Forbidden City and Hutong Family Homemade Lunch

Beijing, Beijing & Around, China

Beijing balances its ancient history with its 21st century lifestyles and this experience is a chance to explore both of these with a visit to the ancient Forbidden City and a chance to meet a local family and join them for lunch in their home.

Begin your day with a visit to the sprawling Forbidden City, exploring the palaces, imperial buildings, manicured gardens, temples and libraries that offer such an evocative insight into the dynasties and their subjects. As you wander through the vast compound with your guide you’ll discover how the site was constructed, and the beliefs that directed its design. While it would take more than a week to cover the entire city, this morning’s tour is a fascinating overview of the history and ends with a climb to the top of hill to take in a sweeping view of the full site and its 9,999 buildings.

Returning to Beijing you’ll take a walking tour of the hutongs, or alleyways, that connect the houses and neighbourhoods of the old town, and will make a stop at a local bike repair workshop to chat with the owner who is incredibly knowledgeable about the hutongs and the cultural traditions to be found here. Heading out into the lanes you’ll pass snapshots of life being played out on the streets – children playing and old men engrossed in games of Mahjong – before stepping inside this world with a visit to the home of a local family. Alongside the family you’ll help prepare the lunch, and discover more about the culture and traditions of the city, before sitting down to enjoy this homemade meal.

As visitor numbers to the Forbidden City are limited we would recommend booking well in advance. Once booked the date cannot be amended. The original passport must be presented on arrival. 

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