Summer Palace 颐和园
Majestic and historic summer garden constructed by Chinese Emperors
Word to the wise: Although there are many large restaurants as well as small stalls here - selling a variety of snacks and meals - a cosier alternative is to bring your own picnic and enjoy it by the lake.
The magnificent Summer Palace, first built in 1750 and largely destroyed in 1860, was restored to its original splendour in 1866 and chosen as one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in 1998.
The grounds, historically used as the Imperial Court's residence during hot summer months, covers nearly three square kilometres and is, according to UNESCO, "a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design". The natural scenery of open water surrounded by hills, combined with the traditional Chinese pavilions, temples and bridges, creates a harmonious combination of the natural and the artificial. From the top of Longevity Hill there is a stunning view of the entire lake area, with Beijing's modern city skyline in the distance.