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  • China
  • Grand Tour of China

Grand Tour of China

25 Day Escorted Tour

China, East Asia
Challenging Pace

From the cosmopolitan cities of Beijing and Shanghai to the remote ancient town of Lijiang and the stunning Li River in Guilin, explore China in depth as you visit the most iconic sights as well as discovering its hidden treasures on this incredible 25-day journey.

Encompassing the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Great Wall, Terracotta Army, Kunming Stone Forest and the city of Lijiang, experience the rich history of the great cities as well as the breathtaking landscapes of southern rural provinces.

2022 Dossier

2023 Dossier

Tour Highlights

  • Xi'an and the Terracotta Army
  • Great Wall of China
  • Chengdu Panda Breeding Centre
  • Yangtze and Li River Cruises
  • Sail past the Three Gorges
  • Ancient cities of Dali & Lijang
  • Full Day Tours of Shanghai & Beijing
  • UNESCO Stone Forest
  • Jade and Dragon Snow Mountain
  • Ancient water village of Zhuijiajiao
Number of nights


Day 1
UK to Shanghai

Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight.

Day 2
Shanghai to Suzhou


On arrival in Shanghai you will be met by your local guide and transferred to Suzhou for dinner.

Day 3
Suzhou to Hangzhou

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After breakfast depart for Suzhou, the Garden City of China. On arrival, visit the Master of the Nets Garden, one of the finest oriental gardens, as well as the local silk mill. Take a stroll around Guanqian Street. Continue onto Hangzhou.

Day 4

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Enjoy a relaxing boat trip on the scenic West Lake and marvel at the Six Harmonies Pagoda. Spend the afternoon in Qing Hefang ancient walking street.

Day 5
Hangzhou to Shanghai via Zhujiajiao

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Depart Hanzghou to visit the ancient water village of Zhujiajiao, with its arched stone bridges and quiet alleyways. Continue to Shanghai to visit the French Concession and the arts area of Tianzifang. Next visit to the magnificent Bund, followed by a walk along Nanjing Road, the main shopping area in Shanghai. Tonight, take in the beautiful scenery on a night cruise along the Huangpu River.

Day 6

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Visit the Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai Museum and the Xintiandi entertainment district. Guanqian Street, one of the 'Four Most Famous Walking Streets'.

Day 7
Shanghai to Yangtze River Cruise

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Transfer to Shanghai and fly to Wuhan, then take coach or bullet train to Yichang. Following dinner in Yichang, you will board your ship for the Yangtze River cruise.

Day 8
Yangtze River Cruise

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Cruise upstream to reach your first shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam itself and the Five Stage Ship Lock*. In the afternoon you'll sail past the Xiling Gorge the largest and most famous of the Three Gorges.*A ride in the elevator can be booked locally at an additional charge.

Day 9
Yangtze River Cruise

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Take a morning tour of the Shennong Stream before continuing on to the two other Gorges; the prettiest Wu Gorge, and the shortest, Qu Tang Gorge. An optional tour of the White Emperor City will be available in the afternoon.

Day 10
Yangtze River Cruise

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

The final day of the cruise will pass through the Fengdu Ghost City. With nearly 2000 years history, this is believed to have been the place where souls go to pass three tests before entering the afterlife.

Day 11
Chongqing to Chengdu

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

You will disembark your ship at Chongqing and travel, by bus or bullet train, to Chengdu. Stroll around the People's Park, the ancient streets of the Wide and Narrow Alleys, and Jinli Old Street.

Day 12

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Spend the morning experiencing a once in a lifetime trip to the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Centre, home to one of China's largest habitat of pandas. Stroll around the enclosures, take photos and try to spot the lesser-known Red Pandas. Optional excursion - Sichuan Culture Evening Show - Special dance and culture show highlighting China from the 14th Century onwards.

Day 13
Chengdu to Lijiang

Breakfast & Lunch

Fly to Lijiang, a famous remote, ancient town with breath-taking scenery. Visit the Pool of the Black Dragon which, built in 1737, affords stunning views of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.

