The Imperial Palace is increasingly being devoted to museum space – so much so that it arguably constitutes the best museum in China. The numerous buildings spreading out from the Forbidden City’s central axis house a variety of fascinating permanent and temporary exhibitions of Chinese and international historical artefacts and treasures (check what’s on at www.dpm.org.cn); you’ll find a map showing their location on the back of your entrance ticket.
The Treasure Gallery
In buildings surrounding the Hall of Supremacy (¥10). Gold, silver, pearl and jade items demonstrating the wealth, majesty and luxury of imperial life.
Hall of Clocks
(¥10). This hall, always a favourite, displays the result of one Qing emperor’s passion for liberally ornamented Baroque timepieces, most of which are English and French, though the rhino-sized water clock by the entrance is Chinese. There’s even one with a mechanical scribe who can write eight characters. Some clocks are wound to demonstrate their workings at 11am and 2pm.
Ceramics Gallery
Hall of Literary Brilliance (free). A wonderful, air-cooled selection of fine pots, statues and porcelain treasures; keep an eye out for the Ming and Qing vases.
Painting and Calligraphy Gallery
Hall of Martial Valour (free). Pieces demonstrating the art, skill and beauty of artists and literary aesthetics.
Jade Gallery
Palace of Accumulated Purity (free). A selection of intricate jade objects from the Imperial Court.
Gold and Silver Gallery
Palace of Great Brilliance (free). Precious religious, decorative, dress and sacrificial items.
Opera Gallery
Hall for Viewing Opera (free). Fascinating display of all the finery of the Chinese opera.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

China features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
Video: 10 Taiwanese street foods you need to try

Video: 10 Taiwanese street foods you need to try

Street food in Taiwan has a charm that restaurants just can't match. There's a distinct pleasure to be found in wandering through the labyrinthine stalls glo…

03 Aug 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
7 Chinese street foods you need to try

7 Chinese street foods you need to try

Thanks to China’s sheer enormity, travelling through the country is as much a tastebud odyssey as it is a history lesson. And eating your way around the stre…

27 Jul 2017 • Aimee White insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month