Dear Prince William,
You arrive in China tomorrow, and boy do you have a boring agenda. You’re going to be visiting a hutong, and a local home restored by two of your charities. This is all taking place with as of yet unnamed government officials. You’ll probably have duck for dinner, because Obama did too and nobody has any new ideas, and then head to Shanghai pretty quickly where you will attend the premiere of Paddington.
Your visit is special though, as you’re the first member of the British royal family to visit the Chinese mainland in nearly three decades. That’s why you should see more than just a hutong and eat more than just a duck. We think you would really enjoy a taste of some alternative activities while you are here: British-inspired but with a Chinese twist. Hence we have made you this alternative agenda. We hope you enjoy our amazing city.
- Have a Sunday Roast
Upon your arrival at Beijing Airport, you’ll will be greeted by the new British ambassador to China, Barbara Woodward. What could be more perfect than going for a roast together? There are a few different options, whether you fancy the Hilton’s One East Sunday roast (RMB 178 per person, add RMB 98 each for the wine buffet). Both the Conrad Hotel (available every Sunday in March) and The Opposite House also serve up a Sunday roast.
However, Will, if you’re more of a fry-up kind of man, that can also be arranged. Try Vineyard Café, on Wudaoying Hutong, or Stuff’d, on Jianchang Hutong.
- Walk Around Tiananmen Square
We know you’ve been dying to do it, so you should just go for it. Practice the acrobatics from the Ministry of Silly Walks, perhaps? What better way is there to visit this important tourist site and utilize all of its space, and bring Monty Python to the good people of China?
- Get Kate a Dress at the Silk Market
We’re sad that Kate couldn’t come along, and we’re sure you must be too. Kate is famous for her fashion sense, so you should take this opportunity to pick her out something nice. Try the Silk Market for somewhat touristy options ("silk" kimono anyone?), or head to Sanlitun’s 3.3 Shopping Center to get a dress tailored for her.
- Go for Afternoon Tea ...
Just because you’ve left the United Kingdom behind, doesn’t mean that you can’t keep traditions alive with a spot of afternoon tea. Our top suggestions for a bit of colonial flair are The Peninsula Beijing or Raffles Hotel.
- ... Or Learn About ‘Foreign’ Tea
We know it can be difficult to accept tea in a different way, but when in Rome … Try myriad varieties of China’s famous tea at Maliandao Tea Street, complete with how-to guide, or come back in April for a tea field cycling tour of Fujian Tulou with The Hutong.
- Have a Cider
Our favorite summer drink is also available in Beijing, so let us tell you where to go for some zesty bubbles. If you want to drink them at your hotel, get them from French supermarket Chez Gerard, or any branch of April Gourmet and Jenny Lou’s. Fancy a night out on the town? Cider is available at Mr Shi’s Noodles, and El Nido also boasts a good collection most of the time. If you really miss that delicious Strongbow and don’t fancy any other cider, head to The Local for a pint, or even a snakebite.
- Buy Some Toys for the Royal Baby
Of course, how could we forget the second royal baby. Beijing is the perfect place to get it some cheap (albeit potentially crappy) toys. Try the Tianle Toy Market, Hongqiao Market (especially if you’re already near the Temple of Heaven), or Alien Street Market.
- Stay at the Harry Potter Themed Room at Hotel Eclat
Celebrate one of our modern British literary greats with a stay at the Harry Potter themed room at Hotel Eclat at Parkview Green. We're sure J.K. Rowling would be honored.
- Ride the Subway
Ride the subway. Preferably transfer trains at Dongsi, Dongzhimen or Xizhimen during rush hour. Be discouraged by the lack of a queueing system at the ticket booth, at the trains' doors, and the appalling escalator behavior. Then, maybe if you have a few minutes to spare, you could try and pass on some of that British queuing etiquette. We would really appreciate it, and nobody seems more qualified to do it than you.
- Complain About the Air (not the Weather)
Beijing's weather isn't the most inspiring. So instead of complaining about the weather, you should take all of that energy and time and complain about the air quality. But fear not Will, for RMB 166 you can put together your own air filter.
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