(Image / rrupresident Twitter)

The beautiful and historic Hatley Park Gardens located at Royal Roads University is now free for public use, according to an announcement made by the university today.

The 10-acre heritage gardens are tucked in between the 101-year-old Hatley Castle and the biologically-rich Esquimalt Lagoon.

According to the university, tens of thousands of people visit the garden each year and the attraction frequently appears on ‘top places to visit in Victoria’ each year.

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“The vast majority of the 565 acres of oceanfront, walking trails and old-growth forest that comprise Hatley Park National Historic Site have always been free for our neighbours and tourists to enjoy,” said Royal Roads University President Phillip Steenkamp. “Now the gates to the garden are open as well.”

“It’s a magnificent setting for people who learn, teach and work here. I’m delighted that more of our community will now get to enjoy the artistry of the gardeners and groundskeepers who care for our botanical and historical treasures.”

Hatley Park Gardens boast nearly 1,500 different plants, an estimated 1000-year-old Douglas fir tree, a still-surviving original Rose Garden, a Japanese Garden section featuring a gazebo and lake, views of the Olympic Mountains, and more.

Besides the open entry into the park grounds, guided tours of the garden and castle are still available for a charge.