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Summer Palace

This majestic former summer residence of the Qing Dynasty is now a world heritage site and favourite Beijing attraction.

The Summer Palace on the shore of Kunming Lake was built as a retreat in the 1750s by China’s last great ruling dynasty, the Qing. It later became their principal residence and, although it suffered damage during the Second Opium War and the Boxer Rebellion, it has gone on to become one of Beijing’s most-loved attractions.

The 60-metre hill in the middle of Kunming Lake is a stunning location for the magnificent buildings and manicured pavilions that UNESCO describe as “a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design”. Along with the remarkable temples, halls and bridges, there is plentiful natural beauty here. In fact, the unique setting and one-of-a-kind architecture led to the palace being declared a world heritage site in 1998.

The entrance to the complex is at the East Palace Gate where you’ll be faced with the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, which houses ornate furnishings including intricate engravings and bronze sculptures. Further along the north-west shore from here is one of the man-made island’s most remarkable structures: the Boat of Purity and Ease. It has the appearance of a lavish boat but it is in fact a wooden pavilion constructed on a stone base.

The earth that was excavated to create Kunming Lake created Longevity Hill, the foot of which is just a short stroll from the boat. Take a deep breath, then set off up the steep front slope towards the towering Hall of Dispensing Clouds, taking time to admire the symmetrically laid-out buildings on both sides. At the top, you can enter the three-storey Tower of Buddhist Incense for a small additional charge where you’ll find an incredible gold statue of the Buddha with a thousand eyes and hands.

After you’ve admired the view, make your way back down the rear end of the hill which is covered in natural woodland and scattered ruins. The best way to get to the Summer Palace, located in the Haidian district, north-west of Beijing, is via a 30-minute taxi ride as the subway can take twice as long. There is a small charge for admission to the complex.

Popular Activities at Summer Palace

You could comfortably spend an entire morning or afternoon at Summer Palace. Here are a nice selection of the activities you can enjoy here:

For even more things to do, check out our Beijing things to do page.


Map

Top Summer Palace Hotel & Accommodation Deals

See all 1,025 properties near Summer Palace
Pod Inn
Pod Inn

Pod Inn

Building 3, Outside Academy of Military, Sciences, No. 75 Xiangshan Road,, Beijing, Beijing
     
    2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Haidian, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kunming Lake and Summer Palace. Zhongguancun Electronics City and Old Summer Palace are also within 6 mi (10 km). Beigongmen Station is 11 minutes by foot and Anheqiao North Station is 16 minutes.

    Aman Summer Palace Beijing
    Aman Summer Palace Beijing

    Aman Summer Palace Beijing

    1 Gongmenqian Street, Summer Palace, Haidian District, Beijing, Beijing
       
      2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Haidian, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Kunming Lake and Summer Palace. Zhongguancun Electronics City and Tsinghua University are also within 3 mi (5 km). Beigongmen Station is 9 minutes by foot and Xiyuan Station is 12 minutes.

      Fuyuanlou Business Hotel - Beijing
      Fuyuanlou Business Hotel - Beijing

      Fuyuanlou Business Hotel - Beijing

      A-No.1, Fuyuan Gate, Haidian District, Beijing, Beijing
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Haidian, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Kunming Lake and Summer Palace. Old Summer Palace and Zhongguancun Electronics City are also within 3 mi (5 km). Beigongmen Station is 11 minutes by foot and Xiyuan Station is 12 minutes.

        Garden Hotel - Beijing
        Garden Hotel - Beijing

        Garden Hotel - Beijing

        No.35 Haidian Street, Haidian District, Beijing, Beijing
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Haidian, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Peking University, Zhongguancun Electronics City, and Summer Palace. Renmin University of China and Beijing Foreign Studies University are also within 3 mi (5 km). Bagou Station is 23 minutes by foot and Xiyuan Station is 27 minutes.

          FX Hotel BeiJing ZhongGuanCun
          FX Hotel BeiJing ZhongGuanCun

          FX Hotel BeiJing ZhongGuanCun

          No.68 North 4th Ring West Road, Haidian District, Beijing, Beijing
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Haidian, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Peking University, Zhongguancun Electronics City, and Tsinghua University. Summer Palace is 2.6 mi (4.1 km) away. Zhongguancun Station is 13 minutes by foot and Suzhoujie Station is 14 minutes.

            The Lake View Hotel Beijing
            The Lake View Hotel Beijing

            The Lake View Hotel Beijing

            No 127 North Street, Zhongguancun, Beijing, Beijing
               
              4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              This family-friendly Beijing hotel is located in Haidian, within 2 mi (3 km) of Peking University, Zhongguancun Electronics City, and Tsinghua University. Old Summer Palace and Summer Palace are also within 3 mi (5 km). Yuanmingyuan Park Station is 8 minutes by foot and East Gate of Peking University Station is 8 minutes.

              Ariva Beijing West Hotel & Serviced Apartment AU$138
              Ariva Beijing West Hotel & Serviced Apartment

              Ariva Beijing West Hotel & Serviced Apartment

              36 Haidian South Road, Haidian District, Beijing, Beijing
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Haidian, this hotel is 1.2 mi (2 km) from Renmin University of China and within 3 mi (5 km) of Zhongguancun Electronics City and Summer Palace. Peking University is 1.4 mi (2.3 km) away. Suzhoujie Station is 6 minutes by foot and Bagou Station is 11 minutes.

                Pod Inn
                Pod Inn

                Pod Inn

                No.58 Wanquanhe Road, Beijing, Beijing
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Haidian, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Renmin University of China, Zhongguancun Electronics City, and Peking University. Tsinghua University and Summer Palace are also within 3 mi (5 km). Suzhoujie Station is 7 minutes by foot and Haidian Huangzhuang Station is 13 minutes.