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History and natural beauty meet at this tranquil, seaside garden oasis.
Milner Gardens and Woodland is a garden-lovers paradise. This 70-acre seaside property with a 10-acre garden, is filled with trails and plantings featuring the colourful bounty of the seasons. The property is perched on the edge of a bluff that looks out to the expansive Strait of Georgia. On a clear day, visitors can see beyond the strait to the mountains of mainland British Columbia.
The Milner Gardens and Woodland hosts many events throughout the year, including an impressive annual winter holiday display with lights and music. Learn more about visiting Milner Gardens and Woodland, one of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region’s "Amazing Places," below:
Follow the path as it circles the property, winding through formal gardens, open green lawns, and past the historic Milner House and buildings. Marvel at the stands of old-growth Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, and Grand Fir and look out at the sparkling Strait of Georgia. This magical setting provides a unique backdrop for the riotous colours and shapes of the gardens.
The garden is known for its Greig Rhododendron Species Garden, featuring more than 500 varieties of rhododendrons. Visitors will also enjoy the fragrant varieties of honeysuckle, hostas, camellias, cyclamen, trilliums, and hydrangeas. There’s also a small orchard, berry bushes, and a vegetable garden on the property. As you tour the gardens, keep your eyes open for Bald Eagles circling above and the songbirds, who make their home in the garden, including purple finches and wrens.
Constructed in 1931 for General Noel Money, the Milner House was inspired by Ceylonese tea plantation homes and any of the first floor rooms open directly onto the gardens. Horatio "Ray" Milner purchased the estate in 1937, and when he passed away in 1975, his second wife, Veronica Milner, maintained the home. Veronica Milner had familial ties to the British aristocracy and famously hosted several royal guests at the estate, including Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, Prince Charles and Princess Diana!
The Milner House is open to the public and wheelchair accessible. Guests may tour through many rooms, including the dining room, sitting room, library, and drawing room and see photographs and artifacts commemorating the royal visits.
Have tea in the same home that once hosted the Queen of England! Delight in daily afternoon tea service, with fresh-baked pastries and jam made from the fruit grown on site. You may drop in for daily tea or make advanced reservations for a full high-tea experience.
The Pool House Gift Shop offers gifts, books, and souvenirs for your home and garden plus coffee, tea, and snacks to enjoy on the pool’s lovely patio. The nearby nursery hosts regular plant sales, with expert master gardeners to help you select and care for your new specimens.
Milner Gardens and Woodland offers its Shoots with Roots educational programming including school programs, day camps, and outdoor learning activities for your little ones. Find out about upcoming opportunities and events where your kids can grow their love of the natural world.
Milner Gardens and Woodland hosts seasonal events and special programming throughout the year, including a Bunny Trail in honour of Easter, seasonal plant sales, and more.
One of Milner Gardens and Woodland’s most popular special events — and one of Parksville Qualicum Beach’s signature winter experiences — is the annual Milner Christmas Magic, which fills the grounds with twinkling holiday lights and seasonal activities. Open on select dates throughout December, this festive, family-friendly event features over half a kilometre of pathways illuminated by holiday lights, a Gingerbread Cottage Gift Shop, photo opportunities with Santa’s Sleigh, seasonal window displays at the Gardener’s Cottage and Milner House, as well as seasonal food and beverages at the outdoor refreshment stand.
Milner Gardens and Woodland is located at 2179 West Island Highway in northwest Qualicum Beach, near Eaglecrest Golf Club and Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Club. Visitors will find that Milner Gardens and Woodland is just a short, 9-minute drive from Parksville and is conveniently located just 5 minutes from the shops, restaurants and hotels of walkable Qualicum Beach. For those arriving to Vancouver Island by ferry, it takes approximately 40 minutes to reach Milner Garden and Woodlands from the BC Ferries Departure Bay terminal located in Nanaimo.
The Gardens and Woodland are open for visitors beginning in February and through October. Visitors are welcome on Fridays and Saturdays in the spring, Thursdays through Sundays in the summer and early fall, and Fridays and Saturdays in October. The Gardens and Woodland are closed each November and January, but are open in December for Milner Christmas Magic. For the latest information on hours, click here.
Admission for adult and youth guests varies seasonally, however admission is free for children ages 12 and under, as well as members and VIU students. For the latest admission prices, click here.
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