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How to Plan a Trip to China from UK

China is a country that brims with traditions and history, modern development and cultural vibrancy, which is quite similar to United Kingdom. For years, China holidays are fast becoming a favorite for UK tourists. So many people wonder how to plan a trip to China from UK. On this page, with the China travel guide, you will know the best time and places to visit China, China tourist attractions, and tips on visa application, flights, accommodation, etc.

Trip to China from UK

Where is China?

Check the world map showing the location of China: China is located in East Asia, the west bank of the Pacific, the eastern hemisphere and the northern hemisphere.

There are 14 countries bordering China by land, including North Korea, Russia, Mongolia Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. So you may extend your tour from China to other Asian countries. 

Distance from UK to China

How far is it from United Kingdom to China? The shortest air travel distance between the two countries is 7,799 km / 4,846 miles/ 4211 nautical miles. Your air journey to China will take around 12 hours.  

Time Difference between United Kingdom and China

China has five time zones, though, it uses UTC/GMT+08:00 as standard time. We call it Beijing Time or China Time. 

China is normally 8 hours ahead of UK (UTC±0). But when UK is in summer time and at time zone of UTC+1, you are 7 hours behind China. 

Location of China
Geographic Differences between China and UK
United Kingdom
GPS Coordinates (DMS)
35° 51´ 41.9760'' N
104° 11´ 43.4400'' E

55° 22´ 40.9800'' N 
3° 26´ 9.4920'' W

Average Elevation
1084 m (6,037 ft)
162 m (531 ft)

When to Go - Best Time to Visit China

Before your holiday to China from UK, you’d better have a general idea of China climate and weather. China has four distinct seasons. Spring goes from March to May, when many parts begin to gets warm. Summer is from June to August, very hot and frequently rainy in South and East China. Autumn is from September to November, with mild, comfortable weather. And winter is from December to next February, when North China is extremely cold and South China is still warm. 

For British travelers, April to May and September to October are the best time to visit China, when most scenic destinations of China are at its best, and the weather is good. So it is also the peak season of China. 
If you are looking for China holidays to experience the old traditions and essence or Chinese culture, you may visit the country when the traditional festivals are held, such as Dragon Boat Festival (Zongzi Festival) normally in early June, Mid-autumn Festival (Moon-cake festival) normally in late September or early October, and Lantern Festival normally in early February. 
Avoid traveling to China during National Day Holiday on Oct.1-7 and May Day on May 1-3, when the attractions are packed with tourists and the hotel rates are rather high. 

Trip to China from UK

How to Apply for Chinese Visa

Do UK passport holders need a visa to visit China? The answer is yes. British nationals are required to obtain a visa to enter mainland China, but can travel to Macao and Hong Kong without a visa. You can summit your Chinese visa application to the visa office of the Embassy/Consulate-General Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Great Britain.  >> How to Apply for China Visa
You can find embassy or consulate-General of China in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Belfast.
Email Address

Visa office of Embassy of PRC in UK


Consulate-General of PRC in Manchester


Consulate-General of PRC in Edinburgh

0131- 3373220

Consulate-General of PRC in Belfast

Requirements for UK citizens travel to China: You need to apply for L-Visa as a tourist. The required documents include valid passport, a complicated visa Application form and photo, proof of your China itinerary including round-trip air ticket booking record and proof of hotel reservation, etc.

For Hong Kong Visa and Macau Visa

British Passport Holders are exempt from a visa to visit Hong Kong for up to 90 days, and Macau for up to 90 days.
UK passport holders can have free-transit in a dozen China cities and provinces:

China visa for UK nationals

Entry Cities - How to Get to China from UK

London used to be the only city in UK that was connected with China with direct flights. Thanks to the launch of non-stop flight from Manchester to Beijing in 2016, now UK tourists can plan a trip to China from either London (Heathrow Airport) or Manchester. The entry cities in China include Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. 

>> Further reading: China Entry Regulation Briefing

Non-stop Flights to China from Australia

Currently there are direct flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, China from London and Manchester, UK, operated by British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, China Eastern Airlines and some other airlines. 
Departure City in UK
Arrival City in China
Notes for Schedule
Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou
Daily flights
Beijing, Hong kong
Daily flight from Manchester to Hong Kong
Notes: The air route and flight schedule are for reference only. Please check the official website of each airline for the accurate information and the airfares.

direct flights to China from London

Where to Go – the Best Places to Visit in China for UK Tourists 

Before your travel to China from UK, you may need the travel guides to know where to go, best places to visit, the best cultural and scenic destinations in China. Based on the suggestions and feedbacks of our previous UK clients, here we offer the to-do list of China holiday destinations to help plan your China trip. 

Top Historical Destinations

Beijing: Capital of ancient China and modern China, where the UNESCO world heritage sites Great Wall and Forbidden City are located, Beijing should be on your travel bucket list. It is a destination ideal for history and culture travel, where you’ll learn the ups and downs of the long Chinese history. There is a wealth of historical sights including Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Lama Temple, etc.  
Xian: It is without doubt the best historical destination in China and beyond, and used to be the capital of 13 dynasties for around 2000 years in Chinese history. Terracotta Amy is regarded the most important archaeological finds in 20th Century and shows unique value and significance in Chinese art history and military history. 

