Fort Canning Park is an iconic park and home to many events of historical importance to Singapore. A beautiful park, it comprises of nine historical gardens.
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Fort Canning Park Singapore Overview
Fort Canning Park is one of Singapore’s most historic landmarks, and also one of the most famous parks in Singapore.
Lots of celebrations and events are held in Fort Canning Park of Singapore. Shakespeare in the Park, Ballet Under the Stars, Shakespeare in the Park, and Films at the Fort are just a few events that have taken place on its enormous, rolling lawns. Weddings, wedding photoshoot events, parties, and other social gatherings in Singapore are also frequently held at Fort Canning Park.
For history aficionados, Fort Canning Park’s ancient artifacts are a must-see, and its lush vegetation and wide grounds offer a variety of cultural, historical, and natural experiences. Singapore’s Fort Canning Park has much to offer, whether you are drawn to it by the old artifacts within Fort Canning Park and its rich history or just its calm.
Fort Canning Park has a long history in Singapore. Many of Singapore’s historical turning points have been witnessed by Fort Canning Park, a famous hilltop landmark. Fort Canning hill originally housed the palaces of kings from the fourteenth century as well as the Far East Command Center’s and British Army Barracks’ administrative centers. On the hill, at the Underground Far East Command Center, more formally known as Battle Box, was also where the decision was made to hand over Singapore to the Japanese on February 15, 1942.
Fort Canning Park opening hours are 24 hours daily, and is never closed.
Fort Canning Park map
Here is a map of Singapore’s Fort Canning park.
Things to do at Fort Canning Park (or visit)
There are many different things to do at Fort Canning Park and there are also many different gardens you can visit within its premises. The Pancur Larangan, Artisan’s Garden, Sang Nila Utama Garden, Jubilee Park (Phase 1), Raffles Garden, First Botanic Garden, Farquhar Garden, Spice Garden, and Armenian Street Park are among the nine ancient gardens that are still present in Fort Canning Park today.
Visit the Battlebox and learn about Fort Canning Park’s history
Visit the Battlebox located at Fort Canning Park of Singapore. Battlebox or Battle Box was a British command post constructed by Malaya Command in the 1930s and located 9 metres belowground level. Battlebox was a component of the army’s command center that guarded Singapore during World War II. Additionally, it was the location of Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival’s crucial decision to hand over Singapore to the Japanese on February 15, 1942.
Visit the famous spiral staircase photo spot at Fort Canning Park Tree Tunnel
Fort Canning Park offers lots of fantastic photo options, especially for those in Singapore who enjoy the outdoors. The best and most well-known photo spot within Fort Canning Park, however, is the spiral staircase which leads to a tunnel linking to Dhoby Ghaut, with greenery views from the bottom of spiral stairs. This is why this spiral staircase at Fort Canning Park is also called the Tree Tunnel. Many people in Singapore enjoy perching at the middle of the stairs because, when viewed from below, the spiral staircase’s rim creates a beautiful round frame for the sky and tree branches above.
Have a local staycation at Hotel Fort Canning
One of the most romantic and luxurious hotels in Singapore set in a serene and calm environment (Fort Canning Park), Hotel Fort Canning is a popular location for wedding photoshoot events, staycations, and dining between couples in Singapore.
Check out the Fort Gate and Fort Wall at Fort Canning Park
With an extra moat surrounding it to discourage attackers, Fort Gate had a low, robust wall that could withstand artillery bombardment. What you see now is but a shadow of what it once was, but back then, it was the only thing separating Singapore from invasions from the sea.
Visit Fort Canning Centre
A cultural center inside Fort Canning Park called Fort Canning Centre will now take visitors on a tour of the natural history and history of Fort Canning in the fourteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. Before serving as an arts and cultural centre in Singapore, this building within Fort Canning Park was in the possession of the Malaya Command, the British army, and the Singapore Armed Forces.
First Botanic Garden
In order to help Singapore’s economy, the country’s first botanical and experimental garden was established in 1822 and covered 20 hectares. First Botanic Garden at Fort Canning Park concentrated on growing spices and commercial commodities. The First Botanic Garden once had approximately 600 nutmeg trees and 300 clove plants. Gambier, pepper, sugarcane, coffee, and tea were among some of the other crops grown. In 1829, The First Botanic Garden was abandoned.
Near its original location in Singapore, at the base of Fort Canning Park, First Botanic Garden has been restored. It includes the crops that were brought to Singapore during the early colonial era and extends into the streetscapes between the hill and Bras Basah Road.
The streetscape landscaping is divided into five zones:
- Latex and resin – Before rubber became a significant crop, local communities used a variety of latex and resin.
- Timber – In the garden in 1822, tree species with usable timber and bark were cultivated.
- Ornamental and fragrant trees – The first botanical garden was a well-liked tourist attraction and, at the time, Singapore’s equivalent of a leisure park.
