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Ottawa holidays are perfect if you are seeking a heavy dose of Canadian culture in some of the world’s top museums. You can wander the stately streets of Parliament Hill, shop at bustling ByWard Market, and cruise along the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Canada’s majestic capital Ottawa really does have it all. The city boasts a blend of Canadian and French history as well as multi-cultural districts like Chinatown and Little Italy. Start your trip in Parliament Hill, which is perched above the river and lined with impressive buildings complete with spires and clock towers. During the summer, you can watch the changing of the guard and nightly light-show on the hill. If it’s a warm day, why not cycle or walk alongside the Rideau Canal? If you’re choosing to visit in the winter then you might want to get your skates on - literally - as this stretch transforms into the world’s longest ice skating rink. If you love history will find plenty to interest you here, as Ottawa is home to seven of Canada’s nine national museums. There are dozens of famous landmarks to explore too, including the National Gallery, Canadian Mint, the Museum of History, and Sussex Drive, one of the city's major ceremonial and institutional streets and home to the Candian Prime Minister.

Holidays in Ottawa, Canada: a cultural delight

No trip to Ottawa would be complete without visiting ByWard Market, the heart of the city’s restaurant and bar scene. Shop at the farmer’s market, try some Canadian dishes like poutine and BeaverTails, peruse local crafts, and soak up the carnival atmosphere.
Stay at one of Ottawa’s best hotels, many of which are located in ancient buildings. The Fairmont Château Laurier is set in a turreted, French-Gothic building by the canal, while the Lord Elgin Hotel near Parliament Hill dates back to the 1940s. More modern hotels in the central area include the Westin Ottawa and Delta Ottawa City Centre.

Want to discover more of Canada? Then head out of the capital to visit Ontario’s spectacular national parks like Bruce Peninsula and Georgian Bay, where you can cruise the Thirty Thousand Islands. Spot black bears and moose in Algonquin Provincial Park and visit the Muskoka region for trekking, dog sledding and kayaking. Our Eastern Journey tour takes in all of Canada’s major east coast cities, including Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, as well as the mighty Niagara Falls. To experience both Canada’s urban hubs and its striking wilderness, our Canadian Contrasts tour includes both the west coast cities, as well as Banff National Park with its snow-capped peaks, lakes and glaciers.

Destination Highlights

  • Float along the UNESCO-listed Rideau Canal for views of Parliament Hill, or ice skate along its frozen surface in winter
  • Marvel at the grand Victorian and Neo-Gothic buildings in Parliament Hill, including Peace Tower, Confederation Building, and Library of Parliament
  • Visit Ottawa’s world-class museums and galleries. Highlights include the Canadian Museum of Nature, the War Museum, and the National Gallery
  • Shop at vibrant ByWard Market for art and craft stalls, local food, fashion, a farmer’s market and street entertainment

Great sample itineraries


Browse our selection of Ottawa tours. From east coast city gems and crashing Niagara Falls to west coast favourites like Vancouver, Calgary and stunning Banff National Park, you can tailor these to your heart’s content with our specialist experts.

Parc Jean Drapeau

Eastern Journey Canada Tour

  • 8 Days
  • Guide Price £1,699 PP
This tour of eastern Canada begins and ends in the lively and cosmopolitan Toronto, taking in vibrant capital city of...
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Escorted tours holidays
Yellow Red Tulips Parliament Hill in distance

Montreal And Ottawa Holidays

  • 9 Days
  • Guide Price £1,199 PP
Introduce yourself to Eastern Canada’s lesser known gems, from the laid-back capital, Ottawa to romantic France with a North American...
View Multi Centre
Multi centre holidays
a body of water with a mountain in the background

Escorted Tour From East To West Canada

  • 15 Days
  • Guide Price £3,399 PP
Discover the wonders of Canada on our Canadian Contrasts tour, which entails a unique journey from the East to the...
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Adventure holidays
a train crossing a bridge over a body of water

Canada Road Trip Niagara Falls

  • 13 Days
  • Guide Price £2,199 PP
Your Canada Heritage Trail self drive begins in Toronto, Ontario’s capital city. The city is where you’ll find a variety...
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Self drive holidays

Explore Ottawa

Time Zone

GMT-5 Hours

Flight Time

Approx 7 hours; direct are available with Air Canada. Indirect options are available with United Airlines and American Airlines via the USA..

Currency

CAD - Canadian Dollars

Visa Information

Please ensure you have a valid electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) prior to your departure to Canada. Please check on the Canadian Embassy for all Visa FAQ’s.

Language

English, French

Health Info

No vaccinations required

As the Nation's capital, there is never a shortage of things to see and experience in Ottawa. From its incredible national museums to its scenic vistas and iconic sights, discover some of the very best that Ottawa has to offer below.

a close up of a horse drawn carriage in front of a building

Walking Gourmet Food Tour of Byward Market

Get to know Ottawa's vibrant culinary scene and discover hidden gems in the lively Byward Market area of the city. Discover a 'progressive dinner' experience, with four-course meal split across four different award-winning and famous restaurant whilst you soak up the eclectic atmosphere of the area as you stroll between each eatery.

