Visiting the Great Wall of China With Kids

If you ask Australian parents with kids for their top holiday destination I’m fairly sure that China is not at the top of that list.  However, if you happen to be lucky enough to travel China with a young family there is no shortage of amazing things to see and do.  And of course, exploring the Great Wall of China would have to be near the top of the list.  But which part?

As stated by Lonely Planet, the Great Wall is

China’s great engineering triumph and must-see sight.

They began building the original wall more than 2000 years ago and it is estimated that the Ming walls measure over 8,000km. That’s like driving from Sydney to Perth – and back again!  So of course, when in China one must visit a tiny slice of this amazing man-made structure!

With two “little bears” aged four and six, we decided to make Mùtiányù our first experience of the Great Wall.  Mùtiányù is about 90km northeast of Beijing.  This stretch of wall is fantastic for families and it was perfect for us.  Depending on your kids willingness to hike (ours not-so-much) you can either choose to climb up to the wall or take the cable car.  This was a no-brainer for us. We took the cable car up to the top of the wall, walked about 2km (with little rests along the way) and then we caught the toboggan ride all the way back down. That was awesome!

Our second trip was last September and we decided to indulge and stay overnight with friends at The Commune by the Great Wall.  As a hobby photographer and lover of architecture I was super-excited about four things:

  1. That I would get to see the Great Wall at sunset AND sunrise!
  2. The Commune had private access to an untouched portion of the Great Wall of China. That meant no crowds.
  3. The villas on the property were designed by 12 Asian architects. We were lucky enough to stay in the Bamboo Wall house which was designed by Kengo Kuma from Japan. It was extremely zen, it had a fabulous outdoor tea area surrounded by bamboo, and when the sun came down the bamboo cast beautiful shadows across the room. Great for chilling with friends and taking some snapshots.
  4. There was an amazing kids club with classes, a playground, and pool.  Plus there was the main pool further up the hill. Fortunately, we went in September so that it was still warm enough for a swim (although the verdict was that the pool was freezing!)

The hike up to the private section of the Great Wall is challenging for little ones.  Even once you get to the wall it is quite steep although not very long.  So depending on how adventurous your little one is either book them into the Kids Club for a class or get them to hike up with you to enjoy the amazing views.  It’s definitely worth it!

Visiting the Great Wall of China With Kids

In terms of the best time to go, Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November) would be the best times to go.  The temperature is at it’s most ideal – that is, not too hot or too cold.

So if you have any doubt whether you could go to The Great Wall of China with little children then rest-assured – yes you can!