Fort Canning Park is full of hidden treasures that can have you spending the entire day exploring! However, for most people, Fort Canning is all about exercising, as it is a great place full of nature right in the heart of Singapore. So weekends are full of kids in the playground, families picnicking in places, and joggers alike.
But Fort Canning is a place full of history, tours, and things you wouldn’t expect in a central park in the middle of the city. From war tunnels to heritage sites, events to graveyards, it is full of many different things that will have you exploring the entire day.
Table of Contents
The Ultimate Guide To Fort Canning Park
History of Fort Canning Park
Fort Canning Park was renamed in 1860 after the Governor-General and first Viceroy of India – Viscount Charles John Canning. It was originally built sometime in the 14th century by the Royal Palace when it was part of Malaysia. However, when in 1819, when the British arrived, Sir Stamford Raffles built his home and became the residence of governors after that.
Sir Stamford began the development of the first Botanical garden in Singapore in 1822. However, it wasn’t until 1859 when the first Botanic garden moved to its present site.
The 1920s saw Fort Canning (hill) become an artillery fort and British army barracks. In addition, an underground bunker (which is still there today) was built, and the surrendering to the Japanese went down in history!
Today Fort Canning Park has created nine historical gardens for residents to enjoy. From Sang Nila Utama Garden to Jubliee Park, For Canning Park has it all.
How to get to Fort Canning Park via MRT
The address of Fort Canning Park: River Valley Road, Singapore, 179037
There are several entries to Fort Canning Park; there are a few MRT station options; these include the following :
Fort Canning Station
Clarke Quay Station
Dhoby Ghaut station
Fort Canning Tree Tunnel
The Fort Canning Tree Tunnel is known as one of the most instagrammable places in Singapore. With many brides lining up for a photo here on weekends. It is a great entry point to the park from the Dhoby Ghaut station entrance.
The Nine Gardens
Singapore’s First Botanic Garden
The “original” and First Botanic Garden, which was founded in 1822 at Fort Canning Park. However, now a new “first botanic garden’ is brought back to life and can be found at the foot of Fort Canning Hill and can be found between Fort Canning Hill and Bras Basah Road, where you will find five zones that include such things as forest fruits and coastal vegetation.
The Sang Nila Utama Garden
The Nila Utama Garden is named after Sri Tri Buana or Sang Nila Utama, the first ancient King of Singapore. When walking through this garden, you could be mistaken that you are walking through a garden in Indonesia with its Javanese split gates and South East Asian heritage carvings. The Sand Nila Utama Garden reflects Singapore’s history and is a great little place for that Instagram shot!
Pancur Larangan, or forbidden spring, is a replica of the bathing place for ladies of the ancient royal court during the 1300s. This bathing area was also the source of clean drinking water in the early 19th century; however, today, it is a beautiful, peaceful place to walk through.
Fort Cannings Spice Garden
In 1822 Sir Stamford Raffles (recognized as a naturalist, botanist, and zoologist) set up the first botanical garden in Fort Canning (previously known as Government Hill). This garden spice garden was inspired by his contribution to present-day Singapore.
This Fort canning green space is named after Major General William Farquhar, the true founder, and resident of Singapore. He was a well-known naturalist who painted the wildlife and nature he discovered.
The Raffles Garden is named after Sir Stamford Raffles, and here you will find the garden full of plants found during Raffles time, lighthouse, and time ball; not far from here, you will also find a replica of Raffles house.
The Artisans Garden is where you will find one of Singapore’s last archaeological dig sites. It is an exciting look into what the craftsmen’s workshops and living quarters would have been like in the 14th century.
You can not miss the roadside sign of Jubliee Park. The old King George V Jubilee Park has been restored to find a great little area to bring the kids. This playground has all the necessary fun equipment to keep the little ones amused (oh, and the big ones too!).
Armenian Street Park
The Armenian Street Park is classed as the connector between Fort Canning Park, Bras Basah, The Civic District, and Bugis. You will find it close to the Armenian church and the Peranakan Museum. Previously a lot of events were held here, such as the Singapore Night Festival.
Keramat Iskandar Shaha
Visit the oldest religious monument in Singapore: The sultan, Iskandar shah shrine, is dedicated to the last king of Singapura and the first Sultan of Malacca Sultanate.
Fort Cannings Cemetery
Although you can no longer see most of the cemetery itself as it is buried beneath the lawns of Fort Canning Park, you find a few graves, but most headstones are now built into the brick wall.
Fort Canning Centre
Constructed initially as a British Army Barracks in 1926 and is perched upon the Fort Canning hill. Later converted into squash courts and offices and then a place for the arts, It is currently closed to the public. However, it is the starting point for the Colonial History Trail.
We all know that Fort Canning Park is full of history, but did you know you can walk through the original bunkers at Battle Box? Built in 1936, and is a vital part of Singapore’s WWII history as it became the east command centre. Book a guided tour online here at Battle Box
Colonial History Trail
Take the Colonial History Trail in Fort Canning Park, where you start at Fort Canning park Centre and end at Stamford Green – 19th-century Gateway to Fort Canning Park. If you want a detailed map of the history trail, click here.
Place in Fort Canning you can book for events are:
Tiong Bahru bakery
The newly opened Tiong Bahru Bakery is an exciting addition to Fort Canning. There is a choice of indoor and outdoor eating areas and has all the usual delicious foods this franchise is known for in Singapore. Found at 70 River Valley Rd, #01-05, Singapore 179037, open daily from 7:30 am to 7:00 pm
Hotel Fort Canning
After a long day of exploring Fort Canning Park, why not top it off with a staycation at Fort Canning Hotel? This beautiful colonial hotel is located right in the heart of Fort Canning Park, surrounded by beautiful nature, especially around the pool area. So book into the spa, relax by the pool or enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope this post has given you the information you need. If you have any recommendations, tips or advice, I would love for you to share them in the comment section below!
Other things you need to know
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I/we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my/our full disclosure for further information.
Pin it for later!