- Forest fruits – The discovery of fruit plants on the hill, including durian, rambutan, and duku, indicates that agriculture was practiced before Raffles arrived, when fruit trees were normally planted in historic royal gardens.
- Coastal and riverine vegetation – In the past, vegetation grew beside the Stamford Canal in that region.
Major-General William Farquhar, the first British resident and Commandant of Singapore, was the inspiration behind the name Farquhar Garden of Fort Canning Park. Farquhar collected natural history drawings of the unusual wildlife he saw in the Malay Peninsula. Visitors to Fort Canning Park’s Farquhar Garden are welcome to study and engage with some of the species that Farquhar thought were notable in this garden through “living paintings” in enormous frames.
Pancur Larangan (or the Forbidden Spring)
The hillside of Fort Canning Park used to have a freshwater spring. Due to its use as a bathing location by the noble women of Singapura’s royal court, it was formerly known as Pancur Larangan, or the “Forbidden Spring”. This ancient spa had been recreated in Javanese design from the fourteenth century.
The mural wall in this garden, which was commissioned by the owner and designed by Mr. Eng Siak Loy, depicts life in Fort Canning Park from the 14th to the 19th centuries in Singapore as well as the socio-cultural impact of water in various periods. It was handcrafted from volcanic rock.
In the fourteenth century, craftsmen’s workplace and dwelling quarters were located in the Artisan’s Garden at Fort Canning Park. Here, skilled artisans who were supported by the king lived and worked.
Additionally, one of the few palatial spaces accessible to non-royals was this historic craftsman’s workshop. As other sides of the hill were surrounded by forests and salt marshes, Fort Canning Park’s Artisan’s Garden was situated here on the lower eastern slope to be accessible to commoners in Singapore.
The area is currently one of Singapore’s last remaining archaeological dig sites. Visitors to Fort Canning Park can tour the updated interpretative area to get a better sense of what Artisan’s Garden was like in the past in Singapore.
Armenian Street Park
As part of wider plans to connect Fort Canning Park, Bras Basah, Bugis, and the Civic District of Singapore together to establish an extended arts, cultural, and history area, a section of Armenian Street was pedestrianized earlier in 2019 to create a new park and public space for people and events in Singapore.
Additionally, flora that are a representation of Peranakan culture are displayed in portable planter boxes on Armenian Street Park. Visitors to Fort Canning Park’s Armenian Street Park will encounter plant collections that have been organized based on culinary uses, practical applications, and symbolic significance.
The creator of contemporary Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles (1781–1826), is honored with the name of this garden within Fort Canning Park. He was also an enthusiastic naturalist who loved to study flora and animals in his spare time. Raffles’ passion for flora served as the inspiration for the Raffles Garden @ Fort Canning Park, which highlights the wide variety of plant species he encountered in Southeast Asia.
Sang Nila Utama Garden
The first historical king of Singapore is honored in the name of the Sang Nila Utama Garden. In the fourteenth century, such gardens were essential components of a palace. A succession of Javanese split gates that mark the entry to new zones or “realms” and a reflected pool that can be used as a place of solace for meditation are among the garden’s traditional features.
Raffles established a successful spice plantation at Fort Canning in 1819, which eventually served as the model for Singapore’s first botanical park. Currently, there are three distinct areas within the Spice Garden at Fort Canning Park: the actual Spice Garden area, the pedestrianized Canning Rise, and the Spice Gallery. It has more than 180 different kinds of plants, including herbs and spice trees.
Learn more about the history of the spice trade in Singapore, the origins of the local spice farms, and Singapore’s position as a centre for the production and trade of spices at the Spice Garden within Fort Canning Park.
Let kids have fun at Fort Canning Park playground area – Jubilee Park
Jubilee Park is located on the western slope of Fort Canning Park, which in the 20th century had a variety of leisure opportunities for Singaporeans, including the National Theatre, Van Kleef Aquarium, and River Valley Swimming Pool. It once included recreational amenities like swings. Today, children can play with swings, see-saws, logs, and slides at Fort Canning Park playground area at this newly renovated green space at the base of Fort Canning Hill. There is also room for outdoor performances, gatherings, and art installations.
The refurbishment of existing Foothills buildings to make room for exhibition space and additional F&B facilities has already started as part of the next phase of expansion at Fort Canning Park.
Eat at Tiong Bahru Bakery @ Fort Canning Park
Are you and your kids both hungry after playing at the playground at Jubilee Park? There is a Tiong Bahru Bakery just a stone’s throw away at the base of Fort Canning Park too. Make sure to dine there!
Dine at the cafe at Fort Canning Park
Hungry and looking for food at a restaurant or cafe at Fort Canning Park? Check out Le Jardin, which is an European restaurant and cafe situated at Fort Canning Park. Le Jardin restaurant or cafe is located at Fort Canning Centre within Fort Canning Park.
How to go to Fort Canning Park
There are 4 car parks all around Fort Canning Park, named car park A, car park B, car park C and car park D.