About Fort Canning ParkThe Fort Canning Park, situated atop a hill in the Civic and Cultural District of Singapore, is a popular recreational, educational and historical spot. This place was once the headquarters of the British Army Barracks and Far-East Command Centre. Some iconic historical decisions have been made on the Fort Canning Hill, including the one to surrender Singapore to the Japanese in 1942.
The reason for its popularity during ancient and medieval periods was its elevation. It is within walking distance of Downtown Core, the main commercial center of Singapore.The Fort Canning Park is known for its lush green lawns that sprawl over an area of 18 hectares. There are trails amidst the sweeping greenery which lead to various points of entertainment throughout the park. A total of nine historical gardens make up this place. They are:
- The Pancur Larangan
- The Artisan's Garden
- The Sang Nila Utama Garden
- The Jubilee Park (phase I)
- The Raffles Garden
- First Botanic Garden
- The Farquhar Garden
- The Spice Garden
- The Armenian Street Park
If you are looking to spend some time getting acquainted with Singapore's culture and history, visiting this place will be a treat. Even if you are looking to spend some time in solitude, you will enjoy the peace around this area. Its large size makes it peaceful even when a lot of tourists frequent this area. The Fort Canning Hill is also home to the Fort Canning Reservoir, which was built in 1929 over demolished forts. This reservoir is not open for public access.
Location: River Valley Road, Singapore, 179037
Timings: The Park is open 24 hours a day on all days of the week.
Events at Fort Canning Park
The Fort Canning Park hosts several social events like enactments of Shakespeare's plays, ballet recitals, receptions, weddings, gatherings, theatre carnivals, food and music festivals, and official conferences. A notable ballet event held here is Ballet Under the Stars performance. Starlight Cinema is another unique event organized at the Park. Some of the most frequent events include international movies' screenings, medical and government conferences, awareness campaigns, social drives, and local competitions.
Occasionally, art workshops and fitness training drives are also organized at this place. Visitors can sometimes witness art exhibitions featuring works by local and international artists. The Singapore Bicentennial is celebrated at the Fort Canning Park from June to September 2019. This event marks 200 years of Singapore's founding and is a magnificent attraction for both locals and tourists visiting Singapore during this season.
While most of the events organized here are open to everyone, some of them require tickets. Private events, such as weddings and receptions, require invitations.For a truly magnificent view of the lit-up Fort Canning Park, visit it in the evening.
Things to Do at Fort Canning Park
For every visitor, Fort Canning Park offers a plethora of entertainment options. Some include:
1. Walk Along a Trail: Beautiful trails showcasing nature’s magic dot the Fort Canning Park. If you are looking to spend some time with the local flora of Singapore, taking a slow walk down one of these trails will be an incredible choice. Each trail goes through different portions of the Fort Canning Park and is roughly 2.5 km long. These trails are shaded with trees that boast of Singapore's environment-friendly approach towards development.
2. Know Singapore's History: Fort Canning is Singapore's most important historical site. Everything from battles to agreements has happened here. If you are a history buff, visiting the historic landmarks inside the Park such as the Battle Box, Raffles Residence, James Brooke Napier Memorial, Sally Port, and the Fort Canning Green can be an educative experience. Keramat Iskandar Shah is another historical monument worth your time. It is sacred and was built in the honour of the last non-Siamese ruler of Singapore. You can visit the Armenian Street Park if you want to enjoy the local flora. The plants here are displayed in tiny planter boxes representing the Peranakan culture.
3. Witness an Event: No matter where your interests lie, there will be something at this Park that floats your boat whenever you visit. You can buy tickets to an international music concert, witness a mesmerizing ballet performance, or watch a film screening with movie-admirers. If you are feeling exceptionally competitive, you can participate in one of the numerous art, music and food competitions organized here. To explore Singapore's local cuisine, visit a food festival. A fun way to relax in this park is to witness a music festival. These festivals usually showcase local artists and can be a treat to your ears.
4. Singapore River Cruise: At the River Valley Road, you can enjoy a river cruise that provides you with a breathtaking view of Singapore's incredible skyline. These cruises can be private or group-based, depending on your preference.
5. Organize a Party: You can organize a bonfire or a barbeque party at the Fort Canning Park. All you need is prior approval from the Park authorities and a fun spirit, and you are good to go. If you are organizing an event that requires the presence of fire, follow all fire safety rules.
