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Tour the magnificent lakeside summer residence of emperors, cross the lake by boat and see the Old Palace ruins.

The Summer Palace is set amid peaceful landscaped parkland that feels a long way from the noise of downtown Beijing. The park is dominated by the huge Kunming Lake, whilst the palace buildings themselves sit on Longevity Hill. A visit here gives you the chance to learn more about the infamous Empress Cixi, who restored the palaces in the 19th century and spent a lot of her time here. Some of the architectural highlights include the intricate Long Corridor, the Marble Boat and the Seventeen Arch Bridge.

You might like to combine a visit to the Summer Palace with a short visit to see the ruins of the original Summer Palace, just a short drive away. If you are taking an evening flight out of Beijing, you should consider visiting the Summer Palace in the morning of the flight, perhaps in conjunction with the 798 Art District, and then heading to the airport, as all of these are north of the city centre.

Some of our favourite places to visit and things to do in Beijing
What to do in Beijing

Special in-depth Beijing tour

Gain an in-depth perspective on Beijing's past and present with our specially designed tour of the capital.

Temple of Heaven Park

Climb the sacred steps to one of China’s finest temples and observe locals taking their morning exercises.

Hutongs: Behind the Scenes

Traverse the alleyways of a traditional hutong to gain an insight into life here and partake in cultural activities.