Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Victoria BC

I´ve put together a short video of our travels in 2014. Great times with great people!

The minute we arrived at the English Inn, we felt like we were in England, without spending 9 hours on a transatlantic flight. The splendid manor house, the spacious well kept grounds, including a replica of an Elizabethan street and the cosy, charming rooms made this place a perfect get-away.

The English Inn, Victoria, BC

The English Inn, Victoria, BC

Inviting front entrance

Inviting front entrance

Elizabethan street

The Elizabethan street takes you to another place and time

The manor house comes with an interesting history. It was built in 1906 for a Yorkshire-born realtor and developer who brought over artisans from England and Scotland to work on the project.  Walking around the building, we noticed many fine details. Imagine the amazing parties that were held here over the years. Oh the stories these walls could tell.



The knowledgeable staff were very friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating. After a restful sleep in a most comfortable bed, we woke up to the aroma of fresh baked croissants wafting through the building. The complimentary breakfast, served in a bright room overlooking the patio and gardens, included these melt-in-your-mouth croissants. 

View from our bedroom on the third floor early in the morning

View from our 3rd floor bedroom early in the morning

bathroom door

Unique bathroom door

Stairway to our room

Stairway to our room

We enjoyed a number of walks  around the tranquil 5 acre property, discovering something new and unique at every turn. We visited in March so the gardens were just waking up from winter but were still very lovely. I can only imagine how fabulous they are in the summer.

Charming gazebo, perfect for weddiings

Charming gazebo, perfect for weddings

Quaint birdbaths are scattered around the gardens

Quaint birdbaths scattered throughout the gardens

A fountain straight from an English  novel.

A fountain straight from an English novel.

An interesting sign found in the Elizabethan street

An interesting sign found in a shop window on the Elizabethan street

There is plenty of places to wander, sit and read (or write) a book, paint a picture or just day dream in this fairytale-like environment. Should you wish to visit down town Victoria or the inner harbour, both are just minutes away. The lobby is bright and cheerful with a pleasant lounge to enjoy a drink and a fireplace where we shared a pot of tea before retiring.

I highly recommend this place, especially if you need a break from the modern, busy lifestyle many of us lead. It was perfect for a girlfriend get-away and would  be an ideal location for a wedding, family reunion or special event.

A perfect girlfriend get-away

A perfect place for a girlfriend get-away


Visit the website http://www.englishinn.ca/

English Inn is located at 429 Lampson Street 
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V9A5Y9
Central Reservations: 1.866.388.4353
Direct Line or to reach a guest: 1.250.388.4353
Fax: 1.250.382.8311
Email: res@englishinn.ca

I tend to celebrate my birthday the entire month of March, and sometimes longer. I have a very good friend from Calgary who also has a March birthday and we often try to meet some place different to celebrate our birthdays. This year we chose Victoria, the capital city of BC. It was a perfect choice as the cherry blossoms were out and the spring flowers were beginning to bloom.  We did some fun and unique things over the three days we spent together. Here is a summary.


We stayed at The English Inn, a unique historic site set on 5 acres with Tudor style buildings and amazing gardens. The main manor, which is the Inn, was built in 1906. It was the perfect setting for two women with active imaginations. I plan to write more about this wonderful establishment.


We enjoyed sampling the various ciders at Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse. A young staff member  treated us to a tour, explaining the process of making apple cider and showing us the certified organic apple orchard overlooking the sea.


Sampling ciders

Sampling various ciders

Apple orchard by the sea

Apple orchard by the sea

A thirty minute drive took us to the town of Sooke where we visited the Sooke Region Museum, had a refreshing walk down Wiffin Spit and stopped in at Sooke Harbour House, another historic building originally built in 1929 and filled with art and artefacts.

Triangle Island Lighthouse at Sooke Regional Museum

Triangle Island Lighthouse at Sooke Regional Museum



A comfy bench at Wiffin Spit

A comfy bench at Wiffin Spit

Driftwood octopus

Driftwood squid outside Sooke Harbour House

We participated in a self guided walking tour of Chinatown which we found fascinating.  The highlight was a visit to a Buddhist Temple located in a tall, thin building. After climbing 59 stairs, we were invited to burn incense and received a blessing. A very moving experience. There is so much history in that part of the city. The visit would not have been complete without a delicious meal at an authentic  Chinese restaurant.


