Yuyuantan Park lies in Haidian District, close to the CCTV Tower and the China Millennium Monument. The park is 1,820 meters wide, 1,106 meters long, and with 61 hectares of water. The best time to visit Yuyuantan Park is throughout April and early May, because of its beautiful cherry blossoms. The park boasts 200,000 plants, including 2,000 cherry trees of over 20 different species. Many of these cherry trees were gifts from Japan, when the two countries re-opened diplomatic ties in the 1970s. Other blossoming trees include peach, and there are many tulip flowers to be admired. Right now the park is hosting its annual cherry blossom festival.

Located to the northwest of the park, is Cherry Garden. In the spring of 1973, 180 cherry trees were sent as gifts from Japan and were planted in the garden. More and more were subsequently cultivated, and today the garden is home to thousands of cherry trees. Bamboos also flourish in the garden, making it a wonderful place to visit even when cherry blossoms are not in bloom. Not all of the cherry trees were in full bloom when we visited, but it was a blue sky day and the blossom season doesn’t last long.

Built in 1983, Liuchun Garden sits to the east of the park. Magnolias, roses, crab-apple trees, and other plants blossom here, one after another like a perpetual spring. Yuyuantan Park has no buildings remaining from its past history, but a number of pavilions have been rebuilt and add a traditional back-drop to the spring blossoms. The huge lake is very popular for boating. It is possible to get a boat from here to the Summer Palace, from near the park's south gate. For the kids, there is an aquatic park, bicycle hire, and a variety of child-friendly amusements.

Stalls selling ice creams, alongside selfie sticks, are plentiful and a few cafés are located within the park. The best way of enjoying it, however, is to take along a picnic. With ample benches and grassed areas, you can just sit and enjoy this truly lovely city oasis.

Yuyuantan Park 玉渊潭公园
Daily 6am-9.30pm (summer), daily 6.30am-7pm (winter)
During the cherry blossom festival RMB 10, RMB 5 kids over 1.2m, free for kids less than 1.2m, RMB 2 all other times
Xisanhuan Lu (across from CCTV Tower). East entrance on Sanlihe Lu (just south of Diaoyutai); south entrance (with parking lot) behind China Millennium Monument, Haidian District
海淀区西三环中央电视塔对面 (东门在三里河路, 南门在世纪坛后面)

This article first appeared on beijingkids.

Photos: Sally Wilson

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