6. Spend Time Exploring a Garden: You may explore any one of the 9 historical gardens located within the Fort Canning Park. The Botanical Garden holds the record for being Singapore's first botanical park. The ASEAN sculpture garden offers insight into Singapore's international relations with the world. Other gardens have their specialties too. You must make time to visit them if you are a learner at heart.
Hotels Near Fort Canning Park
The top hotels near Fort Canning Park are:
1. Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay: This hotel offers a range of amenities including free Wi-Fi, an indoor swimming pool, a gym, a daily breakfast buffet, and a bar. Suites here have whirlpool baths. You can also avail of airport transportation.
Location: 177A River Valley Road, Singapore, 179031
2. Swissotel Merchant Court Singapore: Amenities at this hotel include free Wi-Fi, a spa, an outdoor pool, a fitness center, a restaurant, and a banquet room. This hotel has two restaurants, one of which is located poolside.
Location: 20 Merchant Road, Near Clarke Quay MRT Station, Singapore 058281.
3. Park Hotel Clarke Quay: This hotel offers free Wi-Fi, a gym, airport transportation service, minibar, and in-room refrigerator. Its outdoor pool has a swanky poolside bar and grill.
Location: 1 Unity Street, Singapore 237983.
4. Jayleen Clarke Quay Hotel: This 3-star hotel offers services like free Wi-Fi, breakfast buffet, wheelchair access, and a self-serve laundry facility. This hotel is ideal for those looking to enjoy Singapore’s vibrant nightlife.
Location: 25 New Bridge Road Jayleen Clarke Quay Hotel, Singapore 059390, Singapore
5. Hotel Fort Canning: Amenities here include 2 outdoor pools, free Wi-Fi, a business conference room, a fitness center, a spa, and a restaurant. If you want to stay right inside the Park premises, you should choose this hotel.
Location: 11 Canning Walk Hotel Fort Canning, Singapore 178881, Singapore
Restaurants Near Fort Canning Park
Since Fort Canning Park is a popular tourist destination, you can enjoy a wide range of cuisines at restaurants near the Park. Some of the most favoured restaurants here are:
1. Spice World Hot Pot: For an authentic taste of Chinese cuisine, do not forget to visit this restaurant. It brings you the spicy cuisine of the Sichuan province of China in the heart of Singapore.
Must-try: Barbie Doll Wagyu Beef slices and Teddy Bear Spicy Broth
Location: 3B River Valley Road, 179021
2. Bistecca Tuscan Steakhouse: This restaurant offers a taste of Italian cuisine. If you love meat and wine, this place is your heaven.
Must-try: F1 Australian Black Wagyu
Location: 26 Mohamed Sultan Road, 238970
3. Wine Connection Tapas Bar & Bistro (Robertson Walk): For wine connoisseurs, visiting this place is a must. You can enjoy a perfect tenderloin, rib eye or a salad. This place offers dishes from a variety of western cuisines, and you're sure to love them all!
Must-try: Steak Tenderloin.
Location: Robertson Walk, 11 Unity Street, 237995
Best Time to Visit Fort Canning Park
The best season to visit Singapore is spring. You can visit between February and April for a pleasant experience. Fort Canning Park is open 24 hours a day on all days of the week. Depending on the type of experience you are seeking, you may visit during the day or at night.
Tips for Visiting Fort Canning Park
- Always wear comfortable shoes when you are visiting the Park. Wearing sneakers or flats will help you walk comfortably along the trails and on the grass.
- Wear clothes that are light and breezy, especially if you are visiting during summer months. For spring, wear light clothes during the day as long as you have a jacket for the evening.
- Carry a camera with you to capture the picturesque Park. You will love to take pictures of the lush trails and the historical monuments located in Fort Canning Park.
- Follow the signs guiding you through each trail. These will help you in finishing your walk effortlessly and will prevent you from getting lost.
- Check the events that are being organized at the Park a bit in advance. This will help you decide what events you want to be a part of before getting there.
- Download a map of the park from the Nparks website. In case you are a tourist, you will not have to spend your time asking everyone about the trails.
How to Reach Fort Canning Park from Airport?
The easiest way to reach Fort Canning Park is through the metro. Take a metro train from Singapore Changi Airport Station to the Fort Canning Station, the Clarke Quay Station or the Dhobi Ghaut Station.
- If you exit at Fort Canning Station or the Dhoby Ghaut station, take exit B.
- For exit at the Clarke Quay Station, take Exit E.
- The Park is a very short walk from all these metro stations.
- You may also take a cab from the airport to this Park.
Q1. What is the history of Fort Canning Park?
