Greet your guide in the lobby of your downtown hotel at 8:30am, and hop into your private, climate-controlled vehicle – either a town car or a minivan, depending on your party size.
Your first stop will be Tiananmen Square, the vast and echoing plaza that's been at the center of Beijing life for centuries, where your guide will introduce imperial landmarks such as the Gate of Heavenly Peace.
From here, you'll walk the few minutes to the Forbidden City, home to the emperor, his concubines, and his eunuchs for centuries. Your guide will lead you through its echoing entrance halls, expansive courtyards, and private living quarters, many converted into museums: please note the Forbidden City is closed on Mondays.
As this is a private tour, you're free to make your own decisions about lunch. You might choose to have a big breakfast at your hotel and bring some snacks: alternatively, your guide can recommend some wonderful traditional Chinese restaurants nearby.
After lunch, you'll drive to your next destination, the Temple of Heaven, with its famous cylindrical pagoda. Here generations of emperors paid homage to heaven and asked the gods for a good harvest.
Your last stop will be the Summer Palace, where the imperial family retreated to beat Beijing's summer heat. Stroll along the lake or through the leafy gardens, or explore historic buildings, pagodas, and colonnades. From here, your driver will escort you back to your hotel, arriving around 5:30pm, traffic permitting.