Tailor-Made Holiday

Luxury Hosted Holiday to China

The Classic Sites of China plus the Oasis Silk Road City of Dunhuang

13 days

from £15,760pp (excluding flights)

What makes this holiday suggestion to China different is the inclusion of a China Host. A connoisseur of all things Chinese who will accompany you throughout, bridging the cultural gap and helping you to truly understand the country ensuring a unique and unforgettable holiday to China.

  • Travel with a China Host, your own private travel concierge
  • Take a private lunch amidst the ramparts of the Great Wall of China
  •  Explore the fascinating Buddhist artwork of the Mogao Caves 
  • Hike into the dunes to experience the silence of the Taklamakan Desert
  • Glide across Hangzhou’s picturesque West Lake in a private gondola

Travelling with a private China Host

Travelling in China can be a daunting experience with a culture, politics, cuisine and language so far removed from our own. During this holiday to China you will be accompanied by a China Host throughout. A fluent Chinese speaking westerner who knows and loves China, they will know the nuances of the Chinese culture and will be on hand to unravel the mysteries, contradictions and sometimes odd beliefs of the Chinese traditions and ways. They will essentially bridge the gap between cultures.

Able to assist with anything from the simple everyday queries such as where you can buy the best silk to coordinating a spur of the moment interaction with locals or arranging a special evening in a little known restaurant one would never normally dare to enter, serving specialities that would otherwise remain untasted! They will also ensure the best restaurants, rooms, views and seats possible are secured for you. With the everyday logistics of the trip covered and any language barriers removed you will be left free to focus on enjoying the holiday to the maximum.

The Great Wall of China & the Terracotta Warriors

Time in Beijing will be spent exploring the iconic sites of Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace as well as visiting the hidden streets of Beijing’s old quarter, known as hutongs. Leave the city for the day to explore a beautiful section of the Great Wall of China and take lunch on the wall itself.

In the ancient Silk Road city of Xian cycle along the city walls offering a unique perspective of the old city within the walls as well as the modern metropolis on the outside. No visit to Xian would be complete without a visit to the Terracotta Warriors.


The oasis town of Dunhuang, located on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert was once a major stopping point for caravan traders on the Silk Road and a centre of both commercial and cultural exchange. The history of these times is clear to see in the temples, watchtowers and cave art that now dot the area.

The Mogao Caves are the site of one of the most important Buddhist art collections in the world. Spend time exploring some of the 492 caves and their Buddhist statues, carvings and wall paintings. One of the caves known as the ‘library cave’ contains rare scrolls and manuscripts dating as far back as 405 AD. The nearby sand dunes of Singing Sands Mountain offer wonderful views across the undulating desert and Crescent Moon Lake below.

Hangzhou & Shanghai

Hangzhou is probably best known for the large man-made lake at the centre of the city – West Lake. During your stay here visit a Classical Chinese garden to learn the Five Chinese Disciplines of calligraphy, music, incense, flower arranging and tea. Try your hand at some of these ancient crafts. After a private tai chi lesson take to the lake for a private gondola tour.

Board a high speed train for the short journey to Shanghai and spend some time exploring at leisure. Join the locals for an evening stroll along the Bund, Shanghai’s famous waterfront promenade or maybe take in a world class acrobatic show.

How we can make your holiday to China even more special

  • Explore the old quarter of Beijing with a professional photographer who has photographed these hutongs for many years so is known and trusted by many of the residents
  • Take a table tennis lesson with the coach of Olympic and World champions
  • Watch a performance of West Lake Impressions, produced by Zhang Yi Mo, the man responsible for choreographing the Beijing 2008 Olympics Opening Ceremony
  • Join a cookery lesson inside an old French Concession home and learn to prepare traditional Shanghainese dishes.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 15760 £ 510

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Beijing overnight

Day 2

China Host
Meet with your China host who will accompany you for the duration of your travels around China. Acting as your own personal concierge your host will help you uncover a China that would otherwise remain unreachable. Insider knowledge, a deep understanding of the Chinese culture and access to experts in the worlds of the arts, fashion, history, ancient traditions and cuisine as well as enabling you to interact with locals. Executing any on the ground changes to your itinerary your host will ensure a seamless holiday allowing you to just enjoy the experience. Local guides will join you for sightseeing.

