But first, enjoy a walk along the Great Wall and explore the heart of Beijing. Visit Tiananmen Square, known as ‘The gate of the heavenly sky', and soak up the historical atmosphere of the old walled city of Pingyao. You’ll then have a chance to get up close with pandas at the Panda Conservation Centre at Chengdu. Located to the north of the city, this breeding and research centre works to protect these vulnerable creatures and their diminishing habitat.
Finish in Guilin, where the ethereal beauty of the region shows itself in the meandering Li River, karst peaks and misty hillsides. What better way to soak up the enchanting scenery than by taking a cruise along the river itself, passing by huge valleys and local fisherman.
London – Beijing
Your family adventure kicks off with a flight to China’s captivating capital, Beijing. Your stay in the city includes a visit to the renowned Tiananmen Square, the largest square in the world, and the ancient Forbidden City, former residence of the Ming and Qing dynasties with 9,999 rooms. Your next experience is a Hutong tour by rickshaw that includes calling in at one of the local’s residences.
The next day you will be driven out to The Great Wall at Mutianyu, originally built in 1569 to defend against Mongolia and Manchuria. A cable car will take you up and down, but another fun way to descend is by slide.
Stay: Three nights in deluxe rooms at the Hilton Beijing Wangfujing – breakfast included
This morning you will board a fast train to the ancient city of Pingyao where you’ll be taken to your hotel in the midst of the quaint streets, curio shops and restaurants of the Old City. Built between 1045 BC and 256 BC, the history of Pingyao stretches back over 2,700 years. A bicycle tour around the city will reveal its Ming and Qing architectural influence, as well as numerous historic sites.
Stay: Two nights in deluxe rooms at the Jing’s Residence – breakfast included
Today another fast train will take you to Xi’an where you will be staying in a luxury hotel located on the historic Renmin Square. As the heart of the Chinese Empire for numerous centuries, Xi’an is packed with fascinating archaeological treasures. You’ll start with a visit to the famous museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses, home to over 1,700 life-like warrior figures depicting the armies of the emperor Qinshi Huangdi. Next you will take in the vast Shan Xi museum which houses thousands of cultural relics left over from China’s ancient dynasties.
Stay: Two nights in superior rooms at the Sofitel Xian – breakfast included
Xi’an – Chengdu
The next day take a walk around the incredibly preserved walls of Xi’an’s Old City, before heading to the vibrant Muslim quarter which has souvenir stalls, restaurants and the largest mosque in China.
In the afternoon you will fly to Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province. Your hotel sits at the heart of the city at the confluence of two rivers, and offers a luxurious base from which to explore. The day after your arrival you will visit the renowned Panda Conservation Centre where you can observe one of China’s national treasures – the giant panda. Opening its doors in 1987 with 6 rescued pandas, today the centre looks after over 80 of these beautiful creatures. Join the panda volunteer work program for a chance to feed the pandas with fresh bamboo, clean the enclosures and hose the pandas (in summer) from outside the enclosure.
Stay: Two nights in deluxe river view rooms at Shangri-La Chengdu – breakfast included
You’ll have the morning free before your flight to Guilin. Your hotel occupies a fantastic spot overlooking the meandering Li River, so you’ll be ideally placed for a cruise along the river the following day.
The scenery of Guilin, dominated by dramatic karst peaks, misty hillsides and the serene Li River, is described by a Chinese saying as the “best under heaven”. As you drift along the calm waters towards Yangshuo, you will be stunned by what nature can produce. Once in Yangshou, you will have the opportunity to explore tributaries of the river on a traditional bamboo raft, and in the evening, watch the local cormorant fisherman at work.
Stay: Two nights in deluxe river view rooms at Shangri-La Guilin – breakfast included
Guilin – Hong Kong – London
Today you and your family will say goodbye to Guilin, and will head back to London via Hong Kong.