Day 14
Lijiang to Dali

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This morning takes you on a cable car ride to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the region's tallest mountain and the most southern glacier in the northern hemisphere. You will also visit Yufeng Temple and Baisha village before driving to Dali.

Day 15
Dali to Kunming

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Visit a family of the Bai minority group before heading on to the Three Pagodas of Chong Sheng. Following some time walking around the Old Town, you will take a drive to Kunming.

Day 16
Kunming to Guilin

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Today's excursion is to Stone Forest a UNESCO listed area with incredible limestone formations. You will be transferred to the airport in the afternoon in time for your evening flight to Guilin.

Day 17

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Arguably China's most picturesque region, Guilin is home to the stunning Karst Mountains and Li River. Visit the Reed Flute Caves with their rock formations and inscriptions, as well as Elephant Hill before walking around the beautiful lakes.

Day 18
Guilin to Yangshuo

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Sail for around 5 hours along the Li River, through unforgettable scenery, to Yangshuo. Spend the afternoon exploring West Street with the option to see a theatrical performance of The Impression of Liu Sanjie - a show portraying life and culture of the local Yangshuo people using a stunning natural backdrop.

Day 19
Yangshuo to Xi'an

Breakfast & Dinner

Spend the morning relaxing in beautiful Yangshou before departing for Guilin in the late afternoon for a flight to Xi'an.

Day 20

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Considered by many to be the 'Eighth Wonder of the World', the magnificent Terracotta Warriors is a highlight of the tour. After admiring the awe-inspiring tomb, continue to the Old City Wall and Muslim Quarter before travelling back in time at a Tang Dynasty dancing show.

Day 21
Xi'an to Beijing

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Today enjoy half-day sightseeing in Xi'an, which includes a visit to the Terracotta Warriors, considered by many to be the 'Eighth Wonder of the World', as well as a visit to the Wild Goose Pagoda.

Day 22

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Take a morning Bullet Train to Beijing, first visiting Antique culture street-Liulichang and then the Temple of Heaven. Enjoy an optional excursion to watch a Kung Fu show for an additional fee.

Day 23

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Another full day in Beijing allows you time to stroll around the magnificent Summer Palace and be taken to one of China's most important political landmarks, Tiananmen Square. You will also visit the Forbidden City before being mesmerised by a fantastic Chinese acrobatic performance.

Day 24

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Start the day with a leisurely walk along the iconic Great Wall of China at Juyongguan pass. Spend time at the Cloisonne factory before heading back to your hotel via a photo stop at the impressive Olympic Stadium. Tonight, delight in a traditional Peking Duck dinner.

Day 25
Beijing to the UK

Transfer to Beijing Airport for your flight home to the UK, via Shanghai, or continue on to your Hong Kong extension.

View Full Itinerary

Dates & Prices

Price (per person)
Dates available
February 2023
from £3,099
1 Date
7th Feb - 3rd Mar
March 2023
from £3,389
1 Date
7th Mar - 31st Mar
April 2023
from £3,389
2 Dates
18th Apr - 12th May
25th Apr - 19th May
May 2023
from £3,449
1 Date
9th May - 2nd Jun
September 2023
from £3,849
2 Dates
5th Sep - 29th Sep
19th Sep - 13th Oct
October 2023
from £3,539
1 Date
3rd Oct - 27th Oct
November 2023
from £3,239
1 Date
7th Nov - 1st Dec


The hotels listed below are provided for guidance only and final confirmation of your accommodation will be sent to you approximately 90 days before you travel
Ocean Hotel
2 nights
Shanghai, China
More details
Culture Plaza Hotel
2 nights
Hangzhou, China
More details
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Tour Reviews

Karen Hall

02 Nov 19

All the hotels were clean and comfortable. Chinese beds are mostly quite hard, which was OK for me. There was a good mix of styles varying from 'corporate' in the cities to 'rustic' in the countryside.

Granville Harris

23 May 19

All of a very good or excellent standard.

