A Textile Journey Through China

Prices from £6,195

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9 Jun 2020 - 23 Jun 2020
Duration: 14 nights
Ref: 20013
With: Pat Archibald

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Prices from £6,195
Single Supplement: £599
Deposit: £400

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Join Pat Archibald on Stitchtopia’s first tour to China - an enchanting land of contrasts whose textile traditions can be traced back thousands of years. This unique 14-night tour is a wonderful opportunity to experience China’s iconic sights including the Forbidden City, Great Wall of China, Terracotta Warriors and Shanghai’s futuristic skyline, whilst immersing yourself in the fascinating culture, customs and exquisite textile heritage of extraordinary dynasties.

WORKSHOPS WITH PAT

Pat will design some small hand-stitching projects for us to enjoy. These projects will reflect some of the patterning that we’ll see in the local textiles, architecture and ancient symbols as we travel through China.

DAY 1: TRAVEL LONDON - BEIJING

Meet Pat Archibald at London Heathrow airport for our overnight flight to Beijing.

The capital city of China is a complex and captivating mix of old and new. Home to a population double the size of London, nine million bicycles, nearly six million cars and five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Beijing will draw you in with its ancient soul, vibrant culture and promising future.

DAY 2 - ARRIVAL IN BEIJING

Our local guide will meet us at the airport and transfer us to the hotel. We’ll have the rest of the day to unpack and freshen up after our flight. This evening we’ll enjoy a welcome Beijing Duck dinner.

DAY 3 - TIANANMEN SQUARE, FORBIDDEN CITY, RICKSHAW RIDE & CHINESE PAPERCUTTING WORKSHOP

This morning we’ll wander through Tiananmen Square and walk in the footsteps of emperors in the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square is the largest public square in the world. It has long been a gathering place for locals and visitors alike. On the north side of the square lies the Forbidden City, also known as the Imperial Palace. The Forbidden City was home to 24 emperors, beginning with its creation by Emperor Yongle in 1420 until the last Qing emperor left in 1924. The entire complex consists of 8,706 rooms in which an estimated 8,000-10,000 people lived. Behind walls more than 30 feet high and within the 160-foot moat complex rules and rituals dictated life. Strictly off limits to ordinary people (hence the name), today the gates to the Forbidden Palace lead to a fascinating journey through Chinese history in what is probably the best-preserved site of Classical Chinese architecture.

We’ll continue to recapture the feeling of Beijing’s past from the wooden seat of a traditional rickshaw, which will take us through Beijing’s narrow hutongs (lanes). Once the primary architectural feature of the city, hutongs now make up only a small fraction of Beijing, having been replaced by high-rise buildings in recent years.

In the traditional courtyard home of a local family we’ll have a fun and hands on lesson in Chinese papercutting. This intricate craft is very popular among ordinary Chinese people and can be traced back to the Northern and Southern Dynasties (386-581). Papercutting was popularised through Chinese rural festivals; people pasted papercuts on walls, windows and doors at wedding ceremonies and festival to enhance the festive atmosphere.

Tonight, we’ll dine together at a local restaurant.

DAY 4 - THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA & ICONIC VENUES FROM THE 2008 OLYMPICS

This morning we visit the Great Wall of China, the longest manmade structure in the world. This section of the wall is the original structure; each brick is at least 600 years old. Ascent to the wall will be made by cable car.

After lunch at a local restaurant we’ll take a panoramic tour of some of the iconic venues from the 2008 Olympics. We’ll see the National Stadium and the Aquatic Centre, fondly referred to as the Birds Nest and the Cube.

DAY 5 - TEMPLE OF HEAVEN, BEIJING INSTITUTE OF FASHION TECHNOLOGY & SILK STREET MARKET

This morning we’ll visit the Temple of Heaven and get a glimpse of local life at the Temple of Heaven park. On any given day it is possible to see enthusiastic groups of Beijingers practicing Tai Chi, playing traditional instruments or singing Peking Opera.

Our lunch today will be Beijing Noodles at a local restaurant. The noodles, served with soybean sauce and ground pork, is a treat not to be missed.

This afternoon we’ll visit the Costume Museum at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology. The museum specialises in ethnic costumes in China and is also a cultural research institute combining the collection and display of articles along with research and teaching. The museum has a fine collection of over 10,000 pieces of costume, accessories, fabric, wax printing and embroidery.

Our final stop of the day will be Silk Street Market for some retail therapy. Originally an outdoor market, the market is now a shopping mall which accommodates over 1,000 retailers.

DAY 6 - SUMMER PALACE & BULLET TRAIN TO XIAN

This morning we visit the Summer Palace, one of the largest and best-preserved imperial gardens in the world. The grounds are stunning, and we’ll walk the Long Corridor, a 728 metre (over 2000 foot) hall featuring 8000 paintings collected by the Emperor.

This afternoon we take the bullet train to Xian. Xian, the eternal city, has recorded the great changes of the Chinese nation like a living history book. Over its 3,100-year history 13 dynasties have placed their capital here. We will be met by our local English-speaking guide and transfer to our hotel.

This evening we’ll dine together at the hotel.

