Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan), Beijing

4.1
#7 of 161 in Parks in Beijing
Favorite summer retreat for Qing emperors until its systematic destruction by Anglo-French troops in 1860, Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan) serves as a reminder of the ruthlessness of European gunboat diplomacy. Originally built in the 12th century, this partially restored palace spans 350 hectares (864 acres), expanded in the 18th and early 19th centuries with the help of two Italian Jesuits. Take a boat ride to explore lotus ponds, or stroll along the Jiuzhou lakefront to ponder intricately carved stone ruins and hundreds of scenic spots. Ascend the throne for observing waterworks and the maze of this "Versailles of the East," looted and thoroughly destroyed by the West. The first ever Pekinese dog in the UK, kidnapped by Lord Elgin from this spot as a gift to Queen Victoria, started a real vogue among British elites of the time. Plan to visit Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan) during your Beijing vacation using our convenient Beijing road trip site .
Create an itinerary including Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan)
map
Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan) Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
829 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The park houses the ruins of the old summer palace which is worthwhile visiting- they are well preserved and the maze is a sight to behold. There is also lakes and multiple gardens which make the park...  more »
  • Foreign friends to Beijing, let me accompany her to go to Yuanmingyuan, to tell the truth this cold I really do not want to go, but no way, friends said must come to recall the memory of youth, in fact, is the University of love so little things. I may not have been here for years, but the parking lot is different from what it used to be. Perhaps the reason for the change in the surrounding environment is great. In short, winter to Yuanmingyuan few people, give people very deserted, and even some Xu desolate feeling. We stayed for about 1 hours and came in and out of the South Gate.
    View original
  • The old Summer Palace and its large park is to visit away from the noise of Beijing. Developed by the Qianlong emperor with the help of two French and Italian Jesuit architects, it was destroyed by troops Franco / British during the opium war. What would we say if the Chinese had destroyed Versailles? Let Victor Hugo: this wonder has disappeared. One day, two bandits entered the summer palace. A looted, burned down the other. One of the two winners filled his pockets, that I saw, the other filled his coffers; and one came back in Europe, arm, arm, laughing. This is the story of two bandits. We, Europeans, we are the civilized, and for us, the Chinese are the barbarians. This is what civilization has done to barbarism. Before history, one of the two bandits will be called the France, the other will be called England"The former summer palace and its large park is to be visited far from the noise of Beijing. Developed by Qianlong Emperor with the help of two French and Italian Jesuit architects, it was destroyed by Franco / English troops during the Opium War. What would we say if the Chinese had destroyed Versailles? Let Victor Hugo speak: This wonder has disappeared. One day, two bandits entered the Summer Palace. One looted, the other burned. One of the two conquerors filled his pockets, which, seeing, the other filled his chests; and we came back to Europe, arm in arm, laughing. This is the story of the two bandits. We Europeans are the civilized, and for us, the Chinese are the barbarians. This is what civilization has done to barbarism. In front of history, one of the two bandits will be called France, the other will be called England
    View original

Plan your trip to Beijing

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in Beijing

Beijing offers accommodations to suit the needs of every traveler, with clean, affordable hostels open to foreign backpackers, practical mid-range hotels for the business trip and group tour, and luxury four- and five-star hotels available at reasonable prices. Look for location first: map your overnight accommodations to the attractions you want to see, because staying far from the central business district and city center can mean a lot of time in transit.
Live like a local, find unique places to stay
Millions of travel reviews on TripAdvisor

Plans in Beijing by other users

23 days in China BY A USER FROM CANADA May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 22 days in China BY A USER FROM CANADA May, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 17 days in East Asia BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM March, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: March, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Beijing BY A USER FROM EGYPT June, culture, beaches, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, beaches, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 14 days in Beijing BY A USER FROM EGYPT June, culture, beaches, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, beaches, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 22 days in Asia BY A USER FROM CYPRUS July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 12 days in China BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM March, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: March, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 60 days in China BY A USER FROM CANADA March, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 35 days in China BY A USER FROM IRELAND July, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 7 days in China BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, historic sites, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, historic sites, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 60 days in Asia BY A USER FROM ISRAEL August, culture, relaxing, beaches, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, relaxing, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 17 days in China BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: April, culture, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans