Walking the Great Wall of China with Kids

Walking the Great Wall of China with Kids

The Great Wall of China has been on my bucket list for years. When we had Baby Wandermust I did worry that it would stay on my bucket list for a long time to come, I just wasn’t sure that it was doable to walk the Great Wall of China with kids. I wasn’t sure how to get to the Great Wall of China in the first place, what was the best bit of the Great Wall of China to walk with kids or how long it would take to walk the Great Wall of China with kids. But after much research, we decided to take the plunge and just go for it and I am so glad we did. It was a once in a lifetime experience that we will remember and treasure forever. So if you would like to go walking the Great Wall with kids then we have some top tips and pieces of advice for you!

What is the best area of the Great Wall of China for kids?

There are many places where you can walk the Great Wall of China. Each of these areas varies in terms of how busy it gets and how easy the wall is to walk. We think the best area to go walking on the Great Wall of China with kids has to be at Mutianyu. The Great Wall of China at Mutianyu is about a 90 minute drive away from central Beijing (traffic dependent) meaning that you are not having to go on too long a drive to get there. This means it isn’t the quietest area of the wall but it is certainly easy to get to and isn’t the busiest section by a long shot. Badaling is a similar distance from Beijing but is a much busier section of the wall and for that reason I think Mutianyu is a much better section to visit with kids.

How accessible is the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu?

Baby Wandermust walking the Great Wall of China

As far as the Great Wall of China goes, the Mutianyu section is probably the most accessible to visit with children. The Great Wall at Mutianyu is reached by taking a short shuttle bus ride to the Mutianyu Cable car station. The Mutianyu Cable Car is a short ride up and you have reached the wall. The wall itself, we found relatively easy to walk. I must admit that I hadn’t quite expected the Great Wall to be as mountainous as it is. However, saying that, we found that the walk itself was relatively easy. The Great Wall at Mutianyu has been well restored so for the most part was an easy walk. There are however some steep steps of different inclinations that make the walk a bit more challenging, particularly given that there are no hand rails. There is one section of the wall at Mutianyu that is particularly steep with over 400 steps to reach the summit, however you can walk a large section of the wall without doing this if you would prefer. One section of the wall we walked was so even that even our toddler managed to walk a large section.

Why visit the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu with kids?

Our Mutianyu tour had plenty of attractions to offer children when visiting the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall of China at Mutianyu is reached by taking a short shuttle bus ride to catch the Mutianyu cable car up to the Great Wall which is a spectacular start. For the more daring there is also a ski lift to take you to the top. And as a reward for their efforts of walking the wall, kids will love to take the toboggan also known as the Mutianyu slide ride back down.

What is the best time to visit the Great Wall of China with kids?

As with any tourist attractions in China there are peak times when tourists just flock there. The Great Wall of China is no exception. When we were looking to visit the first question I asked was what is the best time to visit the Great Wall of China? We went in the Winter, New Years Eve in fact and we found that we had the Great Wall mostly to ourselves. So if you want to visit the Great Wall without tons of tourists then I can vouch for Winter. However the cold can make the pollution worse in Beijing! Also, although we were lucky, New Years Eve is a National Holiday, I would recommend visiting the Great Wall when there isn’t a national or school holiday in China. Have you ever visited the Great Wall of China? What is the best time to visit the Great Wall of China in your opinion?

Top Tips for Visiting the Great Wall of China with Kids?

Walking the Great Wall of China with Kids

We found the Great Wall of China to be such a rewarding thing to do with our little one. If you want to do it we recommend:

Getting a guide for a private tour of the Great Wall of China

We went with Great Wall Hiking and we found the guide Cheney to be excellent, especially with dealing with our little one and making sure everything was done at our own pace.

Mutianyu Tour of the Great Wall

This section is the best distance from Beijing and is less crowded so is the ideal place to visit with children. Our Mutianyu Tour of the Great Wall was done by Great Wall hiking and if you are looking for a Mutianyu tour of the Great Wall I would thoroughly recommend them. The Mutianyu Great Wall entrance fee was included in the tour price.

Take a carrier

Walking the Great Wall of China with Kids

We found the carrier to be an essential. The Great Wall would be totally inaccessible with a stroller and while our little one did a great job of walking, they will tire. Be warned though, when passing through the watchtowers the ceilings are very low and you will have to duck to get through.