DAY 7 - TERRACOTTA WARRIOR MUSEUM & CITY WALLS OF XIAN

This morning we’ll visit the Terracotta Warrior Museum. One of the world’s greatest archaeological finds, the Terracotta Warriors were discovered quite by chance in 1974 by a group of peasants who were digging a well on the outskirts of Xian. The sculptures of soldiers, chariots and horses were funerary statues made to accompany China’s first emperor to the afterlife.

After lunch at a local restaurant we’ll visit the city walls of Xian; some of the oldest and best preserved in all of China. The walls can be dated back to the 2nd century BC, when Xian was the capital of the country. The existing walls were completed in 1370 AD, are about 14km in length and, to this day, are still surrounded by a deep moat.

This evening we’ll enjoy a dumpling dinner and a dumpling making demonstration. If you like, you can try and make them yourself; it’s not as easy as it looks!

DAY 8 - HAND SEWING WORKSHOP WITH PAT, XIAN MUSLIM QUARTER & FLY TO GUIYANG

This morning enjoy a half-day workshop with Pat Archibald at the hotel.

At lunchtime, we’ll take a stroll through the Muslim Quarter, one of the most popular attractions in Xian.

This afternoon we fly to Guiyang. Guiyang has earned the reputation as a garden province in China. The relatively secluded geographical environment resulting from high mountains and deep rivers has made it possible for the ethnic minorities to preserve their primitive folklore.

We will be met by our English-speaking local guide and transfer to our hotel.

DAY 9 - HAND SEWING WORKSHOP WITH PAT, MIAO BORDERLAND COSTUME MUSEUM & TRAVEL TO KAILI

This morning we’ll have another half-day workshop with Pat Archibald at the hotel.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we’ll visit the Miao Borderland Costume Museum. This privately-owned museum was founded in 2007 by Mr. Zeng Xianyang, a famous photographer, collector and researcher on the Miao ethnic group in China. It holds more than 6,000 pieces of costumes, silver ornaments and brass drums dating from the Ming Dynasty to the present day. We’ll learn about the culture and customs of the Miao ethnic group from the weaving and embroidery patterns on the breathtaking collection of stunning costumes.

After the visit we’ll continue to Kaili, a cultural hub for China’s Miao ethnic group. The remainder of the day will be at leisure. We’ll dine together, in a local restaurant, this evening.

DAY 10 - MATANG GEJIA VILLAGE & WENGXIANG MIAO VILLAGE

This morning we’ll visit Matang Gejia Village. One of the highlights of visiting the village is to indulge in the village’s unspoilt idyllic landscape, slow-paced lifestyle and uncommercialised atmosphere. On our arrival the Gejia people will dress up and line the entry of the village, performing the greeting song and offering rice wine. We’ll walk and talk with these warm-hearted people, share photos with them and venture into their houses to enjoy their marvellous batik artwork.

After lunch we’ll transfer to Wengxiang Miao village, known for folded embroidery. This type of embroidery is usually used to decorate the sleeves and collars of women’s festival costumes.

After dinner at a local restaurant we’ll return to the hotel.

DAY 11 - QINGMAN MIAO VILLAGE & LANGDE MIAO VILLAGE

This morning we’ll visit Qingman Miao village. The village still maintains its traditional textile work, delicate embroideries and ancient cloth dyeing. Lifelike images of animals, birds, fishes and flowers decorate the women’s garments, handmade in silk felt.

After lunch we’ll visit Langde Miao village. We’ll learn about how the different Miao people can be identified by their dialect, dress and other customs. The villagers in Langde wear long skirts hence they are nicknamed Long Skirt Miao.

After dinner at a local restaurant we’ll return to the hotel.

DAY 12 - MIAO EMBROIDERY LECTURE & FLY TO SHANGHAI

This morning we’ll enjoy a lecture on Miao’s embroidery from a local expert.

In the afternoon we’ll fly to Shanghai. Shanghai is China’s commercial and financial hub. Its futuristic skyline is enough to merit a visit, but it also offers fascinating museum and spectacular gardens. We’ll be met by our English-speaking local guide and transfer to the hotel.

DAY 13 - YUYUAN GARDEN, SHANGHAI BUND & SHANGHAI TOWER

This morning we’ll visit Yuyuan Garden, a place of peace and comfort in the heart of bustling Shanghai. Declared a national monument in 1982, the garden attracts countless visitors every year. We’ll also take a tour of the Bund; the famous Shanghai waterfront regarded for hundreds of years as the symbol of Shanghai. On the Bund side of the river magnificent colonial architecture represents the splendour of old Shanghai. Across the water enormous skyscrapers rise up to create the iconic futuristic skyline.

After lunch at a local restaurant we’ll visit Shanghai Tower, located at the core of Pudong’s Lujiazui Finance and Trade Area. The structure is 632 metres tall, making it the tallest building in china and the third tallest building in the world. The tower has 121 floors above ground and 5 floors below ground. The observation deck is on floor 19, 552 metres above ground.

