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Tour Director
Practical Information

  • Discover the history of over 5000 years of Chinese civilisation, with a special emphasis on porcelain

  • Explore the extraordinary architecture, fine art and garden design left by dynasties throughout the centuries, on visits to several of China’s ancient and modern capitals, including Beijing, Xi’an, Luoyang and Shanghai

  • Highlights will include the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the Terracotta Army, as well as many lesser-known sites and opportunities to take in the landscape en route

“The cultural content was exceptional, giving a good understanding of the areas we visited”

“Excellent organisation from beginning to end”

- ACE customers on a previous Chinese Civilisation tour

If you would like to receive further details of this tour when they are available, you can do so by filling in our register interest form here.


While in English the term ‘civilisation’ denotes social organisation into cities, the Chinese term wen hua – which is usually translated as ‘civilisation’ – is strongly connected with the idea of a written culture. It is through the development of writing, and the pictograms which contain a wealth of layered meaning dating back thousands of years, that the world is understood.


During our journey, we will explore the early dynasties of China – once believed to be mythical. We will travel along the Yellow River Valley, often considered the cradle of Chinese civilisation, from Xi’an to Luoyang, both of which enjoyed the status of capital city at different periods in Chinese history. By way of architecture, sculpture, garden design, and, most especially, porcelain, we will encounter the many facets of Chinese art and creativity.


There are many excellent ceramics on display in China’s fine museums, from the Nanjing and Shanghai Museums to the Shaanxi History Museum in Xi’an, which is also home to the Tang Murals. We will enjoy a visit to Yaozhou Kiln Site & Museum, and an excursion to Yixing, the centre for the production lustrous red and coloured stoneware.


On a visit to the Forbidden City, the imperial palace from the Ming dynasty, we will pay particular attention to the porcelain exhibits, before taking in the huge complex of gardens and lakes that make up the royal park at the Summer Palace. Elegant Chinese garden design also awaits us in Suzhou, where the classical gardens are a UNESCO World Heritage site.


Further highlights of our tour will include the Terracotta Army site outside Xi’an, the UNESCO-listed Longmen Buddhist Grottoes and the Tomb of the First Ming Emperor in its wonderful setting.


Our journeys between cities will be undertaken using the extensive high-speed rail network. We will stay throughout in comfortable modern hotels; please note that hotel details are subject to confirmation nearer to the time. We also look forward to experiencing regional cuisine throughout our tour, including dim sum, Peking duck, dumplings, fish and seafood. This will be enjoyed across a number of lunches and dinners, with several free evenings to enable participants to explore independently, guided by the tour personnel.

This tour will be led by Elizabeth Morrell, BA and Lars Tharp, MA, FSA. Elizabeth is a sinologist and Chinese speaker who has been visiting China since 1976, when she studied modern Chinese literature at Fudan University in Shanghai. Elizabeth wrote one of the earliest guidebooks to China, published in 1984. Lars is an art historian and ceramics expert, particularly well known for his work on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. He has written several books and is the former Director of the Foundling Museum. Elizabeth and Lars very much look forward to introducing another ACE group to the fascinating history of China and its porcelain.

Tour Code
Places are limited.
Please contact the office
for more details.

Included: Full details, including the tour cost and an updated itinerary, will be released in summer 2022. Please contact the ACE office or fill in the register interest form to receive further details when available.

Not Included:

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