UNESCO World Heritage Sites
China is home to a staggering 48 sites that are inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, second only to Italy. Indisputably the most famous, the Great Wall of China stretches a length half of the equator, meandering through breathtaking scenery and kilometres of China’s isolated hillside. Beijing’s Forbidden City is the largest and best-preserved collection of antique buildings in China, and the world’s most extensive palace complex; Xi’an’s Terracotta Army will spellbind you with its artful craftsmanship, whilst the time-locked Lijiang Old Town is a maze of trickling streams, narrow canals and dainty alleyways.
The glorious Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is a must-visit attraction for animal-lovers, artfully designed to resemble a natural panda habitat. Home to nearly 120 Giant Pandas and over 70 Red Pandas, the base focuses on encouraging these shy creatures to breed, aiding their conservation whilst allowing you to encounter them and their adorable cubs. We recommend visiting in the morning – before the placid pandas fall back to sleep – whilst August and September are the best months for spotting loveable new-born cubs.
A country in which Buddhism and Taoism are the dominant religions, you’ll find a host of wonderfully ornate temples and pagodas across China. The iconic Summer Palace in Beijing houses a number of intricately-designed temples, whilst the UNESCO Temple of Heaven – also in China’s capital – boasts simply stunning architecture and is considered the most holy of all Imperial temples in Imperial China. Moving away from Beijing, China’s temples remain as beautiful and plentiful; Wenshu Temple is the largest in Chengdu, Hangzhou is home to Lingyin Temple, whilst Jing’an Temple reflects the Buddhist world that underpins modern Shanghai.
Thanks to China’s love affair with food, expect your tastebuds to be tantalised, tested and treated, no matter where in the country you visit. Try traditional, aromatic Peking duck in Beijing, or – if you dare – sample Chengdu’s famed steaming hotpot, seasoned with screamingly hot Sichuan peppers. Enjoy regional street food from bustling markets, or indulge at one of China’s exquisite fine dining restaurants; The Four Seasons Hotel Beijing is home to Cai Yi Xuan, named ‘Best Chinese Hotel Restaurant’ in the 2016 Time Out Food Awards, whilst The Peninsula Shanghai is the only hotel in mainland China to house two Michelin-starred restaurants.
Whilst the cultural delights of China are almost unrivalled around the world, this compelling country is no one-trick pony; combining tradition with innovation, and heritage with technology, China’s cities are simply dazzling. The capital, Beijing, remains the cultural and political centre of China and despite the striking modern architecture and contemporary malls, its aesthetics still manage to remain distinctly Chinese, adorned with Imperial grandeur. Completely addictive, eclectic Shanghai is constantly fizzing with activity, moving to the rhythm and demands of a world-famous city. Perhaps lesser-known cities, but well worth discovering, explore our luxury properties in Chengdu, Lijiang, Hangzhou, Guilin and Xi’an.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic from London Heathrow to Shanghai and Hong Kong; British Airways from London Heathrow to Beijing with connecting flights to Sanya and Xi’an. Flights with Emirates (via Dubai) from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow are also available.
From London Heathrow to Beijing: 9 hours and 45 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Visas are required prior to arrival (but not for Hong Kong or Macao) and can be obtained from your nearest Chinese Embassy http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk
Alternatively, you can apply through CIBT online at www.uk.cibt.com or telephone 0844 800 4650.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit Insect and tick bite avoidance.
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCDO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: Foreign Travel Advice. Additional sources of information include: Public Health England, The National Travel Health And Network Centre, Foreign And Commonwealth Office and your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.