Departing after breakfast, head into the heart of Beijing, Tiananmen Square – the first stop. This famous vast city square not only contains Chairman Mao’s tomb but also various other monuments to the people of China. Stroll around the square, take a guided tour of the nearby Forbidden City. Immortalised in the 1987 Myopic of China’s last emperor – Pu Yi, this former Imperial Palace housed China’s emperors from the Ming Dynasty through to the end of the Qing Dynasty and the advent of communism in 1924. An impressive complex of 908 buildings over 720,000sqm it was the centre of the imperial government and ceremonial hub of ancient China. Today this old city within a city is a UNESCO listed museum exemplifying traditional Chinese Architecture,
Breaking for lunch in a local restaurant, there is the chance to try local favourites before spending the afternoon at the Summer Palace. Starting life in 1750 as a luxurious royal garden, it later became the main residence for the emperors of the Qing Dynasty. The gardens were destroyed and re-built twice before opening to the public in 1924 and listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1998.
Wander through this masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design, which combines natural landscapes of hills and water with man-made features such as Pavilions, palaces, temples and bridges. Just 15km from the centre of Beijing, even for those with little interest in gardens, it provides a beautiful & peaceful retreat from Beijing and symbolises the excesses of a bygone era.