Fort Canning Park – An overview for families


It is a perfect blend of nature, history, heritage, and recreational activities for visitors of all ages. It attracts with its lush greenery, important historical landmarks, and fascinating stories. It is deservedly considered among the best nature parks in Singapore. It is Fort Canning Park, and we are going to take a virtual tour of this remarkable place with BusyKidd.

Related Reading: Check out our guides to East Coast Park, Best Indoor Playgrounds For Children and Free Water Parks in Singapore, SEA Aquarium.

Fort Canning park

Image Credit: Weerakorn fk go via Google reviews

Fort Canning Park is a famous place in Singapore, which makes for a great day out for families, thanks to the wide variety of things you can do there. As well as a chance to spend time outdoors and explore its hiking trails, the park offers a unique opportunity to delve into Singapore’s history and visit some sites that were fundamental to the country we know and love today. As the list of options could be a bit overwhelming, we’ve chosen some of our favourite things to do on a trip to Fort Canning Park.

Where is Fort Canning Park? Why is Fort Canning Park famous? What happened at Fort Canning Park? Is it free to enter Fort Canning Park? What to do at Fort Canning Park? Today, we will find it all out.

Fort Canning Park General Information

The 18-acre park, with its numerous landmarks, beautiful flora, large lawns perfect for picnics, lovely dining venues, and more, attracts history geeks, nature lovers, music fans, families with kids, and tourists nowadays. And in medieval times, it was a site where Malay royalty ruled and numerous significant historical events took place.

Fort Canning Park is situated on a 48-meter (157 ft) high hill in central Singapore. The park was originally known as Bukit Larangan, or ‘Forbidden Hill’ in Malay. The Malays believed it was the place where the kings of ancient Singapore were buried. Of course, there are stories about the Forbidden Hill’s ghosts.

The area received the name of Fort Canning Park on November 1, 1981.

In 2019, Fort Canning Park became the venue of the bicentennial showcase.

Fort Canning Park overlooks the well-known Orchard Road. It is situated in the very heart of Singapore’s Civic and Cultural District. In addition to its historical, cultural, and recreational importance, Fort Canning Park serves as an essential green lung for the city’s downtown area.

Now, let’s check the list of family-friendly things to do at Fort Canning Park.

Family-friendly things to do at Fort Canning Park

Explore the Fort Canning Tree Tunnel

Fort Canning Park Tree Tunnel is not just the park’s most popular landmark but also one of the best spots for photos throughout Singapore. It connects Penang Road with Fort Canning Park. At the end of the Tree Tunnel at Fort Canning Park is a beautiful spiral staircase perfect for walking, admiring fantastic views, people-watching, and taking the most stylish photos ever. If you look up this most picturesque spiral staircase in Singapore, you can see walls covered with lush hanging greenery and a large Yellow Rain Tree. It’s like the past, the present, and the future met at one point.

Fort Canning Tree Tunnel is among the most popular spots for wedding photos. It is also a hotspot for nature photographers, couples, families with kids, and others willing to capture this moment. Be ready for long queues, as people usually come here at about 9 or 10 AM to catch the perfect light (well, and just to get an opportunity to take a photo).

We should note that the spiral staircase with the circular window is not the only place for Instagram-worthy shots at Fort Canning Tree Tunnel. After all, all who seek will find.

Yes, Fort Canning Tree Tunnel is a great place for walking as well.

There’s no Fort Canning Tree Tunnel entrance fee, and you can easily find it on the Fort Canning Park Map or Google Map. Fort Canning Park Tree Tunnel’s nearest MRT stations are Dhoby Ghaut MRT and Bencoolen MRT. Besides, there are no Fort Canning Tree Tunnel opening hours since the landmark is open around the clock.

Explore the Park’s history

Fort Canning park Stone Walk Way in Tunnel

Image Credit: Tee Nee via Google reviews

Fort Canning Park is brimming with history, so you won’t have to look far to find some interesting nods to the past. Best of all, a lot of this history is very accessible to kids, with things like cannons and stories about kings. Back in the 14th century, what is now Fort Canning was the site of palaces for the royal family, and on the hill at Keramat Iskandar Shah, you can see what is claimed to be the final resting place of the dynasty’s last king. In the 19th century, the park housed a British Army barracks, and you can still see the 9-pound cannon that was fired each day to mark the passing of the day. There was once a fortress here to protect Singapore from sea attacks, complete with a moat, but now all that remains is the Fort Gate.

You can take a tour of Fort Canning Heritage Gallery and Fort Canning Spice Gallery to learn more about the history of Fort Canning Park and Singapore.