Walking the Great Wall of China with Kids

Take snacks

Burger King at the Great Wall of China

Remember to pack well for your littles when traveling to the Great Wall. There are shops around the Great Wall but the Wall itself doesn’t have any such amenities. At the bottom of the Wall next to the Cable Car Station there is a subway and in the village there is a Burger King. At the end of our tour we went for lunch in a restaurant in a town a short drive away. the food was superb and our guide arranged for a meal for our little one that had no salt or spices which was greatly appreciated.

The Toilets at the Great Wall of China

Wherever I go with my little one, toilets are always a concern. There are some toilets at the Subway but there are no toilets on the wall. I recommend wherever you travel in China you take hand sanitizer with you. We also make sure we use the velcro style nappies when doing outdoor adventures with our little one as they are much easier to change in difficult locations

Want to read about another section of the wall with kids, then check out this guide by our friends at go live young!

For more Beijing advice why not check out our recommendations on where to stay and how to cope with the air pollution!

Have you ever walked the Great Wall of China with kids? What are your top tips for walking the Great Wall with kids? 

Walking the Great Wall of China with Kids

Walking the Great Wall of China with Kids

 

39 Comments

  1. February 19, 2018 / 4:58 pm

    I’d love to take my kids to the Great Wall, it’s such an incredible sight and tells you so much about the history of the country. It looks like you had a great time! #Mondayescapes

  2. February 20, 2018 / 12:27 am

    Great post Leona – lots of practical and useful tips here! It is definitely on our bucket list as well, so really hoping we get there in the next few years. #MondayEscapes

    • February 20, 2018 / 12:44 am

      I think you’d love it! It was such an amazing experience

  3. February 20, 2018 / 9:42 am

    You know, I’m not sure that I’ve ever had a burning desire to go to the Great Wall but you make it sound so interesting and easy to manage with the details. I love the idea of having a guide who can help sort out a delicious lunch as well! #MondayEscapes

    • February 20, 2018 / 6:23 pm

      It is so worth while jen and was much easier than we expected

  4. February 20, 2018 / 2:02 pm

    What an adventure! I walked another section of the wall when I visited and it was an amazing experience – climbed would be a better description at times though. I remember my guide encouragingly telling me there was only one more ‘big up’ to go, so great to know a section of the wall that’s a bit easier on little legs. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    • February 20, 2018 / 6:23 pm

      Which section did you walk? The cable car up was essential

  5. February 21, 2018 / 11:53 pm

    I’m impressed that you made this trip with kids!! I feel like it would be enough of adventure with adults, let along adding kids to the mixture!

    • February 22, 2018 / 5:12 am

      Thank you – I was apprehensive but it was actually really easy to do with littles

  6. February 22, 2018 / 4:37 am

    I’ve always wanted to do this and I’m so glad it works for kids! Great tip about the baby carrier

    • February 22, 2018 / 5:12 am

      Baby carrier an essential! Hope you get there soon

  7. February 22, 2018 / 5:07 am

    We walked another section of the wall when we visited and it was an unbelievable experience. We did some unrestored parts of the wall and then onto the restored section. We preferred the unrestored parts of the wall but would only be suitable for older children as steep and cruelly in places!We went with the same company as you…they were fab.

    • February 22, 2018 / 5:13 am

      The company were fab and is loved to do the unrestored bits too but will wait until the tot is older

  8. February 22, 2018 / 8:41 am

    I did this section as well. Enjoyed it a lot. Not that many people out and about, even though it was mid-July. #farawayfiles

    • February 22, 2018 / 5:51 pm

      I was surprised how quiet it was as we were there on nye

  9. February 22, 2018 / 10:57 am

    My husband and I have wanted to visit the Great Wall of China for years. I can see how it is very feasible with young children who can be carried in a carrier but for slightly older kids (mine are nearly 4&7), would you recommend it? Thanks for linking to #MondayEscapes

    • February 22, 2018 / 5:52 pm

      I would say it depends on their walking capabilities! It is larger flat on the wall but with some steep sections at watch towers! I’d recommend going with a company woo arrange and doing the bobsled down as a motivation/reward

  10. February 22, 2018 / 2:59 pm

    Absolutely agree that a private tour makes travelling with kids so much easier. It’s good to know how accessible the Great Wall is for families with young children. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  11. February 23, 2018 / 1:47 am

