Hatley Park

Italian Garden flowers and loggia

Tours of Hatley Park

You and a guest can join any of our seasonal guided tours of Hatley Park, a National Historic Site, from April through September for free.

Explore the Edwardian estate, spanning 565 oceanfront acres with a view of the Olympic Mountains and Juan de Fuca Strait.

The estate also contains elements that reflect Royal Roads University's history as a military college.

Japanese garden pond and bridge


As staff and faculty, you also receive complimentary year-round access to the Hatley Park gardens.

The park is populated by Japanese, Italian and rose gardens with 15 kilometres of walking and hiking trails through an old-growth forest, a protected migratory bird sanctuary and a historic First Nations site.

Access the formal gardens through the garden booth from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Dogs are now allowed in gated areas.

You can join a daily tour during our peak season from May to September by showing your ID card at the garden booth.

Outside peak season, staff can contact Human Resources to join a new employee tour.

The gardens are open to the public for free.

Note: Restrictions may apply. Photoshoots are not permitted at this time.

Hatley Castle at sunset

Inside Hatley Castle

As staff and faculty, you can also tour the inside of Hatley Castle, located within Hatley Park National Historic Site. The castle is a federal heritage building and since 1995 has been used for Royal Roads University.

In 1908, a prominent architect, Samuel Maclure, was hired by James and Laura Dunsmuir to design their family retirement home, Hatley Castle. James Dunsmuir wanted the exterior to look like a medieval castle, a place where he could fish, hunt and farm. Laura Dunsmuir wanted the interior to be like Government House, where she could entertain family and staff.

They moved in on May 1, 1910, then the largest private residence on the West Coast.

Note: Hatley Castle remains closed at this time.

Archival photo from RRU Military College


You can access the RRU museum through our guided walking estate tours from May to September.

The museum shares historical stories about the Songhees and Esquimalt families, who have stewarded this land for thousands of years, as well as information about the early industrial development of the property.

Dunsmuir Room

Inside the museum's Dunsmuir Room you'll find artifacts from the Dunsmuirs' family life, the history of the castle and gardens, as well as stories about staff and labourers who lived and worked on the estate.

Rear Admiral John A. Charles Room

In the Rear Admiral John A. Charles Room, named in honour of the founder of the Friends of Hatley Park Society, you'll find class photos for each Royal Roads Military College class, as well as cadet uniforms, trophies, historical photographs and documents, and equipment used by the Military College.