After pickup from your central Beijing hotel, travel by private vehicle to Tiananmen Square. On route, learn about this public square — the world’s largest — and its buildings, including Tiananmen Gate, the entrance to the Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City.
Take an orientation stroll and ascend 67 steps up the Tiananmen Gate Tower for panoramas over the square. Then, with your skip-the-line ticket, bypass the main lines to the Palace Museum for a 3-hour tour.
This walled, 15th-century compound features 800 buildings and courtyards, and was home to 24 of China’s emperors. Tour the highlights and explore some areas missed by visitors, including the Treasure and Instruments Galleries, as you uncover their intriguing history.
Next, explore the royal gardens of Jingshan Park, admiring bird’s-eye views of the Palace Museum from their hilltop Wanchun Pavilion.
Then, head for the Royal Icehouse for lunch. Located in an old hutong residential area, this history-steeped restaurant occupies a former royal icehouse — where ice was kept cool for imperial use during summer.
Following a traditional lunch in a private courtyard here, enjoy a shared boat ride around Beihai Park, one of China’s oldest imperial gardens. Your tour then concludes with a hotel drop-off.