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Bell and Drum Towers

Climb the steep steps to the top of these ancient Beijing landmarks to learn about their history and enjoy panoramic views over the old city below.

Beijing’s Bell and Drum Towers are historic landmarks in the heart of the metropolis. Their booms and chimes can be heard tolling across the old part of the city. Spend a few hours climbing to the top of the two towers for panoramic views and discover more about their history.

Start at the Drum Tower, the grand red-painted structure which stands in the middle of the hútòng alleys. The tower has been Beijing’s official timekeeper since 1272, when it stood in the heart of what was then the Mongol capital of Dàdū. The tower you see today isn’t the original, but rather a replacement dating back to 1420 and the Ming Dynasty. 

Climb the steep inner stairs of the 153-foot (47-meter) high two-story building. Head for the exhibition area to examine the original big drum, known as the Night Watchman’s Drum, which according to tradition, would have been beaten 108 times. Time your visit right and you’ll get to witness one of the drumming performances that take place at regular intervals throughout the day. From the top of the drum tower, soak up the wonderful bird’s-eye view of the labyrinth of hútòng alleys, which are filled with traditional houses, market stalls and rickshaw bicycles.

Located just behind the Drum Tower is the slightly taller Bell Tower, which rises 157 feet (48 meters) above the old city. Made from brick and stone, its weathered façade makes it looks older than its sister Drum Tower, but, in fact, the two have a shared history and age. See the vast bell, which is one of the largest and heaviest in all of China. The bell weighs an astonishing 63 tons (57 tonnes) and measures 23 feet (7 meters) in height. Hear the ringing long before you make your way up to see it for yourself.

The Bell and Drum Towers are located at the north end of Di'anmen Street. This busy area of Beijing is best accessed by public transportation and on foot as parking is difficult. Regular buses serve the area. Alternatively, take the subway to Shichahai or Guloudajie stations, both of which are within walking distance.


Guide to Exploring around Bell and Drum Towers


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Lodging Near Bell and Drum Towers

See all 1,116 Hotels near Bell and Drum Towers
Hotel Du Palais Rouge $41
Hotel Du Palais Rouge

Hotel Du Palais Rouge

No.24, Lou Wan Hutong, Beijing
     
    2.7
    of 5, from 23 reviews
    3.0 out of 5.0

    Located in Xicheng, this historic inn is within 1 mi (2 km) of Lotus Market, Bell and Drum Towers, and Houhai Park. Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square are also within 3 mi (5 km).

    Hotel Jen Beijing $123
    Hotel Jen Beijing

    Hotel Jen Beijing

    No. 1 Jianguomenwai Avenue, Beijing
       
      4.4
      of 5, from 27 reviews
      4.5 out of 5.0

      Located in Dongcheng, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Lotus Market, Bell and Drum Towers, and Houhai Park. Beihai Park and Wangfujing Street are also within 2 mi (3 km).

      Huali Jiahe Express Hotel
      Huali Jiahe Express Hotel

      Huali Jiahe Express Hotel

      No.62 Gulou West Street, Xicheng, Beijing
         
        1.0 out of 5.0

        Located in Xicheng, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Lotus Market, Bell and Drum Towers, and Houhai Park. Beihai Park and Lama Temple are also within 2 mi (3 km).

        Old Beijing Square
        Old Beijing Square

        Old Beijing Square

        No.A38 Baochao Hutong, Beijing
           
          4.0
          of 5, from 41 reviews
          3.0 out of 5.0

          Located in Xicheng, this luxury inn is within 1 mi (2 km) of Lotus Market, Bell and Drum Towers, and Houhai Park. Lama Temple and Beihai Park are also within 2 mi (3 km).

          Beijing M Youth Space
          Beijing M Youth Space

          Beijing M Youth Space

          No.35-39 Qianmachang Hutong, Beijing
             
            5.0
            of 5, from 1 reviews
            2.0 out of 5.0

            Located in the heart of Beijing, this hostel is within walking distance of Houhai Lake, Houhai Park, and Bell and Drum Towers. Also nearby are Forbidden City and Beihai Park.

            Novotel Beijing Peace $77
            Novotel Beijing Peace

            Novotel Beijing Peace

            No 3 Jinyu Hutong, Beijing
               
              4.0
              of 5, from 1,461 reviews
              4.0 out of 5.0

              This family-friendly Beijing hotel is located in the historical district, within a 15-minute walk of St. Joseph's Cathedral and Wangfujing Street. Tiananmen Square and Tiananmen are also within 1 mi (2 km).

              Beijing East Sacred Hotel
              Beijing East Sacred Hotel

              Beijing East Sacred Hotel

              No. 107 Baochao Hutong, Beijing
                 
                1.0
                of 5, from 1 reviews
                1.0 out of 5.0

                Located in Xicheng, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Lotus Market, Bell and Drum Towers, and Houhai Park. Beihai Park and Lama Temple are also within 2 mi (3 km).

                Beijing CityCourt Hotel
                Beijing CityCourt Hotel

                Beijing CityCourt Hotel

                14 Liulisi Xiang, Baochao Hutong, Beijing
                   
                  3.7
                  of 5, from 245 reviews
                  3.0 out of 5.0

                  Located in Dongcheng, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Lotus Market, Bell and Drum Towers, and Houhai Park. Lama Temple and Beihai Park are also within 2 mi (3 km).