Victoria B.C. Canada – 19 to 27 Oct 2008

Victoria, the capital of B.C., is set on Vancouver Island off the spectacular west coast of Canada. It is known as the city of gardens and “a little bit of Olde England.” The fantastic Autumn/Fall colours of the maple and other trees add to the many attractions. During these eight days we explore many aspects of this fascinating part of the world including museums, gardens, the famous Empress Hotel, Chinatown, many places of natural beauty and some excellent and interesting restaurants.

ACCOMMODATION is in a unique hotel with luxurious Manor Houses set in five acres of superb gardens. Rooms vary, some having four-poster beds, wood or gas burning fireplaces, kitchenettes and decks and all have en suite bathrooms, telephone, cable TV, high speed internet access. Just minutes from downtown Victoria and the Inner Harbour by ferry or bus this is a wonderfully relaxing refuge. One of the best restaurants in the city, which has won two prestigious awards, is in our hotel where we have our Welcome and Farewell Dinners. We have a buffet dinner at the world famous Empress Hotel, one dinner as part of our tour of Chinatown and four lunches in interesting restaurants.

CHAMBER MUSIC PLAYING will be on six mornings with COACHING on five of these. We have highly experienced coaches, members of the Purcell Quartet – who also had illustrious careers as principals in leading orchestras in England including St Martin’s-in-the-Field and the London Symphony Orchestra. Instrument rentals are possible. There is a selection of chamber music parts available but you are asked to bring one or two quartets/quintets and a stand if possible although there will be a limited number available.

CONCERTS and THEATRE. On the afternoon of Sunday 26th there will be a concert by the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. The programme includes CPE Bach – Sinfonia; JS Bach – Violin Concerto; Schubert – Symphony no 3. Details of the theatre visit and other concert will be on this web site as soon as they are published.

SIGHTSEEING.

We explore downtown Victoria including the famous Empress Hotel where we have dinner one evening.

An extensive and most interesting guided tour of colourful Chinatown one of the oldest and most extensive in North America.

A visit to the fascinating Royal British Columbia Museum and some amazing films at the National Geographic IMAX Cinema.

An afternoon in the world renowned Butchart Gardens over 100 years old. At this time of year the maples and other trees are a blaze of red, russet and gold. You can enjoy an English Afternoon Tea in the restaurant.

A walk around the artist’s studios and Antique Row, with time to visit the Inner Harbour and Fisherman’s Wharf.

A full day excursion on Vancouver Island driving through some spectacular coastal scenery with colourful Autumn/Fall colours to visit a winery for a guided vineyard tour, wine tasting and lunch. Then to Chemainus, a quaint and most unusual seaside village with a world-famous outdoor gallery of murals and sculptures showing the history of this fascinating area.

We go to see the romantic Craigdarroch Castle with its four floors of exquisite stained glass and Victorian furnishings – a glimpse into the lifestyles of the wealthy in the second half of the 1800s. This is followed by a visit to the nearby gardens of Government House and the Art Gallery.
You will have some free time with the option of whale watching so famous in this area, salmon fishing, visiting a nature sanctuary or spending time relaxing in the hotel’s magnificent gardens.

We have been asked about other attractions in the area by people who will be coming from as far away as Europe, Australia and Japan and wish to prolong their stay. We suggest Vancouver, Banff and Lake Louise in B.C. while Seattle in the USA is a short ferry ride away.

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