From the Great Hall to the Great Wall: 11 reasons to fly direct from Edinburgh to Beijing

Published Jun 19, 2023

From the Great Hall to the Great Wall, direct flights from Edinburgh to Beijing means quicker, easier access to one of the world's most alluring countries.

You've got the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China and Olympic Park along with some of the best food you'll find anywhere and access to some of Asia's finest cities and most spectacular landscapes.

And all of this without the need to hop off one plane and onto another - one flight and just a few hours away.

So if you're pondering a trip to China check out our travel checklist for inspiration.

Best of Beijing - your checklist

✅ Get yourself to the Great Wall

Probably the coolest hike your Strava will ever record. While it's not technically inside the city the Great Wall is not to be missed when you're in Beijing.

With regular buses to one of the wonders of the world, there's no excuse for not walking one of the best, most well-preserved sections.

Can you see it from space? We'll let others decide.

✅ Visit the Forbidden City (you are allowed...)

Don't let the name put you off, you are allowed to visit. Just as well because it's magnificent.

The imperial palace is said to be one of the most impressive you'll find anywhere in the world, and is probably the best example of Chinese architecture you'll find. It's also massive - more than three times bigger than the Louvre Palace in Paris.

✅ Take to Tiananmen Square

A name which immediately resonates with people across the world.

This is one of the largest public squares on the planet and can be combined with a visit to the Forbidden City - two birds with one stone and all that. Take in your surroundings and snap a photo of the Tiananmen Gate - one of the most symbolic buildings in China.

Without question one of the country's most significant places. A staple for any visit to Beijing.

✅ Explore the sprawling Olympic Park and see the 'Bird's Nest'

Time to live out your childhood dream of being an Olympian by visiting one of the most iconic games of recent times.

Few places can hold a candle (or Olympic torch) to Beijing's sprawling Olympic Park. Initially built for the 2008 Olympic Games and Paralympics - and housing ten different venues along with the Olympic Village - the park is now a multifunctional activity centre for public use.

One of the most impressive elements is the 'Bird's Nest' National Stadium, a real feather in the cap of Beijing and feat of architecture.

✅ For a slice of old China check out the Beijing Hutongs

People are working hard to preserve this slice of old Beijing, and you should make the most of it while you can. Hutong, a network of traditional narrow alleyways winding through China's capital, are far less prominent in modern Beijing than they once were.

The Shijia Hutong Museum is committed to protecting these, and is a great place to learn about the history and impact these had on China down the years.

✅ Kick back with a cocktail in Sanlitun entertainment district

Good times are guaranteed in Sanlitun, one of Beijing's most prominent entertainment districts. Think huge, modern shopping malls along with bars and restaurants of all shapes and sizes.

Main areas to check out are Taikoo Li, Bar Street, and Worker's Street. We can't promise you'll find any Scottish lager down there though...

✅ Try some Beijing duck, because why wouldn't you?

Don't duck the opportunity to try the dish Beijing is so famous for. In truth nobody does it better.

Depending on where in the city you're based we'd recommend doing a spot of research to scope out the best spots.

✅ Visit one of the city's famous food streets. Yes, food street. You read right!

Not sure about you but the concept of a food street sounds like a dream to us. That being said, there's much more than food on the go.

The Wangfujing Food Market serves up street food and some of the most delicious snacks in all of Beijing - think barbecue kebabs, pancakes, sweets and more. Nanluoguxiang is another highlight, and well worth a few hours of your time.

Beyond Beijing

🏙️ See the sights in Shanghai

Where east meets west, Shanghai is a really heavy mix of eastern and western customs - and it makes the city what it is.

It's an impressive place with an incredible pace to it, and we'd always suggest combining Beijing with some time in Shanghai if time and budget allows.

Watch the sunset from atop the Oriental Pearl TV Tower - the highest of its kind in Asia, lap up the fun of Shanghai Disney Resort, and see the well-preserved ancient houses and traditional lifestyle of Fengjing Water Town.

Or take a stroll along the famous Bund and grab some pics for the 'gram.

⛰️ Scale one of China's 'five great mountains'

We've got our munros and corbetts, China's got the five great mountains. Taishan and Hengshan are both within reach of Beijing, and are well worth a hike.

To reach the top of Taishan you can either take the 7,200 stone steps, or hop in a cable car if that's more your speed. The views from the top are spectacular - a selfie is a must, obviously.

🗺️ Map your way to Xi'an and explore the Terracotta Army museum

Xi'an is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China - and not to be missed if you're looking to combine Beijing with another stop.

This historic city is the oldest of China's Four Great Ancient Capitals, home to the UNESCO World Heritage recognised Terracotta Army - one of the top archaeological finds of the 20th century and described as the 'eighth wonder of the world'.

Picking up some essentials at the airport?

If you're looking to pick up a pre-flight bargain or a holiday essential once you arrive at the airport then you're in luck.

We have an extensive selection of retail options on offer to passengers, selling everything from designer clothes and electronics to sunglasses and suitcases.

Find out what we've got on offer before and after security here.

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