Beijing is China's capital, and a city of epic proportions. It is a cauldron of history, culture and enterprise. Offering a feast of elaborate and ambitious architecture, world famous landmarks, and culinary delights.

You will be staying at Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 3

Visit the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square
After lunch you will visit the Forbidden City (Palace Museum) built between 1406 and 1420 and served as the residence of the 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Before entering the Forbidden city complex, visit Tiananmen Square, the scene of many political rallies and the place where Mao’s Mausoleum is located. Lunch included.

Hutong Museum & Walking Tour
Beijing's historic centre was designed in a grid pattern of alleyways or hutong. After the Communist revolution, the character of this formerly exclusive enclave radically changed as the masses moved in, often building rickety tin-roofed shacks in the courtyards of palatial homes. This huddled arrangement gave rise to the communal street-life that formed the upbringing of many current generations of Beijingers. Track the contradictions of this anomalous development through the rooms of the Hutong Museum before strolling through a recently gentrified hutong area in which former palaces have been renovated to their former glory.

You will be staying at Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 4

Great Wall at Jinshanling with Lunch on the Wall
Today visit the Great Wall of China at Jinshanling, located bout 2.5 hours drive from Beijing it is generally considered one of the most beautiful sections of the Great Wall. Built to protect China from the incursions of predatory nomads, the utility and meaning of this fortification has been contested for centuries. Once there, you will be treated to a private banquet on the Wall itself (weather permitting). After lunch take some time for a stroll along this most magnificent of sites.

You will be staying at Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 5

Visit Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven, recognised by its circular blue glazed tiled roof, is a remarkable building that is the symbol of Beijing and is where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties offered sacrifices to heaven and prayed for good harvests. It is set in an expansive park and famed for its 'whispering wall’.

Visit the Summer Palace
The Summer Palace consists of a park and several inter-connected lakes with willows and hump back bridges so often seen in Chinese paintings. It was for a long time an imperial garden but was expanded by the Empress Dowager Cixi who used money earmarked for a new navy for the building project. Of particular interest is a unique marble boat that sits immobile at the edge of the lake.

You will be staying at Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 6

Fly Beijing to Dunhuang

Meaning 'Blazing Beacon', Dunhuang is an oasis city trapped amidst the mountain-like sand dunes of the Gobi Desert. Out of nowhere, it springs into existence after thousands of miles of emptiness.

Dating back over 4000 years, Dunhuang became a major stopping point on the Silk Road due to its role as an oasis. Now more famous for its history than its geography, Dunhuang plays host to the UNESCO-recognised Mogao Caves.

You will be staying at The Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 7

Visit the Mogao Grottoes
The Mogao Grottoes are arguably the best examples of Buddhist cave art in China.

It is said that the caves were begun in the fourth century by a monk who had a vision of a thousand Buddhas. He proceeded to carve the first of several hundred caves into the sandstone cliff face.

Brought to international attention by the discovery of the so-called 'Library Cave' in the early 20th century, 492 grottoes remain. Inside, there are over 2000 statues and 45,000 separate murals, whilst up to 50,000 manuscripts were thought to have been stored in the 'Library Cave'.

Visit Jade Gate Pass (Yumen Guan)
Travel northwest across stony desert to Jade Gate Pass (or Yumen Guan), built in the second century BC during the Western Han Dynasty (206BCE - 24CE). Named after the high quality jade imported to China from Khotan, 800 miles to the west, the Jade Gate Pass - China's westernmost border crossing - indicated to the weary trader that his eastward journey to China's capital was just under half-complete. A nearby relic from this period is an early remnant of the Great Wall. To enthusiasts, what is most fascinating about this 2,100 year old section is the construction materials used to build it layers of stamped earth, sand, straw and brushwood. Before dinner maybe take a wander through the dried fruit and vegetable outdoor market that marks the centre of Dunhuang, deriving its character more from the trade routes of Central Asia than from China.

You will be staying at The Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 8

Morning at Leisure - Maybe visit the nearby Mingsha Sand Dunes.

Fly Dunhuang to Xian

Having existed for more than three millennia and been the capital city of 13 dynasties, Xian, formerly Chang'an, is often considered as being at the heart of Chinese civilisation. Also an ancient trade hub of huge economic importance, it was the eastern terminus of the legendary Silk Road.

