The classic tours of China focus mainly upon the country’s most iconic features, and are a great starting point upon which to build a personalised itinerary that includes all the main sights, often regarded as a ‘must’ for the first time visitor, such as the awesome structure of Beijing’s Forbidden City, a byword for imperial power and privilege during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.


Contrastingly, a trip to the surviving Hutongs illuminates the contemporaneous surrounding neighbourhoods of the Emperor’s grand palace, many of which were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution to remove the legacy of the former feudal system.


The architectural harmony of the Temple of Heaven, the revered symbol of Confucian idealism, is another often visited landmark in Beijing, as is the vast public space of Tiananmen Square, so resonant with recent history.


The Great Wall is one of those unmissable ‘things to do’, especially for first time visitors, and several sections close to Beijing represent some of the best-preserved sections of the mighty Ming revitalisation of the older structures. The nearby Ming Tombs are also an important historic sight often included in trips to visit the wall.


In central China, Xian’s walls are among the best preserved of the few remaining Ming dynasty city walls and the nearby archaeological site of the vast 3rd century BC tomb complex of First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang and his guarding Terracotta Army, is undoubtedly one of China’s most famous sights.


Shanghai, On China’s eastern coast, unfolds the modern expressiveness of China’s new towering ambitions, and also reflects the colonial influence of the European powers. Nearby, the quaint rural harmony of China’s canal settlements such as Suzhou, renowned for its lovely gardens, also feature in many itineraries. 

In addition to the above, longer classic tours of China may include the astounding natural scenery of Guilin, the Panda Research Centre in Chengdu, and a cruise of the ‘three gorges’ on the mighty Yangtze River.