Old Summer Palace

Old Summer Palace which includes building ruins
Visit the fascinating remains of this formerly lavish complex of imperial palaces, devastated during the 1800s.

The Old Summer Palace once had pride of place in the Chinese Empire, and included opulent gardens, pagodas and towers. It was a symbol of the power and affluence of the royal dynasties, and was also known as Yuanmingyuan, or the Gardens of Perfect Brightness. But the buildings were largely razed to the ground in 1860 and the relics and art stolen during the Second Opium War with the British and the French.

The palace complex was ruined in retaliation for the killing of twenty members of a negotiating team sent by the invading British forces. Widespread looting of the precious porcelain and other artifacts took place when French and British troops arrived. Then, the commanders of these forces decided to burn the imperial palace to discourage the use of kidnapping as a bargaining tool – this took 3,500 soldiers three full days to complete. The ruins have been kept as they are by the Chinese people as a reminder of this act. Stolen antiques are still in many foreign museums and houses of the wealthy to this day.

Thankfully, much of the garden complex survived the fires, and it is still very attractive. The shore of the lake is perfect for a picnic and some bridges, terraces and a few buildings survive from the Qing Dynasty of the 18th century. Admire the Garden of Perfection and Light, or take in the beautiful Garden of Blossoming Spring or the Garden of Eternal Spring during your walk around the enormous 348-hectare site. Children will be delighted by the fantastic labyrinth.

There is a model of the complex at the height of its glory on display in the Yuanmingyuan exhibition hall, while you can also visit the European-style stone palaces. Both of these attractions will incur an extra fee.

The Old Summer Palace is eight kilometres from the centre of Beijing you can take a bus or subway to Yuanmingyuan Park Station. The palace is open longer on summer evenings, and there is a reasonable admission fee.

Top 10 Hotels Near Old Summer Palace

Wenjin Hotel
Wenjin Hotel
4 out of 5
South Gate of Tsinghua University, Chengfu Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100084
The price is S$228 per night from 8 Jul to 9 Jul
Stay at this 4-star luxury hotel in Beijing. Enjoy free WiFi, 3 restaurants and a full-service spa. Our guests praise the restaurant and the comfy beds in their ...
3.8/5 Good! (140 reviews)
"Good location if you visit Tsinghua or Peking university. The room is roomy. The facility is good. The staffs are helpful. However, It will be nice if more seatings are in the lobby."

Reviewed on 24 Nov,2019

Wenjin Hotel
The Lake View Hotel Beijing
The Lake View Hotel Beijing
4.5 out of 5
No 127 North Street, Zhongguancun, Beijing, Beijing, 118305
Stay at this 4.5-star luxury hotel in Beijing. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking and 3 restaurants. Our guests praise the helpful staff in their reviews. Popular ...
3.8/5 Good! (84 reviews)
My staying in the hot August
"I stayed for 2 nights, breakfast was decent but pricey, also had a late supper in the Chinese restaurant downstairs, it was actually pretty good. My room located at the end of 3rd floor which was nice and clean. One thing bothered me quite a bit was during my staying, the 3rd floor hallway had very ..."

Reviewed on 14 Aug,2017

The Lake View Hotel Beijing
Holiday Inn Express Beijing Shangdi, an IHG Hotel
Holiday Inn Express Beijing Shangdi, an IHG Hotel
3 out of 5
No 33 Shangdi East Road, Beijing, Beijing, 100085
Stay at this 3-star business-friendly hotel in Beijing. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking and breakfast. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff in ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (149 reviews)
"The hotel is small but provide basic function. The staffs are friendly. The breakfast is simple but enough. The room is kind of old, need mofity."

Reviewed on 17 Jan,2020

Holiday Inn Express Beijing Shangdi, an IHG Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top Old Summer Palace Hotel Deals

Vision Hotel
Vision Hotel
4.5 out of 5
No.39 Xueyuan Road, Haidian District., Beijing, Beijing, 100191
The price is S$137 per night from 14 Jul to 15 Jul
Vision Hotel
The Lake View Hotel Beijing
The Lake View Hotel Beijing
4.5 out of 5
No 127 North Street, Zhongguancun, Beijing, Beijing, 118305
The Lake View Hotel Beijing
Holiday Inn Express Beijing Shangdi, an IHG Hotel
Holiday Inn Express Beijing Shangdi, an IHG Hotel
3 out of 5
No 33 Shangdi East Road, Beijing, Beijing, 100085
Holiday Inn Express Beijing Shangdi, an IHG Hotel
Wenjin Hotel
Wenjin Hotel
4 out of 5
South Gate of Tsinghua University, Chengfu Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100084
The price is S$228 per night from 8 Jul to 9 Jul
Wenjin Hotel
Holiday Inn Beijing Haidian, an IHG Hotel
Holiday Inn Beijing Haidian, an IHG Hotel
4 out of 5
Building A, No. 89 Shuangqing Rd, Haidian District, Beijing, Beijing, 100085
Holiday Inn Beijing Haidian, an IHG Hotel
Xijiao Hotel Beijing
Xijiao Hotel Beijing
3.5 out of 5
No.18 Wangzhuang Road, Haidian District, Beijing, Beijing, 100083
Xijiao Hotel Beijing
Crowne Plaza Beijing Zhongguancun, an IHG Hotel
Crowne Plaza Beijing Zhongguancun, an IHG Hotel
4.5 out of 5
No.106 Zhi Chun Road, Haidian District, Beijing, Beijing, 100086
The price is S$149 per night from 10 Jul to 11 Jul
Crowne Plaza Beijing Zhongguancun, an IHG Hotel
Ariva Beijing West Hotel & Serviced Apartment
Ariva Beijing West Hotel & Serviced Apartment
4 out of 5
36 Haidian South Road, Haidian District, Beijing, Beijing, 100080
Ariva Beijing West Hotel & Serviced Apartment
Beijing Yanshan Hotel
Beijing Yanshan Hotel
3.5 out of 5
No.38A Zhongguancun Street, Haidian District, Beijing, Beijing, 118305
The price is S$150 per night from 30 Jul to 31 Jul
Beijing Yanshan Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.