DAY 14 - TONGLI, HUMBLE ADMINISTRATOR'S GARDEN & SUZHOU INSTITUTE OF EMBROIDERY

This morning we’ll visit Tongli, one of the many ancient water towns in the south of the Yangtze River Delta, which are famous for their rivers, ancient bridges and house complexes. The town is separated by 15 rivers into 7 islets which are connected by 49 ancient stone bridges in a variety of styles.

After lunch we’ll transfer to Suzhou to visit the Humble Administrator’s Garden and the Suzhou Institute of Embroidery. The Humble Administrator’s Garden is the largest and most renowned of Suzhou’s famous gardens, covering almost 13 acres of land. Its unique design, ethereal beauty and enduring cultural significance have seen it proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was originally built as the residence and garden of a Tang dynasty scholar and has retained the sense of serenity and refinement envisaged by its original owner. The Suzhou Institute of Embroidery is dedicated to the production, research and training in Suzhou embroidery. Amongst its collection are some of the most valuable pieces of embroidery ever made. On display are several imperial robes and other priceless court gowns once worn by members of the royal family. The institute houses a training facility and workshop where we’ll see the artists creating exquisitely detailed embroidered works, often using silk threads much finer than human hair.

Late afternoon we’ll return to Shanghai for our farewell dinner.

DAY 15 - TRAVEL SHANGHAI - LONDON

This morning we’ll transfer to the airport for our return flight to London.

PRICES (INCL. FLIGHTS & TRANSFERS):

Twin room: £6195 per person
Single supplement: £599

Deposit: £400 per person

INCLUDED IN THE PRICE:

  • Return flight with British Airways from London Heathrow
  • Local travel by air and train, as per the itinerary
  • 13 nights bed and breakfast accommodation
  • 8 dinners and 12 lunches
  • Travel by air-conditioned coach, as described
  • Sightseeing, entrance fees and workshops, as described
  • Local English-speaking guides
  • Complimentary bottled water on transfers and sightseeing
  • The company and expertise of Pat Archibald
  • 2 half-day hand sewing workshops with Pat Archibald, kit included
  • The services of an experienced local English-speaking Tour Manager throughout the tour
  • Tips for drivers and local guides

NOT INCLUDED:

Meals and drinks unless otherwise stated, Travel insurance, Visa fee.

TRAVEL ADVICE:

British nationals need a visa to enter mainland China. With effect from 1 November 2018, all visa applicants aged between 14 and 70 inclusive will need to make their visa application in person at a Visa Application Centre. Application centres are located in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Belfast. As part of the application process, biometric data (scanned fingerprints) will have to be provided. Applicants under 14 and over 70 do require a visa but do not need to supply biometric data and therefore do not need to visit the Visa Application Centre in person. Further information can be found here. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months when you enter China. The fee for the processing of your visa starts at £151.

Visit your health professional at least 8 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.

NON-CRAFTERS

Why not bring a non-crafting partner with you?
If a non-crafting family member or friend wishes to accompany you on any of our holidays, and is sharing a room with you, then the following reductions will apply to the price the non-crafter pays:
Worldwide - £75

WHY NOT MEET US THERE?

Stitchtopia Holidays are designed with all crafters in mind, wherever you live in the world! If you would like to make your own flight arrangements and meet us at our first hotel, please let us know - we would love to tell you more about our “meet us there” holiday discounts.

THE "STITCH TOGETHER" PROGRAMME

For single travellers who are interested in our trips, but don’t have a friend able to come with them why not join our "Stitch Together" programme to help with the costs of a single occupancy room? We have designed a way for you to find someone to share a room with on any of our Stitchtopia Holidays.

Find out more about our "Stitch Together" programme >>

Penta Hotel, Beijing ★★★★

This 4-star hotel is located in the heart of the city. Bedrooms are comfortable and practical with air conditioning, refrigerator and free hi-speed internet. The hotel has a restaurant, bar and fitness centre.

Grand Mercure Renmin Square, Xian ★★★★

This 4-star hotel is located within the ancient walls of Xian and is surrounded by serene courtyards and enchanting gardens. The fifty years of Renmin Square history is reflected in the magnificent décor of the hotel. Combining chic Chinese design with modern touches the bedrooms are fully equipped for comfort and convenience with air conditioning, safe, satellite TV, wifi, tea/coffee making facilities, mini bar and hairdryer. The hotel has a restaurant and fitness centre.

Novotel Downtown, Guiyang ★★★★

This 4-star hotel is located in the commercial district of Guiyang. The bright bedrooms offer modern amenities such as wifi tea/coffee making facilities, TV, hair dryer, mini bar, air conditioning, refrigerator, complementary mineral water. The hotel has a restaurant, two bars and fitness centre.

Zongheng Hotel, Kaili ★★★★

This 4-star hotel is conveniently located close to the city centre. Facilities and services, including wifi, TV, air conditioning, complementary mineral water, tea/coffee making facilities and hair dryer, ensure a pleasant stay for guests. The hotel also has a bar, coffee shop and restaurant.

Central Hotel, Shanghai ★★★★

This 4-star hotel is a tranquil oasis in the bustling city. Room facilities include TV, air conditioning, wifi, fitness centre and restaurant.