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Forbidden City

This magnificent imperial palace is one of the most popular tourist sites in all of China, and is filled with many centuries of culture and art.

Beijing’s Forbidden City stretches over a massive 720,000 square metres, and was home to the emperors of China for almost five centuries. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is listed by the same organisation as the largest collection of ancient wooden structures in the world.

Set amid pristine gardens, the city contains an enormous collection of carefully maintained relics in its age-old buildings. The spiritual side of life is also well represented, with plentiful temples, shrines and other places of worship.

The name of the Forbidden City comes from the fact that, historically, ordinary people were not allowed to set foot inside. Protected by high, imposing walls, it would have presented a daunting sight to the residents of the wider city before being opened up to the public in 1925.

You should allow yourself a minimum of half a day to stroll around and soak in the fantastic royal culture and design around you. Enter through the Gate of Heavenly Peace, where you can pick up a map and an audio guide at the ticket office, or hire an English-speaking guide to take you around to gain a deeper understanding of the history and culture on display.

Take in the diverse architectural styles of different eras and admire centuries of incredible antiques. Art lovers will be enthralled by the many artworks, including statuettes cast in bronze and the beautiful old paintings which adorn the interior walls of the palace.

The fabulous five arches of the Meridian Gate will take your breath away, while the Hall of Supreme Harmony offers opulently appointed décor in the biggest of the many ceremonial halls – these sights are most definitely not to be missed. Finish your tour by admiring the graceful and harmonious Imperial Garden before leaving through the Gate of Divine Might.

The Forbidden City is in the centre of Beijing, and can be reached by walking, cycling or via public transport. There is also a bus which circles the outside of the walls, making it easier to access different areas. Visit the palace during the week if you can, as Saturday and Sunday are particularly busy.


Guide to Exploring Forbidden City


Top Forbidden City Hotel & Accommodation Deals

See all 1,327 properties near Forbidden City
Hilton Beijing Wangfujing AU$204
Hilton Beijing Wangfujing

Hilton Beijing Wangfujing

8 Wangfujing East Street, Dongcheng, Beijing, Beijing
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    This family-friendly Beijing hotel is located in the business district, within 1 mi (2 km) of Wangfujing Street, Forbidden City and The Palace Museum. Tiananmen Square and Tiananmen are also within 1 mi (2 km). Dengshikou Station is 8 minutes by foot and Wangfujing Station is 11 minutes.

    Grand Hyatt Beijing AU$191
    Grand Hyatt Beijing

    Grand Hyatt Beijing

    1 East Chang An Avenue, Beijing, Beijing
       
      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Dongdan, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Oriental Plaza and Wangfujing Street. National Museum of China and Tiananmen Square are also within 15 minutes. Wangfujing Station is 6 minutes by foot and Dengshikou Station is 14 minutes.

      Hooray Yangqiao Beijing
      Hooray Yangqiao Beijing

      Hooray Yangqiao Beijing

      No.88, Majiapu Dongli, fengtai district, Beijing
         
        2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Oriental Plaza, Wangfujing Street and Tiananmen Square. Forbidden City and Tiananmen are also within 2 miles (3 km). Wangfujing Station is 6 minutes by foot and Chongwenmen Station is 10 minutes.

        Jade Garden Hotel Beijing Forbidden City
        Jade Garden Hotel Beijing Forbidden City

        Jade Garden Hotel Beijing Forbidden City

        No 1 Nanheyan Street, Beijing, Beijing
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Dong Hua Men Night Market, Forbidden City and The Palace Museum. Wangfujing Street and Tiananmen Square are also within 15 minutes. Dengshikou Station is 14 minutes by foot and Wangfujing Station is 14 minutes.

          Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing Hotel AU$217
          Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing Hotel

          Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing Hotel

          57 Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing
             
            5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Downtown Beijing, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of National Art Museum of China and Wangfujing Street. Forbidden City and The Palace Museum are also within 15 minutes. Dongsi Station is 11 minutes by foot and Dengshikou Station is 13 minutes.

            Hua Fu International Hotel Beijing
            Hua Fu International Hotel Beijing

            Hua Fu International Hotel Beijing

            53 Dongchengmen Avenue, Beijing, Beijing
               
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Dong Hua Men Night Market, Wangfujing Street, and Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square and The Palace Museum are also within 15 minutes. Dengshikou Station is 12 minutes by foot and Wangfujing Station is 13 minutes.

              Beijing Xihua Jade Hotel Forbidden City AU$36
              Beijing Xihua Jade Hotel Forbidden City

              Beijing Xihua Jade Hotel Forbidden City

              No. 5 North Zhide Alley, Beiheyan Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Dong Hua Men Night Market, Forbidden City and Wangfujing Street. Tiananmen Square and The Palace Museum are also within 1 mile (2 km). Dengshikou Station is 11 minutes by foot and Dongsi Station is 13 minutes.

                Tang Yue
                Tang Yue

                Tang Yue

                50-54 DONGHUAMEN STREET, DONGCHENGDISTRICT BEIJING P.R.C., Beijing, Beijin
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Dong Hua Men Night Market, Wangfujing Street and Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square and The Palace Museum are also within 1 mile (2 km). Dengshikou Station is 9 minutes by foot and Wangfujing Station is 12 minutes.