18099
Victoria
Victorian Christmas at the Grand Empress
Celebrate Christmas at the Grand Empress Hotel, enjoying local traditions, choral performances, a lights display at Butchart Gardens and of course — Afternoon Tea at the Empress!
Rating (5)
Program No. 18099RJ
Length
5 days
Starts at
1,545
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5 days
4 nights
10 meals
4 B 2 L 4 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check In, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Victoria, BC
D
The Fairmont Empress Hotel

Activity note: Participants are encouraged to arrive a day or two before the program starts to be able to spend a little more time enjoying the city. The hotel offers reasonable rates on extra nights, and also on room upgrades.

Afternoon: Check in at the Fairmont Empress Hotel is any time after 4:00 p.m. If you arrive earlier the hotel will store your luggage and have it in your room when you check in. Meet your group leader in the Library between 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. to register and pick up your program packet.

Dinner: Dinner at the Fairmont Empress Hotel at 6:00 p.m. in one of its fine dining rooms to experience the finest in personal service and outstanding cuisine.

Evening: After dinner there will be an orientation to the program and introductions. This is a time to meet new friends and set the stage for the festivities!! Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

DAY
2
Christmas Traditions, Walk Victoria, Tea Talk, Carriage Ride
Victoria, BC
B,L,D
The Fairmont Empress Hotel

Activity note: You will be enjoying outdoor activities today. Please dress warmly for winter weather.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Discover Christmas traditions and learn about the fascinating ways Christmas was celebrated in Victoria, from the days of Fort Victoria to the present day. Following the presentation we embark on a walking excursion through Old Town, the historic heart of Victoria, where Christmas traditions and colorful stories abound. Hear true accounts of how Christmas was celebrated during the days of Fort Victoria and the gold-rush era. Many indoor locations are included, with places to sit. After the walking tour, you will have free time to explore the downtown of Victoria on your own, take in a visit to the Royal BC Museum with its excellent displays.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: A presentation will explore The History and Tradition of Afternoon Tea. Learn the rich background of the tradition of Afternoon Tea during a special presentation this afternoon. The time honored tradition will be explained as well as an explanation of the tea trade throughout the world, and the various kinds of teas and their health benefits. There will be some free time to relax before dinner.

Dinner: Dinner at the Empress.

Evening: Enjoy a horse-drawn Christmas trolley ride in downtown Victoria and gain a historical view of what Christmas was like many years ago. Curl up in a warm blanket and take in all the holiday joy and sites. Return to the Tea Lobby for a Christmas Eve sing-along with seasonal, and old-time, favorites.

DAY
3
Afternoon Tea, Festive Christmas Dinner, Festival of Trees
Victoria, BC
B,L,D
The Fairmont Empress Hotel

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Embrace the sounds of Christmas carolers while making your way through the festive hallways; their magnificent voices ring out good cheer with traditional carols. Take a walk by the waterfront or enjoy Christmas morning Church services nearby. The historic Empress Hotel Library is a great location to enjoy a peaceful Christmas morning as well.

Lunch: Enjoy the Carol Afternoon Tea accompanied by live choral performances. At the world renowned tea lobby of The Fairmont Empress, enjoy an array of gourmet finger sandwiches, delicate pastries and sip the original blend of "The Empress Tea". Sit back and relax as you listen to traditional Christmas performances. The Empress Tearoom, with its handcrafted tapestries, lovely moldings and polished, hard wood floors, is truly an exceptional experience for everyone!

Afternoon: Free afternoon. Enjoy some time with new friends or stroll through the Empress and enjoy the festivities.

Dinner: Savor a festive five course buffet, Empress style in the magnificent Crystal Ballroom, decorated like a winter wonderland. Live entertainment and carolers accompany the event. In appreciation of this special occasion, this event has a semi-formal dress code with a jacket and tie requested for gentlemen; women typically wear short or long, cocktail-style dresses or pantsuits.

Evening: Following dinner, the Crystal Ballroom comes alive with revelry. As well, the adjoining Tea Lobby is a cozy place to enjoy the view of the Inner Harbor to watch the lights on the yachts as they bob in the water. This is also a great time to stroll through the grand halls of the Empress Hotel to view the spectacular Festival of Trees, a collection of decorated trees benefiting BC's Children's Hospital.

DAY
4
Free Time, Royal BC Museum, Butchart Gardens
Victoria, BC
B,D
The Fairmont Empress Hotel

Activity note: You will be enjoying outdoor activities today. Please dress warmly for winter weather.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Free morning to explore Victoria on your own.

Lunch: Lunch on your own.

Afternoon: Visit the Royal British Columbia Museum and Art Gallery. Through unique galleries, the Museum showcases the human and natural history of British Columbia and temporary exhibits from other countries and cultures. Authentic artifacts and specimens are displayed in highly realistic settings, giving visitors the experience of another time and place. Researchers at the Museum, throughout British Columbia, and around the world use its collections to reveal new insights into the natural world and human cultures of British Columbia. This museum visit will be self-guided, so participants are able to enjoy the galleries of their individual tastes. Then we depart for the renowned Butchart Gardens which boasts fifty-five acres of wonderful floral display, meandering paths and expansive lawns. Truly one of the loveliest corners in the world, the gardens are always in season. They are particularly intriguing during the holiday season, when tens of thousands of colored lights combine with evergreen swags and wreaths of holly and winter berries to line walkways and festoon lamp posts in the gardens. The ever-popular Twelve Days of Christmas displays are tucked away within The Gardens and a recreational skating rink creates a truly spectacular winter wonderland.

Dinner: Dinner at Butchart Gardens.

DAY
5
Program Concludes
Victoria, BC
B

Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel is served at 8:00 a.m.

Morning: Program ends after breakfast. Check-out time is 11:00 am. Departures as per individual travel plans. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.