Summer Palace Tour


A guided tour of the Summer Palace with our expert native English speaking guides will help you understand why the building of the Summer Palace was the beginning of the end of China’s Imperial history.

During the tour you will find out which special woman in his life Emperor Qianlong commissioned these amazing gardens for; walk through the longest corridor in the world and discover the stories behind its beautiful paintings; see where Empress Dowager Cixi imprisoned the greatest threat to her power; and take a boat out on the stunning Kunming Lake to find out how it provided the perfect excuse for spending tax payers’ money.


  • Learn why the Summer Palace was called Jug Hill, and discover exactly what the consequences were of removing the jug.
  • Discover what project went way over budget and eventually become the Summer Palace, and then find out how Emperor Qianlong apologised for his excessive spending.
  • See the locations in which a group of mischievous eunuchs had fun at the expense of others.
  • Learn how Empress Dowager Cixi diverted huge sums of money there that were intended to fund the Chinese navy.
  • Guests on the Select Summer Palace Tour will also get to see a traditional Chinese variety show on the opera stage that Cixi often visited. Whilst there your guide will explain why Cixi’s obsession with Chinese opera cost her favourite eunuch his life.
  • Experience how Emperor Qianlong and Dowager Empress Cixi played make believe with their surroundings.
  • Visit Emperor Qianlong’s study and discover why it’s devoted to bear hunting.
  • Find out where Cixi placed the little Emperor’s first calligraphic effort, and discover how this effected his studies.
  • Learn about the Summer Palace’s stunning architecture and the secrets held within.
  • Walk the long corridor, see famous rocks, listen to orioles, and learn where the best place to view the seasons is located.
  • Take a boat out on Kunming Lake and discover why it was designed with the navy and immortals in mind.
  • Hear why the bronze bull refuses to stay put and the efforts Cixi went to keep it in place.

Getting There

The Standard Meeting Point for Private and Select Beijing Summer Palace Tours is outside exit C of Beigongmen Metro on Yiheyuan Street (北宫门地铁站C出口外面,在颐和园路上).

Price (Chinese renminbi per person)

Summer Palace Adults Children under 14
Private (2 hr) 330 260
Select (2.5 hr) 390 290

Tour Types

Public Tour availability can be seen by clicking here.

Private Tours can be scheduled for your group at any time you like.

Select Tours are led by Senior Newman Tours’ Guides, and guarantee the provision of an iPad to enhance the content of your tour. They can start at any time you want, and feature exclusive content described in italics in the Tour Schedule on this page.

Private and Select Tours require a minimum of 4 adult guests (or the financial equivalent thereof). Full terms and conditions can be viewed here.

What Our Guests Say