8 romantic things to do in Beijing

8 romantic things to do in Beijing

See the romantic side of Beijing with these 8 honeymoon ideas from Clare Wilson

1. Experience park life

Go to Ritan Park first thing in the morning for a real taste of Chinese life. Named after its Temple of the Sun, the park dates back to 1530 and is one of Beijing's oldest. If you're lucky you'll see everything from Tai Chi and Mah-Jongg (an ancient puzzle game), to couples ballroom dancing, sword-fighting, and community singing. There are ponds and pines for quiet contemplation plus a climbing wall and outdoor gym for fitness fanatics - a favourite with Chinese pensioners.

2. Discover the Summer Palace and Old Summer Palace

The Summer Palace in Beijing's north-east Haidian district is a romantic afternoon's exploring. Get a view over Kunming Lake from the top of Longevity Hill and wander over the graceful 17-Arch Bridge. If you want somewhere a little further off the beaten track, visit the nearby Old Summer Palace and lose yourselves in the Garden of Perfection and Light or the former labyrinth, the Garden of Yellow Flowers.

3. Pedal around Houhai Lake on a bicycle built for two

Houhai and neighbouring Xihai, located north-west of the Forbidden City, are great places to spend an afternoon whether you hire bikes (tandems are available…), a pedalo boat, or just go for a stroll round the lake. Wind down with cocktails on a rooftop bar while you watch the sun go down, before heading to a cosy restaurant to enjoy dinner for two.

4. Lose yourselves in Beijing's hip and historic hutongs

Their numbers may be dwindling, but there are still places to see the city's historic hutongs - narrow alleyways - thanks in part to a resurgence of interest from travellers. The restored buildings along Nanluoguxiang (near the Drum and Bell Towers) combine hip and historic reasonably sympathetically; to the south of Tiananmen Square you'll find the narrowest alleyway in Beijing, Qianshi Hutong (just off Zhubaoshi Jie); and the city's most crooked alley, Jiuwan Hutong, which is off Liuxue Lu.

5. Indulge in Peking Roast Duck

Don't miss trying Peking Roast Duck in all its glory while you're in the delicacy's home city. A far cry from pre-shredded take-aways at home, you can snack on the sweet, crispy skin before testing your pancake rolling skills when the rest of the bird (or as much of it as you've ordered) arrives a few minutes later. Although you'll be able to get Roast Duck at most restaurants in the city, 'Da Dong Roast Duck,' which has two locations in Chaoyang District, is particularly good. The menu is in English and has pictures, and there are plenty of other dishes to try.

6. Go back in time at Cuandixia

Escape from the hustle and bustle of Beijing and head 90km north-west to the picturesque hamlet of Cuandixia for delicious home cooked food and some of the most romantic scenery you'll find in northern China. The architecture of the village hasn't changed much in 400 years, so the facilities in the homestays and guesthouses are very basic. Cuandixia can be done as a day trip if this doesn't sound like your idea of a romantic getaway. If you hike to the neighbouring hamlet of Baiyu, you'll be rewarded with hillside shrines and caves on your way and there's a further two-hour climb to the Huang Cao Liang section of the Great Wall for more hardened trekkers.

7. Explore The Great Wall of China

You shouldn't miss visiting the Great Wall of China on any trip to Beijing. There are many different sections to choose from. Avoid the over-developed and touristy Badaling section and head instead to Mutianyu if you're doing a day trip, or the section between Simatai and Jinshanling if you want a good hike.

Check out these 8 ways to hike the Great Wall

8. Take in a show

Beijing has several mainstay shows which will leave you gasping in astonishment. The Legend of Kung-fu show, two different (and equally incredible) Chinese acrobatics shows and the Peking Opera all make for a good evening's entertainment. All the shows run twice nightly so you'll have plenty of opportunity to enjoy the spectacles, although the second performance of the evening may be cancelled if the demand that day hasn't been high enough.

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