Note the address of the Buddhist Temple

Note the address of the Buddhist Temple


Another interesting stop was at the Ross Bay Villa, an 1865 Historic House Museum. This wonderful find was slatted for demolition in 1999 but was saved  and restored by hard working volunteers who have brought it back to its original life. We were given a tour by a well informed volunteer and felt we had stepped back in time.

Ross Bay Villa

Ross Bay Villa

2014-03-22 15.46.43

Imagine how lovely this will be in full bloom. The tiles are exact replicas of the original tiles

There is so much to see and do in Victoria. We tried to do things off the beaten path. We had amazing meals, great conversation and lots of time for relaxing. As you can see, we both enjoy historical sites and especially old houses. It was the perfect get-away for good friends with similar interests.

Do you enjoy getting away with a friend from time to time?

“A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.”  Will Rogers

I set up my blog two years ago and I am so glad I did. I love blogging. The best thing about it for me,  is making new friends. Finding things in common with individuals from Newfoundland to New Zealand, West Virginia to Doha and everywhere in between has been an amazing experience. Blogging has shrunk the world for me and enriched my life. The downside is that I want to meet all these wonderful people who take the time to read my blog and make comments, and that is not always possible.

My dream of meeting a blogging buddy came true last weekend when I met Alison from See My Travels.  Alison is from Lincoln, England where she works as a journalist. She is also well travelled and blogs about her adventures. I first read her blog on A Hopeful Sign, where both of us have had articles published. I enjoyed her photographs and articles on England and Scotland very much. We soon decided to follow each other’s blogs, and when I read that she was planning a six-moth visit to Canada and the US, I got very excited. She arrived in Vancouver a couple of weeks ago and we arranged to meet for a coffee in Steveston.


Although we are from different countries and different generations, we found we had much in common and chatted away for two hours. It was so lovely to meet Alison in person. She is enjoying her visit to Canada very much and is blogging about it regularly. If you want to see some great pictures of my corner of the world visit http://www.seemytravels.com/2012/05/19/my-first-week-in-vancouver-why-i-love-this-city-already/

Alison left for Victoria, the capital of BC located on Vancouver Island, a few days later. I warned her she would fall in love with that city. Check here to see if she has.

I noticed A Hopeful Sign has recently posted another one of Alison’s articles. It is about the Medieval Bishops Place in Lincoln, her hometown. If you are like me, and love anything medieval, check it out.

Photo by Alison Sandilands

After meeting Alison, I hope to meet other blogging friends someday.

Would you like to meet the folks who follow your blog?

I had long since given up hope of being invited to tea at Buckingham Palace but recently I had an opportunity to do the next best thing – enjoy tea at The Empress Hotel in Victoria BC. The majestic Fairmont Empress Hotel, a landmark in Victoria, has been serving its renowned afternoon tea for over one hundred years to royalty, famous and not so well known individuals. I belong to the later.

Boarding a BC Ferry with a friend, we travelled from the lower mainland to Victoria, took a bus into the centre of town and arrived in time to partake of the legendary tea. It did not disappoint.

Before entering the prestigious building we were greeted by a bronze sculpture of Victoria’s most cherished citizen, artist Emily Carr. Upon being seated in the elegant tea room, we were presented with fresh strawberries in a sherbet glass topped with whipped crème, while deciding on the perfect pot of tea. After much deliberation we chose Kea Lani Orange Pineapple, a refreshing aromatic herbal blend.

Soon after, a three-tiered china server arrived at our table with a variety of delicacies artfully displayed. We had difficulty deciding where to start. The selection of dainty sandwiches was amazing; cream cheese with crated carrots and ginger, smoked salmon pinwheels, mushroom pate crostini, egg salad croissants and mango curry chicken.

The pièce de résistance was the freshly baked scones with Devon cream and strawberry jam. This is a taste you tend to dream of later. The top plate held exquisite desserts, such as pink, brown and vanilla Battenberg squares, rose petal shortbreads, lemon curd and berry tarts, and my favourite – green tea cheesecakes trimmed in dark Belgium chocolate. We tried everything. As we relaxed over our tea, with a stunning view of the harbour and Queen Alexandra looking down from the mantel, we felt like royalty, or at least, like friends of royalty. We were certainly treated royally.

A commemorative box of Empress Tea was presented to each of us to take home as a reminder of our fabulous experience. It proved to be a lovely outing and an unforgettable treat.

There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea. ~Bernard-Paul Heroux


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