History School Trip To Beijing & Shanghai
On a history trip to China, you can combine the opulent imperial sites of Beijing with a visit to Shanghai which is at the forefront of China’s modernisation.
Visit the Forbidden City
Ride a rickshaw through Beijing streets
See the giant Jade Buddha statue in Shanghai
Walk the Great Wall of China
*Visa costs not typically included in price
It was here on October 1st 1949 that Chairman Mao Tse-Tung announced the founding of the People’s Republic of China to the world. Built during the Ming Dynasty the square is named after Tiananmen Gate, which lies to the north. It’s the third largest of its kind in the world and a significant cultural landmark with the People’s Heroes monument in the centre.
This palace lies at the heart of Beijing and was the home of the emperors for over 500 years. Completed in 1420, it is the biggest palace complex in the world covering 74 hectares. Surrounded by a 52m-wide moat, it’s an adventure to explore the labyrinth of rooms, halls and gardens with magnificent decoration and rare curiosities throughout.
Situated just outside Beijing, the Summer Palace is the grandest and most well preserved park in China. Construction began in 1750 on these luxury gardens for the royal family, and gradually they have been developed into the magnificent expanse of lawns, streams, bridges, secret gardens and pavilions scattered across the shores of the Kunming Lake.
Considered to be one of the wonders of the world, the Great Wall today was built in Ming Dynasty and is over 6,000 km long. An amazing feat of defensive architecture, intended to protect the Chinese Empire from invaders, it winds a path over rugged country and steep mountains. Sections within easy reach of Beijing have been restored so that visitors can walk on the wall and see the watch towers.
Once used by emperors in the heaven worship ceremony, the temple park in Beijing is now one of the grandest examples of China’s sacrificial buildings. First built in 1420, the temple has been enlarged and rebuilt by both the Ming and Qing dynasties. At the heart of the Temple is the Hall of Prayer for good harvest, where the Emperor requested good harvests in his divine capacity as the son of heaven.
Take a Rickshaw ride through Beijing’s traditional back alleys known as Hutongs. See traditional courtyard residences characteristic of how the majority of the population lived in Beijing until the mid-twentieth century. Many Hutongs have been demolished in recent years to make way for modern development but some areas have been protected because of their historical and cultural significance.
The Chinese tea house has the same cult following as our coffee shop culture. It’s a great way for students to get a taste of oriental tea tradition. The tea ceremony reveals different types of scent, colour, taste and brewing methods for individual blends and their health benefits. The ceremony is an art form and a joy to watch before enjoying a cup.
By population, Shanghai is the largest city in the world and the tour gives students a real sense of the city’s global influence. We explore the historical district of Bund as a modern cultural hub, with a trip to see the jade Buddha statues in Jade Buddha Temple and the Oriental Pearl Tower – the iconic structure resembling pearls falling onto a jade plate.
The ancient art of Chinese calligraphy is still widely practised and respected in East Asian culture. It’s about capturing life through traces on silk or paper, a dynamic technique prized for both its aesthetic and expressive qualities. Students take part in a lesson by a skilled calligrapher, and keep their finished sheets as a memento to take home.
Acrobatic art is a traditional Chinese performing art rooted in Chinese culture and dating back to 475-221BC. The ancient acrobatics reflected the lives of the Chinese people and today, all provinces of China have their own acrobatic troupes. Acts such as group gymnastics, meteor juggling and tight rope feats make for a spectacular show for the students.
Why groups like it:
- Understand the rise of communism in China, its development and its influence today
- Explore changes and continuities between imperial and communist China
- Reflect on the influence of the past on modern life – the streets, sites and art tell the story of this city and its people through history
- Think about historical events in China and the influence they’ve had on the rest of the world
Students will have had an opportunity to:
- View a wide range of sites and monuments commemorating China’s history
- Learn how monuments’ meanings change over time in the light of changing attitudes and events
- Understand the importance of the fall of the empire and the Chinese revolution, and their effect on the rest of the world
- Gain awareness of 20th-century history, the downfall of the emperor, the impact of World War II and the effects of communism