Fort Canning Heritage Gallery

Fort Canning Heritage Gallery tells a fascinating story about more than 700 years of Fort Canning Hill’s history. Visitors can view archeological artifacts excavated from sites within the park, get acquainted with Fort Canning Hill’s history and its role in the history of Singapore, and explore exciting interactive displays.

There’s no entrance fee. Fort Canning Heritage Gallery is open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM (closed on the last Monday of the month).

Fort Canning Spice Gallery

It is a place to learn about the importance of the spice trade in Singapore’s history and the role of Fort Canning Park in this sphere. Its interactive panels and displays and a mock-up of a spice provision shop and a local kopitiam (coffee shop) will turn this gallery into your kids’ favorite spot in the park.

Fort Canning Spice Gallery is free and open to the public daily from 7 AM to 7 PM.

Visit the Park’s gardens

Fort Canning Park Spice Garden

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Fort Canning is home to a staggering 9 gardens, so you will never be short of places to walk and enjoy the outdoors! Let’s check them all!

Armenian Street Park

The Armenian Street Park is situated close to the Armenian church and the Peranakan Museum and serves as a connector between Fort Canning Park, Bras Basah, The Civic District, and Bugis. It offers a beautiful mix of plants and architecture and is perfect for strolling and taking nice pictures.

Artisan’s Garden

The Artisan’s Garden was the site of the artisans who worked for the royal family – today it’s a place where kids and adults can get hands-on with archaeology workshops.

Farquhar Garden

Named after Major General William Farquhar, the first British Resident and Commandant of Singapore, the Farquhar Garden is an excellent place for kids to learn more about species like guava, jujube, taro, and others. Be ready to get inspired by beautiful ‘living paintings’ in giant frames.

First Botanic Garden

The First Botanic Garden is a re-creation of Singapore’s original botanic garden, which had over 1,000 trees, including nutmeg and clove trees.

Jubilee Park

Jubilee Park at Fort Canning is nicknamed ‘play park’ as it has swings, seesaws, and other play equipment (see later section for more detail).

Pancur Larangan

Pancur Larangan is the site of the mythical ‘Forbidden Spring’ and was the ancient bathing area for the royal family in the 14th century. Today, kids can paddle in its wading pool, which is surrounded by re-created ancient Javanese architecture.

Raffles Garden

This area is named after Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore, and it’s a place to admire beautiful plants from ‘Raffles time.’ Your little adventure seekers will be impressed by a replica of a naval flagstaff and the Fort Canning Lighthouse, which you can also find in the Raffles Garden.

Sang Nila Utama Garden

It is named after Sri Tri Buana or Sang Nila Utama, the first ancient King of Singapore. The garden is full of history, Javanese culture, and lovely plants, including magnolias, ixoras, gardenias, and others.

Spice Garden

If you love botanical aromas, you’ll love the Spice Garden with its cinnamon trees, pepper trees, laksa plants, and basil plants.

Immerse yourself in the past at the Battlebox

Fort Canning park battlebox

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The Battlebox is Singapore’s only remaining World War II bunker, which served as the headquarters of the country’s military until 1942 when the Japanese Occupation began. Indeed, it was within the Battlebox that the British commander, General Percival, made the decision to surrender in what became the greatest British military defeat in history. Now, the Battlebox has been restored to look exactly like it would have done 80 years ago. Inside the underground bomb-proof bunker, visitors can see the Guns Operation Room, Anti-Aircraft Defence Room, and Signal Control Room. The Battlebox is a great place for kids to learn about Singapore’s history from this era.

Play in the playground

Fort Canning park kids slides

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Jubilee Park is the best place at Fort Canning Park for kids to run around and have fun playing in its well-designed playground. Kids can choose from 4 slides of varying excitement, swings, seesaws, and obstacle courses. There’s even a climbing net with an exciting (but safe and enclosed) rope bridge. If kids still have excess energy, they can burn it off by running across the grassed areas that abound in Jubilee Park. Moreover, the Jubilee Park Playground is great for taking your kids’ sincere and careless photos.

Explore Fort Canning Centre

The Fort Canning Centre was originally an army barracks but later became an arts centre. After a major re-development, the Fort Canning Centre became a heritage museum that introduces visitors to Fort Canning’s history and natural history over the last 7 centuries (find more information about Fort Canning Heritage Gallery above). The Fort Canning Centre building is impressive both outside and inside – it’s like Fort Canning Park’s gem.

Enjoy a Brilliant Performance right at Fort Canning Park

In addition to fascinating heritage tours and recreational facilities, Fort Canning Park also serves as a concert venue. Shakespeare in the Park by SRT, various art festivals, open-air cinemas, and even Ballet Under the Stars performances – Fort Canning Park has already hosted a wide variety of outdoor events and activities for everyone and continues to do so.

