China has the world's oldest surviving civilisation, dating back to around 1750 BC. Shi Huangdi of Qin (pronounced ‘chin’) became the first emperor in 221 BC whose dynasty gave China its name. It was the Emperor Shi Huangdi who built the fabulous tomb near Xian, where students can see the astonishing 7000 terracotta soldiers placed to guard him after death. The tomb was discovered by chance during the past forty years and also includes life-size replicas of horses and chariots.
Shi Huangdi also began the construction of one of the world’s indisputably astounding undertakings; the building of the Great Wall. Over the next two thousand years it would grow to stretch for over 6000kms!
The city of Beijing was gradually rebuilt in the fifteenth century during the Ming dynasty with the truly remarkable Forbidden City at its heart. This vast, sumptuous complex was the exclusive preserve of the Ming emperors. The 300 year-long Ming dynasty was abruptly ended by the invasion from Manchuria in 1644. The Manchu Qing dynasty ruled China until a revolution in 1911.
Key Study Areas
Location Click here to view map
Our best value sample itinerary from £1131
8 Days to Beijing & Xian
Travel overnight to Beijing by air.
Arrive in Beijing and transfer to your accommodation. Spend the rest of the day at leisure exploring the local area. Overnight in Beijing.
In the morning visit the Forbidden City, the imperial palace where the court lived in luxury isolated from the outside world, and Tiananmen Square, the largest square in the world covering some 40 hectares. In the afternoon visit the Summer Palace of the imperial family just outside of Beijing. Overnight in Beijing.
Visit the Great Wall of China and walk along the steep pathway and see the watch towers. Continue to the Temple of Heaven, then onwards to a local craft factory. Take the overnight sleeper train to Xian.
Arrive in Xian. Visit the Wild Goose Pagoda within the Temple of Grace and the Bell and Drum Tower Square. Overnight in Xian.
Visit the Terracotta Army Museum, built in pits over 2000 years ago to guard the tomb of the Emperor Qin followed by Hua Qing Hot Springs or the Banpo Museum and local craft factory. Overnight on sleeper train to Beijing.
Arrive in Beijing. Visit the Hutongs, narrow alleys and lanes lined on both sides with traditional Beijing 'Sieyuan' courtyard houses, or four-sided enclosed yards. Afterwards enjoy a traditional Tea Ceremony at the Beijing Tea House. Visit Wangfujing Street. Overnight in Beijing.
Transfer to the airport for return flight, usually arriving early evening on the same day.