Xian remains an important city, packed with sites worth visiting and laid out in a neat arrangement. Among these sites, the world famous Terracotta Army is the highlight, but numerous other historic locations litter the city.

You will be staying at Sofitel Legend Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 9

Terracotta Warriors & Wild Goose Pagoda
Stumbled upon by peasants digging a well in 1974, the 2,000 year old army of the terracotta warriors is a fascinating record of artistic achievement and a grandiose expression of imperial power. Emperor Qin Shihuang was the first emperor of the Chinese people and embarked on a series of huge construction projects including the Great Wall. The best preserved of these undertakings is probably the terracotta warriors, interred within the outer wall of the emperor's mausoleum as his eternal imperial guard. The mound of earth which protects his tomb is believed to be studded with precious stones.

On your return to Xian visit the Wild Goose Pagoda which was built in AD648 by the third emperor of the Tang dynasty, Gao Zong, in memory of his deceased mother. Lunch included.

Visit the Great Mosque & Muslim Quarter
Visit the Great Mosque, one of China’s largest and built in the Chinese style. Although founded in 742 the present layout dates from the 14th century and is made up of four courtyards which contain stone stelae, many trees and ornate arches. The backstreets leading to the Mosque have been home to the city’s Hui community for centuries - Muslims, the Hui form one of China’s 56 minority groups. Take a wander around these streets.

Cycle or Buggy Ride Along the City Walls
The handsome city walls surrounding Xian are in fact taller and wider than the Great Wall with, 98 ramparts placed every 120 metres encircling the older part of the city in a protective embrace. Cycle or take a buggy ride along the wall, offering a unique perspective on Xi'an's two faces - the ancient city within the walls and the emerging modern metropolis on the outside. It should take about an hour to ride the 14 km (9 mile) circuit along the wall around the old city.

You will be staying at Sofitel Legend Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 10

Fly Xian to Hangzhou

Classical Garden Visit with Arts of the Five Disciplines
The Southern Song dynasty (1127 - 1279) was a time of great innovation in the arts and sciences and can be likened to the Renaissance in Europe. The epitome of the learned individual was the literati or scholar gentleman. Visit a classical Chinese garden and experience the arts of the Five Disciplines - calligraphy, music, incense, flower arranging and tea, all of which the scholar gentleman of the past was expected to be proficient in. Try your hand at some of these quintessentially Chinese arts.

Hangzhou was once an imperial capital in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) and is most famous for its lake, the West Lake from which many culinary dishes, mainly soups, derive their names. Exotic names have been given to the ten 'prospects' around the lake and these date from the Qing Dynasty although earlier Song Dynasty 'prospects' were selected but subsequently lost. Names such as 'Observing the Fish at Flower Harbour' and 'Impressions of the Moon above Three Deep Pools'.

You will be staying at Four Seasons Hangzhou, Bed & Breakfast

Day 11

Full Days Sightseeing - Tai chi Lesson, Private Gondola on West Lake & Buddhist Temple District
Take a private tai chi session with wonderful views of the city before boarding a private gondola to tour the romantic West

Lake. After a drive through the tea plantations where the leaves of Longjing are cultivated, visit the Buddhist temple district of Hangzhou. At the foot of a wooded hill, see the Peak That Flew From Afar, a limestone rock face decorated for over four centuries from the 10th century with more than 3,000 Buddhist effigies.

You will be staying at Four Seasons Hangzhou, Bed & Breakfast

Day 12

Travel by high speed train to Shanghai, a journey of around one hour

Spend the remainder of the day at your leisure

You will be staying at Peninsula Hotel Shanghai, Bed & Breakfast

Day 13

Fly Shanghai to London


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Peninsula Hotel Shanghai

Peninsula Hotel Shanghai

The Peninsula Shanghai occupies a splendid location, with direct frontage on the historic Bund....

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Sofitel Legend Hotel

Sofitel Legend Hotel

Once a government guesthouse, Sofitel Legend Hotel has 71 stylish and elegant guestrooms....

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Waldorf Astoria Hotel

Waldorf Astoria Hotel

The striking, contemporary exterior of The Waldorf Astoria stands in contrast to the soft and elegant interior where sleek modern art combines with oriental charm....

View Accommodation

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of China

Clare Higginson, Travel Expert

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Paul Craven, Travel Expert

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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