp posts, and English-style gardens of roses and hydrangeas bloom in just about every front yard. As amazing as the flowers are in town, you haven't seen anything until you've checked out Butchart Gardens, one of the best public gardens in the world. Surprise to no one: It's a huge wedding spot.
3. Hit the beach
Victoria may be far from a tropical destination, but it does have some lovely beaches. In the summer, locals flock to sandy Willows Beach and Cordova Bay. Want to take a seaside stroll? Go to windswept Clover Point to watch the kite flyers and walk along the Ross Bay seawall.
4. Snag some seafood
Victoria is a mecca for fish and chips. Luckily for you, the Fairmont Empress is just across the street from one of our favorite seafood spots, Red Fish Blue Fish. Or take a water taxi to Barb's Fish & Chips, on Fisherman's Wharf, both for the fantastic halibut and the chance to feed the harbor seals who hang out nearby.
5. Get on a boat
Head to Swartz Bay and catch a ferry to Salt Spring Island, a bucolic paradise for hippies and hipsters. For a luxe stay, check in to the Hastings House, a Relais and Chateaux resort on the water with the two best restaurants on the island. Or drop your bags at Hedgerow House, a serene B&B where owners Jayne and Peter serve up a three-course breakfast showcasing local ingredients. (We still dream about ours.)
6. Find a farm
Within about a minute of arriving on Salt Spring Island, you'll start dreaming about ditching your day jobs and living off the land. That's because this lush island is covered in farmland and filled with young artisans making incredible food. Don't miss a tasting at Salt Spring Vineyards and Winery, and definitely stop in at Salt Spring Cheese to sample the freshly made goat cheese and feta. Dressed up with flowers, herbs, fruits, or spices, every flavor is Instagram-worthy and delicious.
7. Commune with nature
Take the ferry to Crofton, back on Vancouver Island, where you'll begin the four-and-a-half-mile drive to Tofino on the isle's west coast. The route winds west over mountains, through forests, and along rivers. The best place to stretch your legs? Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park, a serene old-growth forest filled with cedar trees and giant Douglas firs — including some that are more than 800 years old. BTW, when we say giant, we mean giant — the biggest measures almost 30 feet around.
8. Catch a few waves
After arriving in Tofino, honeymooners in the know make a beeline for the Wickaninnish Inn. Consistently ranked as one of the top hotels in the world, it's beyond romantic, with impeccable service, a small-but-superb spa, and a much-lauded seafood-centric restaurant with 240-degree views. And what views — the hotel sits on a wide crescent of beach fringed by forests, hiking trails, and surfer-filled waters. Traveling in the winter? Winds and waves get fierce when the days get short, making the inn a favorite spot for storm watchers.
9. Get outdoors
For a primo place to hike, hit the trails in the Pacific National Park. Rather watch wildlife via boat? Sign up for an orca or bear watching tour with Jamie's Whale Watching Station.
10. Ease back in
Time to drive back to Victoria for your return trip home. For a gentle re-entry into the real world, spend your pre-flight night at the Sooke Harbour House, a quiet 28-room seaside retreat a half hour outside the city. Here you'll find quiet nooks for reading, oceanfront totem poles, and a renowned restaurant that was doing farm-to-table fare long before it was cool.