    We walked the Mutianyu section of the wall back in 2009 – before we first moved to Seoul, and before we had our LO. We were there in December, and it was the first East Asian winter I’d experienced, and I don’t remember ever being so cold (and I grew up in Canada!!). But it was practically deserted and so amazing to be there. My hubby raced down the track so quickly all the staff we’re yelling at his to slow down and I could hear him careening around the corners. Haha. I’d love to go back one day with my daughter, but will probably wait until she’s old enough to walk it on her own! #farawayfiles

  12. February 23, 2018 / 2:20 am

    Wow! What an amazing adventure! I’d love to go to the Great Wall someday, and although my kids are now older I appreciate traveling with littles as we used to do it, and never would have let their ages stop us from seeing and doing… I must admit seeing a Burger King at the bottom would dampen the experience for me somewhat, but I suppose that’s par for the course these days. Looking forward to reading about your further adventures… #farawayfiles

  13. February 23, 2018 / 7:08 am

    Great tip about taking a guide in China when visiting major sites. I have always had a private guide drive me and the kids around China and the attractions we’ve seen and I totally agree that its well worth it. Lovely photos of this section of The Wall. #FarawayFiles

  14. February 23, 2018 / 7:29 pm

    The Great Wall is certainly on my bucket list. You were brave to try it with a young one, but it turned out great for you, I see! The watchtower is interesting — Somehow I never thought of the wall having these, but of course it does!

  15. February 25, 2018 / 8:37 am

    What a great adventure for your family! Good advice too for taking on something intimidating with a kid, looks like it was lots of fun! #FarawayFiles

  16. March 1, 2018 / 10:53 am

    What an inspiring post. Thanks for all the tips and inspiration… definitely food for thought! #fearlessfamtrav

  17. March 2, 2018 / 8:21 am

    Very cool. My husband has been to the Great Wall when he was in Beijing for work, but the rest of us have yet to go. Good tips! #culturedkids

  18. March 2, 2018 / 8:41 am

    What a fantastic post, with some really helpful tips. It’s good to know that strollers are a no-no, and that there are no toilets on the Wall. These things are staples when it comes to travelling with young kids! Thanks for linking up with #CulturedKids

  19. March 2, 2018 / 11:00 am

    How amazing! I’m so impressed you took your wee one. The Great Wall is high on my list of travel experiences. Hopefully make it there soon! #CulturedKids

  20. March 6, 2018 / 12:51 pm

    What a great post. I’ve been to the Wall in several places in China – some places were very touristed, others less so. Sounds like you found a great spot and the pictures are fabulous. We’d definately consider visiting this spot on your recommendation, it looks great. #fearlessfamtrav

  21. March 7, 2018 / 7:58 am

    I love that you didn’t let having a little one in tow stop you achieving one of your bucket list goals. With preparation and the right attitude anything should be possible, right? #fearlessfamtrav

  22. March 16, 2018 / 10:04 am

    Wow, what a fantastic experience and adventure! Thanks for sharing your amazing trip and tips. #CulturedKids

  23. April 8, 2018 / 10:31 pm

    Wow, what a place to spend New Years Eve. China has been on my bucket list for ages but we’re planning to hold off visiting until our son is old enough to remember it as we feel it’t one of those places you probably only visit once in a lifetime. And a walk along the Great Wall of China is high on our to-do list! #fearlessfamtrav

  24. lincalinca
    May 26, 2018 / 10:12 am

    Such a lovely post! Gives the hope for everyone who does not have children yet, but every auntie reminds them “travel while you can, later you will be tied down with kids until they turn 18 and won’t see any travel!!!”

  25. Amy Fujimoto
    May 27, 2018 / 2:55 am

    Thanks for this – very informative, especially about the toilets and diapers!

  26. Sarah
    September 25, 2018 / 2:02 am

    We just finished our first Wonder of the World with kids at Chichen Itza. The Great Wall is still on our list. Thank you so much for the great post!

  27. Jenny Norton
    November 4, 2018 / 7:10 am

    Great post! We are planning on this section of the Great Wall next month with our 6 and 8 year old. I’m interested in if the toboggan down would be a good idea for their age. I’m assuming each with a parent it might be possible? What would you say?

  28. November 25, 2018 / 4:38 pm

    This sounds like a brilliant experience – and very do-able with young children.

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