Travel to China from UK

Top Cultural Destinations

Chengdu: A cultural modern city features time-honored traditions, important cultural sites, numerous quaint tea houses (with unique Sichuan Tea Ceremony), elegant old streets, excellent spicy foods and a dozen ancient towns nearby. Furthermore, it is the hometown of giant panda, thus you can have a close contact with these cutest fur balls and even hug a panda baby. 
Shanghai: One of the most popular destinations in Asia, Shanghai is as modern and busting as any other metropolis on earth, yet also features cultural traditions going back hundreds of years ago. There are art museums and galleries, old streets and traditional Shikumen dwelling houses, colonial period buildings on the Bund, water towns…
Ancient Silk Road: The earliest and most important road of culture exchange between the East and West, it used to help transport Chinese porcelains and silk to the West Asia and far European countries. Today, it has been listed as a UNESCO cultural heritage and retains many valuable cultural & historical sites to be explored.  

China tour from UK

Top Scenic Destinations

Guilin & Yangshuo: If your China holidays emphasize on nature, make sure you don’t miss the relaxed, inspiring Li River Cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo and the spectacular Longji Terraced Fields, the best of its kind in China. Also enjoy yourself by hiking or biking to Yangshuo countryside and exploring the beautiful Karst caves. 
Zhangjiajie: More and more UK tourists wish to travel to Zhangjiajie now. The quartz sandstone peak forests are rare on earth. A skywalk on the Glass Bridge is exciting, nerve-wracking and memorable. Tianmen Mountain is also a must-visit sight, with world’s longest cable car journey and the “Gate to Heaven”, attracting many extreme sports enthusiasts to challenge it. 
Yangtze Cruise: The cruise trip normally starts in Chongqing, and ends in Yichang. You will discover beautiful landscape cruising to Goddess Stream, Shennong Stream, Qutang Gorge, and experience the uniqueness of China when visiting Ghost City of Fengdu, Shibaozhai, Three Gorges Dam, etc.

China tour package from UK

Recommended Tour Packages to China from UK

Guided China tour or free independent travel (FIT) in China? If you are first timers to China, or if you have not friends here and don’t speak any Chinese, a guide tour is the better option. If you have a tight budget or you plan to travel alone, you may to join a group tour. Our small group tour packages are well crafted and taking you to the top destinations of China. 
Below recommended China package tours are for your reference. We promise you flexibility and the best price we can offer. The detailed itinerary can be adjusted to meet your requirements. Or you can contact us to tailor make a tour holiday to China from UK. >> Check our clients’ reviews on TripAdvisor.

12 Days China Panda Tour
Destinations: Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Guilin, Shanghai
Highlight Attractions: China Great Wall, Palace Museum, Beijing hutong, Terracotta Amy Museum, Dujiangyan Panda Base, Jiezi Ancient Town, Reed Flute Cave, Li River, Yangshuo, Shanghai Tower 
Why Recommended: A classic China tour for you to visit ancient architecture wonders, UNESCO world natural and cultural heritages, panda base, one of the best scenic destinations in the world... 
Destinations: Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Chongqing, Yangtze Cruise, Yichang, Shanghai

Highlight Attractions: Forbidden City, Mutianyu Great Wall, Olympic Park, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Terracotta Warriors, Ancient City Wall of Xian, Li River, Yangshuo, Yangtze Cruise, Shanghai Old Street, Shanghai Tower
Why Recommended: A relaxed and enjoyable China tour package takes you to the most popular tourist destinations in China, and two of the prettiest rivers in the world.

Destinations: Shanghai, Xian, Dunhuang, Turpan, Urumqi, Beijing

Highlight Attractions: Yu Garden, the Bund, Terracotta Warriors, Xian City Wall, Dunhuang Yadan National Geologic Park, Mogao Grottoes, Gaochang Ancient City, Bezeklik Cave, Heavenly Lake, Beijing Palace Museum, Badaling Great Wall
Why Recommended: Travel to ancient ilk Road for the legendary towns, archaeological & cultural sites and a diversity of landscapes.

10 Days Tour to Zhangjiajie and Mt. Huangshan

Destinations: Beijing, Zhangjiajie, Mt. Huangshan, Shanghai
Highlight Attractions: Mutianyu Great Wall, Palace Museum, Temple of Heaven, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Tianmen Mountain, Yellow Mountain, Yuyuan Garden, Oriental Pearl TV 
Why Recommended: Explore iconic destinations of China and the most beautiful mountains:  'floating Hallelujah Mountain' and Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie, and Yellow Mountain nearby Shanghai.


Travelers’ Reviews on Our China Tours

When traveling with Top China Travel, we promise to provide what really interests you and things you need.
Mr.Diarmid Blyth (13 pax) from UK give a positive feedback about the tour package we arrange: 

“I just had a wonderful birthday surprise with our lunch today. Thanks for helping arrange the cake.
Very sad to be leaving Tibet tomorrow. The group we joined were all very friendly and we really enjoyed their company.
To my amazement Edith coped with all the steps at the Potala Palace (426?) largely because Tensing made sure that we did everything at the correct pace. He is a very understanding and knowledgeable guide… “

>> Read More

China Travel Tips for UK Tourists 

Before your trip to China from United Kingdom, you have to do all the preparations, think over what to pack, the required documents for your China holiday, some necessary medicines, etc. Here is practical travel advice to help you have a trouble-free holiday in China. 
► What to Pack: passport, China Visa, suitable clothes, toiletries, the luggage suggestions, medicine, the contact list of your hotel and local guide in each city (your travel consultant will send the list to you before your trip)
► ow to use phone & access internet in China: and tips for access Facebook, Instagram, and Gmail
► Safety Tips in China: especially useful for women travelers, solo travelers, and people taking a train in China
► Accommodation in China: get to know the standards and facilities of China hotels, and how to reserve accommodation
► U.K. Embassy in China, including those in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Chongqing