Have lunch

Although there are plenty of dining options just outside Fort Canning Park, including everything from hawker centres to French cafés, there are three places to eat within the park’s grounds.

Tiong Bahru Bakery

Tiong Bahru Bakery at Fort Canning is an informal café with a fusion menu that includes breakfasts, pastries, burgers, and Asian favorites, as well as coffee and other drinks. Fort Canning Park Tiong Bahru Bakery is perfect for nice talks, aromatic coffee, and a gourmet break before you continue your fascinating tour of the park.

  • Address: 70 River Valley Road #01-05, Singapore 179037
  • Operating Hours: 7:30 AM to 7 PM (daily)
  • More Details

Le Jardin Restaurant

Le Jardin is definitely one of the most atmospheric restaurants in Singapore. It offers lovely gardens and an all-day menu that includes dishes such as crab Benedict, steak frites, and chili crab pasta.

Be sure to visit for lunch or dinner after exploring Fort Canning Park.

  • Address: Fort Canning Centre Level 2, 5 Cox Terrace, Singapore 179620
  • Operating Hours:
    • Monday to Thursday: 9:30 AM to 6 PM
    • Friday to Saturday &PH: 9:30 AM to 9 PM
    • Sunday: 9:30 AM to 9 PM
  • More Details

The Salon

There’s also The Salon, within Fort Canning Hotel, a sophisticated establishment that was Singapore’s winner in the 2017 World Luxury Restaurants Awards. The menu includes Crab and Prawn Pie Tie, Chorizo Seafood, Lobster Mac and Cheese, a great choice of pizzas and burgers, and other delicious options. 

  • Address: Hotel Fort Canning, 11 Canning Walk, Singapore 178881
  • Operating Hours:
    • 7 AM to 10:30 AM (breakfast)
    • 11:30 AM to 10:30 PM
  • More Details

Fort Canning Park Picnic

Alternatively, you could come prepared and enjoy a picnic in one of the park’s gardens or on Fort Canning Green, where events such as open-air concerts are sometimes held. It is not surprising that Fort Canning Park is considered among the best places to enjoy a family picnic in Singapore.

Pose for family photos

Fort Canning park Tree Tunnel

Image Credit: Langloy via Google reviews

As you have probably guessed, Fort Canning Park is a perfect place for a wedding photoshoot and for taking pictures with your family, loved ones, fluffy friends, etc. Yes, and it’s a must-visit for all nature and history photography lovers. This place is filled with great spots for Fort Canning Park photos, but some of the most sought-after are the Fort Canning Tree Tunnel and Sang Nila Utama Garden (we’ve already mentioned both of them above).

The Fort Canning Park Tree Tunnel is so popular that it’s signposted from the Battlebox (see above), but essentially, it is close to the UBS building near Dhoby Ghaut MRT Exit A. We have already found out that it’s best to take photos from the base of the staircase looking up, as you get a lovely spiral shape with the photogenic trees at the top of Fort Canning Tree Tunnel. Now, let’s move to another photogenic point that we’ve chosen for you.

The other top spot is Sang Nila Utama Garden, a re-creation of the 14th-century royal gardens, complete with Javanese split gates and statues of frogs and fish. The gardens are so exotic that it would be easy to tell people you were in Bali!

Take a stroll through Fort Canning Park at Night

Fort Canning Park is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it’s especially charming after sunset. The park is illuminated with myriads of fairy lights, turning it into a scene out of a fairytale.

Perfect for a romantic walk under the starry sky.

Fort Canning Park FAQ

What is the Fort Canning Park location?

Fort Canning Park is located on Fort Canning Hill in central Singapore at the junction of Canning Rise and Fort Canning Road.

What are Fort Canning Park opening hours?

Fort Canning Park is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Is Fort Canning Park free?

There is no Fort Canning Park entrance fee. It is free for all visitors.

What is the nearest MRT to Fort Canning Park?

Fort Canning MRT, Dhoby Ghaut MRT, Clarke Quay MRT, and Bencoolen MRT stations are the nearest MRT stations to Fort Canning Park.

Is there Fort Canning Park parking?

There are numerous parking options around Fort Canning Park (check the Fort Canning Park map for more information).

Are there guided tours of Fort Canning Park?

Yes, you can join a guided tour of Fort Canning Park (check the official website for more information).

Are there any events held in Fort Canning Park?

Yes, Fort Canning Park is a popular concert venue that holds events of various genres (check the official website for more information).

Official Website: Fort Canning Park

Is Fort Canning Park worth visiting? Absolutely yes! Moreover, Fort Canning Park is not somewhere that you can do justice to in one visit. Brimming with history and home to 9 gardens plus playgrounds and places to eat, it’s a place that’s sure to become a family favourite.

Cover Image Credit: Langloy via Google reviews

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