Fort Canning was the commercial center for ancient Singapura in the 14th century. After an attack by Siamese, the fort was abandoned. It was also known as the Government Hill, the Singapore Hill and the Bukit Larangan. The Malays believed the hill to be haunted and did not frequent it. People believe that the hill once housed a palace, but there has been little archaeological evidence supporting that. A spring once existed at the western end of the hill and was used by women to bathe.
Fort Canning Hill later became a point of great importance during British Settlement. Lord Raffles built his residence there, which still exists in the name of Raffles' House. This was used as an important point of political and diplomatic meetings by governors and lords during the British settlement period. In 1822, Lord Raffles also established the Botanical Garden at the Fort Canning Hill. This was a first for the city-state.
By 1859, the hill was being used for military purposes and housed the headquarters for the British Army Barracks. The Battle Box is a symbol of the military history of the hill. The Fort Canning Reservoir was also constructed on the hill in 1927. The Hill was finally handed over to the Singapore Army by the British in 1963. The Park came to exist only in 1972 and was named Central Park at the time.
Q2. Is Fort Canning Park suitable for toddlers?
Fort Canning Park is a family-friendly destination. Toddlers can comfortably roam around in the park and enjoy occasional events as long as an adult accompanies them. Parents can also take their toddlers to Jubilee park. The entire family can also enjoy hikes on various trails dotting the nine gardens present inside the Park. Adults should accompany children on these hikes because the trails are long and sometimes complex.
Q3. Can I take food inside the Park?
You can carry food, water, and other beverages inside the park at all times. You may pack a picnic basket for the entire family or take a tiffin box for yourself. Drinking alcohol in public is not allowed in Singapore between 10:30 p.m. and .7 a.m. If you want to carry alcohol into the park, make sure you finish drinking it before 10:30 p.m. If you are unable to do so, you may dump it in a trashcan along with the bottle/can.
Q4. Tell me about hiking and walk-in Fort Canning Park.
There are a total of 9 gardens in the Park with trails connecting them to other areas of Fort Canning. These trails are well shaded by trees and have been designed to adapt to different types of visitors. Trails are typically 2.5 km long, dotted with signs that guide the hikers. Historical highlights like cupolas, the Fort Canning Centre and the Christian cemetery that fall along the way are also perks for hikers. Hikers can have a taste of Singapore's rich heritage, tradition, and culture when they hike on these trails.
Various trails will lead you to different historical monuments within the Park. Download DIY maps of the trail from different websites. These will help you enjoy your hike without getting lost.To make your hike comfortable, visit during the day and wear comfortable shoes. You must also carry insect repellent body-sprays to ensure that you aren't bothered by fleas or mosquitos.
Q5. Are there nursing rooms and baby centres within Fort Canning Park?
There are plenty of nursing rooms on Orchard Street. This street overlooks the Fort Canning Park. Baby Centers do not exist within the Park, but there are places where you can relax with your toddler during your visit. Jubilee Park is a kids' playground and is family-friendly.
Q6. What are the things that I should carry to the Park?
Whenever you visit the park, you must carry a few items with you. These include
- Towels and Handkerchiefs
- Snacks such as chips or fries, candy, and biscuits
- A water bottle
- Insect-repellent body spray
- A small bag
If you are travelling with kids, carry an extra pair of clothes, additional drinks and food, an umbrella and anything else that your child might need. There are plenty of eating options near the park. A few restaurants are located within the park as well. These offer cuisines of all kinds. You do not need to carry full meals unless you are planning a picnic.
Q7. Is there any locker facility available at the park?
Locker facility isn't available at the Park. Throughout Singapore, however, you will find plenty of locker facilities that keep your belongings secure. Near the park, you can check River Valley street or Orchard Street for locker facilities. The Park offers car parking, and you may leave unimportant belongings inside your car.
Q8. What are the restrictions for Fort Canning Park?
Fort Canning is a family-friendly park. It does not have specific restrictions in terms of carriage of items. You cannot carry items that can be used to incite violence inside the park. These include guns and other ammunition. Food and beverages have no restrictions. You cannot carry alcohol into the Park after 10:30 p.m. and before 7 a.m.
Q9. What are the safety measures for kids at the park?
Parents can accompany kids to all places located inside the park. The Park also has many security guards near all historical sites. The trails also have security guards and many places inside the park are under CCTV surveillance. The entire park is lit up at night and is free of wild animals. First Aid is available at all historical sites inside the park. Parents are advised to supervise their child at all times when they are on a hike.