George Moor

07 May 19

Throughout all the hotels were welcoming and well suited for hitting the sack after the arduous pace of the tour I found no negatives what so ever

Vicki Haskell

28 Apr 19

Our tour guide, Lee, was a wonderful group leader; friendly, professional, conscientious, caring, helpful, and went out of his way to make sure we all had a really enjoyable and memorable trip. He anticipated potential problems and took measures to prevent them, and when a number of the group became unwell he adjusted the itinerary pace to allow for rest and recovery. My husband and I celebrated our 20th ("China") anniversary whilst on the Yangtze cruise, and not only did Lee organize a cake and a gift, but spoke to our cabin steward who decorated our room too. We also had our birthdays whilst on tour, and received a lovely cake each.

K Raine

12 Dec 18

Tour manager from Shanghai to Beijing Lee was excellent, very patient, good sense of humour, friendly and dealt well with people who were ill (not fit enough to walk/ climb ect). He also coped well when a problem occurred. We were well looked after by our guide always smiling, cheerful and eager to please.

Lynne Mansley

05 Nov 18

Better than what I anticipated.

Brian Royston

29 May 18

Many hotels were excellent. Generally, meals served in hotels were better than those in restaurants.

Kang Yeong

09 Dec 17

Almost all hotels stayed were excellent. The services were very efficient.

Stephen Tett

06 Nov 17

Hotels were all very good

Basil Zienko

25 Oct 17

I was happy with all the hotels.

Kenneth Swift

18 Sep 17

Good quality hotels and clean.

Beijing hotel in good place as near Olympic stadium - so can walk out at night.

Either tour guide or hotel should provide a list - map of location for those people wanting to walk out at night. Much free time just left stranded - especially Yangshou

Rodger William Doughty

20 Jun 17

The majority of hotels were very good, just a couple were a bit basic.

John Watson

15 Mar 17

Very good range of high standard four star hotels. Some beds a bit hard for western tastes, CNCC in Beijing was first class and better located than Landmark.

Janine Holder

10 Oct 16

I thoroughly enjoyed this trip. It was a very comprehensive tour which encompassed many different interests and all the hotels were of a high standard.

Alan Speed

17 Oct 14

Very impressed with all hotels on this trip

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Extend Your Tour

Grand Tour of China with Hong Kong City Stay

4 Day Extension



Important Information

A visa is required for entry into China. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa for you on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote 'Mercury Holidays'. All applicants who wish to apply for a China Tourist Visa must do so in person at the Chinese Visa Application Centre in London, Manchester, Belfast or Edinburgh where fingerprint information will be collected. Fingerprints are not required for children under the age of 14 and adults over the age of 70. The visas take around 10 working days to issue and are valid for unlimited trips to China for 2 years from the date of issue. We therefore recommend that you apply for your visa 8 weeks before travel, however please be aware that your passport will be required for the application so make sure that you will not need it during this time.

We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.

If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

All flights are operated by China Eastern Airlines. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage and hand luggage of 5kg not exceeding 56 cm x 36 cm x 23 cm in size. A return Business Class upgrade for international legs of the tour is available, please speak to our reservations department for further details. IMPORTANT: Please note that final flight details will be confirmed on your final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 10 days before departure. A printed E-ticket is no longer required at check-in, all you need to do is present your passport to the staff at the desk and your boarding pass will be given to you.

It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.

This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, often on foot, and includes some climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 40. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.

This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip. You will also be joined by a local guide in each of the cities which you visit, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.

The currency in China is the Renminbi, known as RMB or CNY. It is often referred to as the Yuan. We recommend that you exchange your currency before you leave the UK. US Dollars are widely accepted in China should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you.

You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approx. £500-£600 per person will be sufficient for the duration of the tour. There are some optional tours available to purchase locally and these generally need to be paid in cash. Therefore please allow an additional £100 if you wish to book any of these. It is customary to tip your national guide, local guide and driver approximately £3.00 (CNY30.00) per person per day. During your Yangtze Rivercruise it is customary to tip the cruise staff approximately £15 per person for the total duration. For your convenience, this will be collected by your National Guide on the first day of your tour in Shanghai, approximately £90.00 (CNY900.00) for the total duration per person. Tips are collected in Chinese Yuan.