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Highlights of China


Take a whirlwind adventure through China’s ancient and modern wonders

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
13 days From £2,195 per person
Flexible Booking

Book your 2021 holiday before 31st May and you can transfer your holiday for free - no questions asked. T&C's apply

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2021 Tour code: CVS21

About the tour

Travel from bustling Beijing, with its Great Wall, to ancient Xi'an and its Terracotta Warriors, cruising the Yangtze River en-route, on this adventure through China's ancient and modern wonders.


What’s included


Days 1-2 - London and Beijing

Our holiday begins meeting our Tour Manager and the rest of the group, before a flight from London Heathrow to Beijing, arriving into this bustling city on Day 2 . We spend the day exploring Beijing on a guided tour. We visit Tiananmen Square, the location of the now infamous 1989 uprising and, at over 4 million square feet, the largest city square in the world.

We continue to the Forbidden City - a palace and garden complex once inhabited by the Chinese royal family, and now preserved as a testament to China's long history. The incredible complex was built on a grand scale, with 980 buildings spread over 180 acres housing the family, their staff, and the royal guard from 1406 to the abdication of the last Chinese Emperor in 1912. Constructed to reflect the Purple Palace, where it was thought God resided in heaven, the Forbidden City's opulence is testament to the Emperor's vision as a divine ruler. The rest of the day is free, ahead of a delicious dinner of authentic Peking duck tonight.

Forbidden City, Beijing
Day 3 - The Great Wall of China

This morning begins with a rickshaw tour of Beijing's hutongs, or backstreets, known for their association with the city's history. Each narrow maze-like street shows the real community between neighbours, as each home is connected with the other.

Later, we enjoy a highlight of our holiday, with a visit to the iconic Great Wall of China. We visit the Mutianyu section of the wall, one of the best preserved and most visited parts of this world-famous structure. This particular section is one of the oldest sections of the wall, and it was first built in the 6th century. After time to explore this magnificent piece of ancient engineering at our own pace, we return to Beijing, pausing en-route at the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube - examples of Beijing's modern architecture - for a photo opportunity.

The Great Wall of China
Day 4 - Shanghai

Leaving the capital behind this afternoon, we board the high-speed train to Shanghai. On arrival, we're met by a local guide who takes us on a sightseeing tour. Discover the iconic Bund waterfront, part of the city's famously futuristic architecture. Afterwards, dinner is served at a local restaurant.

Bund waterfront, Shanghai
Day 5 - Shanghai’s secrets

This morning, we continue our tour of Shanghai with a visit to some of the city's hidden attractions. Yu Garden is an oasis of peace amidst Shanghai's lively streets, situated in the older quarters of the city. The extensive gardens are spread out over five acres, and have a serene feel, with the typical features of Imperial gardens created by China's former rulers. The gardens feature ornate pavilions and tranquil pools filled with brightly-coloured fish, as well as curious stacked rockeries and decadent halls with traditional winged roofs. We also visit the Old City of Shanghai, the Chinese enclave that resisted the influences of the foreign concessions in the aftermath of the Opium Wars, and the Yuyuan Bazaar, a busy shopping quarter adjacent to the city's oldest street.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we stop by the former French Concession, a beautiful neighbourhood with a distinctive European character. This evening, we are treated to a night of entertainment at a fantastic acrobatic show.

Yuyuan Gardens, Shanghai
Days 6-9 - Cruising the Yangtze

This morning, we transfer to Maoping, enjoying China's excellent high-speed rail service from Shanghai to Yichang. This evening, we board the Century Sun or Glory cruise ship for a journey through some of China's most dramatic and beautiful scenery.

Our scenic Yangtze River cruise continues with a shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam on Day 7, before our ship passes through the striking Xiling Gorge. On Day 8, the ship makes its way through the Qutang and Wu Gorges, both renowned for their beauty.

On Day 9 we visit Shibaozhao Pagoda before free time to relax and soak up the scenery on board. This evening we attend a Captain's farewell dinner.

Yangtze River
Days 10-11 - Chengdu and Pandas

We disembark our ship in Chongqing, where we board the high-speed train to Chengdu. On arrival, take in the city's highlights, including the Wenshu Monastery and lively Jinli Street.

On the morning of Day 11, we enjoy a visit to the Panda Research Centre, where more than 120 giant panda cubs have been born over the years, before lunch at a local restaurant. Following this, we transfer to Xi'an, the ancient former capital of China, by rail.

Panda, Chengdu
Day 12 - The Terracotta Warriors

Today we visit the incredible Terracotta Warriors, discovered on the outskirts of Xi'an in the 1970s. Later, we return to the city for a guided tour, taking in a wealth of ancient sites including the Small Wild Goose Pagoda and the Great Mosque. Tonight, sample some local specialities at a dumpling banquet, the perfect way to end our explorations of this wonderful country.

The Terracotta Warriors
Day 13 - Xi’an and London

We board our flight from Xi'an to London Heathrow, travelling via Beijing, today. Our holiday concludes on arrival in the UK.


Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


The Presidential Hotel

The Presidential Hotel, Bejing

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Xinliang Hotel

Xinliang Hotel, Chengdu

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Ambassador Hotel, Shanghai

Ambassador Hotel, Shanghai

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Tianlang Jincheng Art Hotel

Tianlang Jincheng Art Hotel, Xian

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Chinese Railways

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Worldwide Holidays by Rail 2022

Worldwide Holidays by Rail 2022

Long haul rail holidays to North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia.

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Highlights of China

Take a whirlwind adventure through China’s ancient and modern wonders


Lynne Broadley
Luke Simpson
Helen Laverack