Our favourite Royals are on something of a family vacation in BC and the Yukon for the next week or so, and we can’t stop dreaming about all the amazing stuff they’re going to do while here. They’ve mentioned that they plan to visit the Great Bear Rainforest, and we know they’re going to a street party in Whitehorse, but we’re wondering what they’ve got planned for the rest of it. Like, where are they going to eat and drink and visit while in Victoria? Okay, so we’ve gone a little further than wondering–we went ahead and planned the whole family’s time in Victoria. It’s basically a dream vacation. You’re welcome, you two.
It’s sure to be a frenzy of paparazzi and fans in fascinators with their iPhones strapped to their palms as Will, Kate, George and Charlotte descend on the provincial capital. Here are all the things we hope the Royals do as they explore the beautiful island city that was named after Prince William’s great-great-great grandmother, Victoria:
Get a babysitter and have a romantic evening in the Fairmont Empress’ Royal Suite
Even though we know they’ll be staying at Government House, as per tradition, we like to imagine them sneaking away for a romantic evening at the recently updated Fairmont Empress. For Will and Kate, nothing less than the Royal Suite will do–it’s right in the name, after all. Mainly we want them to stay here because A) it’s totally up to royal standards and B) then we can stay in it afterward and tell all of our friends (and the entire Internet) about how awesome it was.
Sample an ale at Spinnakers, Canada’s oldest brewpub
Ask any traveler (and most Brits) and they’ll tell you that trying the local beer is a great way to experience culture. We’re naming Spinnakers, the oldest brewpub in the nation, as the place to get to know Victoria from within a pint glass (it also has a great view of the Inner Harbour). Will and Kate can try their English Style India Pale Ale and tell them if they’ve done it right…
Watch some whales
Visitors to Victoria are often, if not always, encouraged to go on a whale watching tour. The chance to get up close and personal (well, personal enough) with killer whales, sea lions, bald eagles, humpback whales and more wild creatures of the seas and islands, should not be missed. Hopefully, the Royals have allotted some time to get out on the water and watch some nature. While they’re in the boat over there watching whales, we’ll be in the boat over here watching them. But seriously, how epic would it be to get a shot of a whale cresting while Kate looks on? Epic, for sure.
Stroll the Causeway
It might be difficult for The Duchess and Duke and their kiddos to actually “stroll” the Causeway, in downtown Victoria, on account of the throngs of adoring fans that are sure to surround them, but it’d be a shame for them not to at least try. Rope it off or whatever. Just let them get their waterfront selfie, so we can get ours.
Or hike Thetis Lake Regional Park
There may be a little more room for Charlotte and George to stretch their legs (or stroller wheel, for the 1-year-old) at the nearby Thetis Lake Regional Park. We’re certain that the family will be taking in plenty of Canadian nature while they’re here–one does not simply come to Canada and not get a nature fix–and we hope they do so while walking the trails around Lake Thetis, which is just 12km from downtown Victoria.
Become inspired by great Canadian art at The Robert Bateman Centre
Kate has a thing for art. In fact, she earned a degree in the history of art from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, and is a champion of art therapy programs. We hope she takes a few therapeutic moments for herself in The Robert Bateman Centre where she can admire and learn about the iconic nature paintings of the great Canadian artist. William and the kids can come too, of course.
And take in even more culture at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Why stop at just one? Might as well go gallery hopping and make the largest art collection on the island, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the next stop on Kate’s quest for Canadiana. The gallery fills the historic Spencer Mansion and some more contemporary gallery spaces and is currently featuring an exhibition on another of Canada’s most celebrated artists, Emily Carr–plus, it’s got a bonsai garden. Who doesn’t love a #tinytree?
Then visit Miniature World, which is like art, too
On the topic of tiny things, Miniature World is about as much fun a family can have in Victoria, pretending they’re just a few inches tall. Tons of tiny little dioramas and displays (including the world’s smallest operational sawmill) make this a great place for the Duchess and Duke and their prince and princess to spend an afternoon. Just try not to touch anything, OK George?
Shop for something fashionably Canadian at Violette Boutique (for Kate, anyway)
We can picture the family walking down the tree-lined Government Street and popping into Violette Boutique when something unique, elegant and shiny catches the Duchess’ eye. The boutique offers great individual jewelry and accessories, including that of Vancouver’s Pyrrha Design, which fashions their cool Victorian-style pieces from reclaimed silver, bronze and gold. The perfect little keepsake.
Take afternoon tea, naturally
British people LOVE tea. We know this because of movies, and because we actually have a British aunt and she LOVES tea. Afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress is an event for anyone, British or otherwise. Will and Kate will definitely appreciate the experience.
And stock up on all the Murchie tea
Will, Kate and their entourage will be sipping Murchie Fine Tea and Coffee, a BC-based tea company, at their Government House digs. And we’re pretty sure they’ll find it soooo delicious that they’ll want to take boxes back to London. Oh, and if you’d like to drink the same tea as the Royals, Murchie has a line of teas fit for, well, kings and queens and duchesses and dukes; the Royal Selection includes Queen Victoria, Golden Jubilee, Prince Charles and Diamond Jubilee premium tea bags.
— Murchie’s Tea&Coffee (@Murchies) September 22, 2016
Let the kids bug out at the Victoria Bug Zoo
George is a three-year-old-boy and therefore almost certainly into bugs in a major way. We reckon he’d have quite the time checking out the various ants, beetles, glow in the dark scorpions, giant walking sticks and tarantulas the zoo has on display. Plus, kids under 4 get in for free…they pretty much have to go now.
Check out some planes and learn some Canadian history
William, who served in the Royal Air Force, might like to take an afternoon to explore the British Columbia Aviation Museum. There he’ll find history of the air force in Canada and British Columbia, including restored aircraft and artefacts from the wars in which Canadian pilots flew. He should bring along George and Charlotte–kids love planes.
Get lost in the Butchart Gardens
This immaculate green space is where we’d like to imagine the Royal Family going for an afternoon stroll. The 55 acre property is a heritage site and over a century old. One million plants and 900 varieties cover the sprawling property. Seriously, it looks like something out of a British fairytale, and we just know they’d feel right at home.
Paddle a double kayak
The duo might care to capitalize on Victoria’s relatively calm ocean access by renting a kayak or a pair of kayaks. Paddling around the historic Victoria Harbour is a great way to experience the city. If they do this, and they share a kayak for two, the photos will probably break the Internet. We’re ready for it.