Parliament Hill Center Block Peace Tower

Ottawa Historical Highlights Walking Tour

Enjoy a leisurely sightseeing tour with a private and knowledgeable guide, as they provide a captivating overview of the Capital and showcase its colourful history, political characters and iconic architecture. Explore the included stops at all of Ottawa's top sights, including Parliament Hill, The National War Memorial, The Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Sussex Drive, Byward Market and many more.

a man riding on the back of a bicycle

Ottawa City Cycling Tour

Take the opportunity to see and experience the fantastic history and diversity of Canada's capital in a way that is not possible on a tour bus or on foot. Explore Ottawa's most popular sights as you cycle from the picturesque vistas of the Rideau Canal and Ottawa River to iconic Parliament Hill and Quebec's breath taking Gatineau Hills.

a bridge over a body of water with a city in the background

Ottawa River Cruise

Cruise along the Ottawa River and see the sights of the Capital as well as the natural beauty and historical architecture of the surrounding area. Take in majestic views of Parliament Hills, Rideau Falls and the Prime Minister's residence, 24 Sussex. You'll be provided with fascinating commentary and insight on the development and rise of Ottawa as a city and how it became the seat of Canada's Government.

Best time to visit Ottawa

June to August is the best time to visit Ottawa, when temperatures range from 18°C to 22°C. The shoulder months of September and May dip down to between 14°C to 16°C. Visit Ottawa in winter for a magical, snowy adventure - the temperatures plunge to minus 10°C in January and February. Do pack a raincoat just in case - Ottawa experiences year round rainfall of 60 to 90mm a month.

Average Weather in January

Destination Destination Avg Temp Avg Temperature Avg Rainfall Avg Monthly Rainfall
Ottawa
-10° C
60 mm

Average Weather in February

Destination Destination Avg Temp Avg Temperature Avg Rainfall Avg Monthly Rainfall
Ottawa
-9° C
60 mm

Average Weather in March

Destination Destination Avg Temp Avg Temperature Avg Rainfall Avg Monthly Rainfall
Ottawa
-3° C
70 mm

Average Weather in April

Destination Destination Avg Temp Avg Temperature Avg Rainfall Avg Monthly Rainfall
Ottawa
6° C
80 mm

Average Weather in May

Destination Destination Avg Temp Avg Temperature Avg Rainfall Avg Monthly Rainfall
Ottawa
14° C
80 mm

Average Weather in June

Destination Destination Avg Temp Avg Temperature Avg Rainfall Avg Monthly Rainfall
Ottawa
18° C
80 mm

Average Weather in July

Destination Destination Avg Temp Avg Temperature Avg Rainfall Avg Monthly Rainfall
Ottawa
22° C
90 mm

Average Weather in August

Destination Destination Avg Temp Avg Temperature Avg Rainfall Avg Monthly Rainfall
Ottawa
20° C
90 mm

Average Weather in September

Destination Destination Avg Temp Avg Temperature Avg Rainfall Avg Monthly Rainfall
Ottawa
16° C
90 mm

Average Weather in October

Destination Destination Avg Temp Avg Temperature Avg Rainfall Avg Monthly Rainfall
Ottawa
9° C
90 mm

Average Weather in November

Destination Destination Avg Temp Avg Temperature Avg Rainfall Avg Monthly Rainfall
Ottawa
2° C
90 mm

Average Weather in December

Destination Destination Avg Temp Avg Temperature Avg Rainfall Avg Monthly Rainfall
Ottawa
-6° C
90 mm
Rachel, Destination Executive

“Hire a bike for a really easy way to explore Ottawa. I highly recommend riding alongside the beautiful Rideau Canal with its atmospheric views of the Parliament Hill buildings. In winter, ice skating along the canal is a special treat.”

Rachel
Destination Executive
Emma, Destination Manager

“One of our favourite restaurants in Ottawa is the Pelican Seafood Market and Grill with its inexpensive seafood. You can enjoy sustainably-sourced fresh fish, such as shrimp, lobster rolls, BBQ salmon and oysters.”

Emma
Destination Manager

Winterlude

Winterlude is one of Ottawa’s most iconic festivals. For three weekends during January and February, the city becomes a winter wonderland, with events centred around the frozen canal. Discover ice sculptures at Confederation Park, snow playgrounds, food and music. Be sure to catch the sporting events, which include speed skating and dog sledding.

Canadian Tulip Festival

Dating back to 1945, the Canadian Tulip Festival celebrates the coming of Spring, and is spread over 11 days at the start of May. The tradition began when the Dutch sent 100,000 tulips to honour Canadian soldiers who fought to liberate the Netherlands. This has since become the world’s largest tulip festival. Today, over a million tulips bloom alongside the Parliament, the canal and Dows Lake. You can enjoy concerts, parades, food, a Dutch stage, a craft show and fireworks.

BeaverTails

BeaverTails are a popular Canadian treat of fried wheat dough served with tasty toppings. The dough is stretched into the shape of a beaver’s tail to honour the country’s mascot and largest rodent. The BeaverTails chain operates across Canada and features inventive toppings, ranging from traditional cinnamon sugar to pecan pie and yummy banana hazelnut.

Poutine

Tuck into poutine, which has its origins in Quebec during the 1950s and has since been popularised around the world. Brown gravy is lovingly smothered onto french fries and cheese curds for this simple yet tasty comfort food.

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