With a mix of urbanity and country living, the Township of Langley is perfectly suited to a leisurely day of exploration.
I mean, who doesn’t love a day in the country, am I right?
Located just 45 minutes east of Vancouver, Langley features authentic farm experiences, beautiful natural trails and parks, excellent restaurants and wonderful shopping. Here’s how to plan a perfect, and perfectly delicious, day to trip to Langley, British Columbia.
Enjoy Breakfast at Saba Café & Bistro
Located in Fort Langley, Saba Café & Bistro is a family-run restaurant specializing in Mediterranean-inspired cuisine using local and seasonal ingredients. Owners Simone and Kiko started the company in 2008 after moving from Italy to White Rock, and then historic downtown Fort Langley.
“We fell in love with the idea of feeding people and getting to know them. This idea really captured me,” says Simone. “Now our goal is to marry the two concepts together – to bring community to us and build upon it.’
Saba’s extensive breakfast menu is filled with sweet and savoury favourites like challah french toast (baked in-house) with real maple syrup, shakshuka, fluffy egg frittatas, and charcuterie boards complete with local meats, cheeses and homemade preserves.
The Café’s airy courtyard is popular all day long, as Saba is also open for lunch, and dinners on weekends.
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Feel the history at Fort Langley
You can’t visit Langley without visiting the Fort Langley National Historic Site. After all, this is where British Columbia was born 150 years ago. You can even touch the table where the colonial proclamation was signed in the Big House.
This former Hudson’s Bay Company fort was built in 1827 to expand the lucrative fur trade. The traders established good relations with the local Kwantlen First Nations, which were tested with the arrival of thousands of Americans during the 19th century Gold Rush. The British quickly ensured that British Columbia was protected through a colonial designation.
Visitors to the Fort Langley can take advantage of audio tours in multiple languages, fun and interactive pioneer activities like blacksmithing, coopering and First Nations weaving from red and yellow cedar bark strips.
Parks Canada maintains five reservable oTENTik sites for families to camp inside the Fort. It’s a great place to feel the history of British Columbia, as well as roast marshmallows in the communal fire pit.
Stop in at Ielam’ Arts & Culture Cafe, a Kwantlen First Nations cafe operated inside the Fort. Don’t miss their warm cinnamon buns, salmon sandwiches and fry bread fish tacos.
Walk and Shop in Fort Langley
The village of Fort Langley is a charming collection of western-style, two-storey buildings filled with independent local businesses, shops and restaurants.
The town doesn’t allow big or franchise businesses, so the shopping is local and independent. And really great. Check out Bella & Wren Boutique for great ladies, men’s and beauty products; Little White House for amazing curated housewares; and Floralista for gorgeous posies and floral arrangements designed by owner Alice de Crom and her team.
Other great shops include the Shopkeeper’s Cottage, The General Store, Refillery, Aimee B, Fort Finery (for artisanal crafts), the Fort Langley Village Antiques Mall, and Wendel’s Bookstore & Café.
Eat Lunch at Fortitude
Owner and chef Romy Prasad may have imported some big city tastes to Fort Langley when he opened Fortitude, but the locals and guests are certainly appreciative. Opened in 2017, the brightly light room features a menu that changes frequently with the seasons.
We enjoyed a delicious vegetarian Buddha Bowl, flavorful seafood risotto and a knockout beef burger on a brioche bun. Seriously, its was one of the best burgers we’ve ever had.
Walk along the Fort-to-Fort Trail
This lovely riverfront walking trail links the first historic site of the Hudson’s Bay Fort in Derby Reach Regional Park to the Fort Langley National Historic Site.
The trail winds along the Fraser River and is lined with native wildflowers and vegetation, offering scenic views of the river and Bedford Channel.
Go Wine Tasting at Backyard Winery
Yes, they are growing wine grapes along those winding country roads in Langley! The city actually has quite a few wineries, including Chaberton, Vista d’Oro, Glass House, and Backyard Winery.
Backyard has been producing award-winning wines since 2009. Enjoy tastings of bubbly Blanc de Noir Brut, Chardonnay, Viognier, CabFrancs and Merlots. Their covered patio is open year round to accommodate sipping al fresco.
Visit a Festival
Langley celebratesits country and harvest roots with regularity. The renowned Fort Langley Cranberry Festival takes places every October and brings tens of thousands of red berry enthusiasts to town to enjoy all things cranberry.
The Fraser Valley Wine Festival takes place in Langley in November, while Beer and Food is celebrated in May. The Jazz and Arts Festival brings music to Fort Langley in July.
Sip Spirits at Roots & Wings
Langley has a good crop of wineries, but there’s only one craft distillery in the city. Roots & Wings Distillery is the first craft distillery in the Fraser Valley, producing farm to bottle spirits using potatoes and corn grown on 12 acres of the family farm. Rebekah Crowley and her husband Rob opened the distillery in 2017, and the tasting lounge was licensed in April 2019.
Roots & Wings (RAW for short) distills nine different kinds of vodka, gin and whiskey for discerning tasters. Tastes includes delicate spirits as well as infused vodkas with roasted coffee beans, cranberries, horseradish, cinnamon, hops and honey.
Don’t miss tasting the Old Fashioned. Pre-mixed to pour straight onto ice, get it with a twist of orange and a local preserved cherry. Cheers!
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Disclosure: The writer thanks Tourism Langley for hosting her visit. As always, her opinions and love of Old Fashioneds are honest and her own.