Home Suzhou Travel Guide Lion Grove Garden: Suzhou’s “Kingdom of Rockeries”

Lion Grove Garden: Suzhou’s “Kingdom of Rockeries”

Lion Grove Garden in Suzhou, China, is a classical Chinese garden built during Yuan Dynasty in 1342. It has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and stands among the four most celebrated gardens in Suzhou.

Lion Grove Garden is most famous for its collection of amazing rockeries, crafted to resemble lions in all kinds of positions. So it is also known as the “Kingdom of Rockeries.” The garden was originally built by a Zen Buddhist monk as a memorial to his master.

With an area of 11,960 square yards (10,000 square meters), Lion Grove Garden has 22 buildings, 71 steles, and a collection of artworks. It’s divided into four sections, the rockery maze, True Delight Pavilion, Standing-in-Snow Hall, the pond garden.

Fast Facts about Lion Grove Garden

  • Location: No. 23 Yuanlin Road, Gusu District, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
  • Hours: 7:30-17:30 (March 1st – October 15th); 7:30-17:00 (October 16th – End of February)
  • Ticket price: RMB 40 per person for peak seasons; RMB 30 / person for off seasons
  • Recommended visit time: 1-2 hours
  • Best time of the year: all seasons, especially spring and autumn
  • Suited to: history lovers, fans of Chinese gardens, photographers

 

Lion Grove Garden Suzhou
Lion Grove Garden in Suzhou

What to See and Do at Lion Grove Garden

Explore the rockery maze

The rockery maze is the most popular highlight of Lion Grove Garden. The amazing labyrinth features multiple levels, caves, peaks, stairs, openings, to form a complex network of paths with 9 routes, 21 caves, and 104 exits. You’re sure to have a lot of fun at this beautifully designed maze, especially if you’re a family with kids.

You’ll be surrounded by rocks in wonderful forms and shapes, including 500 rocks resembling lions in different positions, roaring, playing, resting, fighting. Don’t miss Nine Lions’ Peak, which might look like it’s just full of holes at first glance, but if you look close, you’ll find 9 little stone lions having a good time playing.

Symbolically, the rockery at Lion Grove Garden embodies the Buddhist philosophy of transcending illusions to attain enlightenment.

Enjoy the view from True Delight Pavilion

True Delight Pavilion is a two-story pavilion in a royal style. It overlooks the splendid rockery and the pond. Inside, there are paintings and poems by renowned artists and scholars.

Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty, famously frequented Lion Grove Garden 6 times. When he visited the pavilion once, he made a comment and called it a “true delight.”  The emperor inscribed its plaque in calligraphy which is still hung at its entrance.

Admire Standing-in-Snow Hall

Standing-in-Snow Hall has a courtyard with a gorgeous pine tree seemingly blanketed in snow. The name of the hall comes from a Buddhist tale. A devoted monk stood in the snow all night to ask for teaching from from his master. The hall is decorated with brick carvings and intricately designed wooden screens.

Relax in the pond garden

In contrast to the dynamic rockery maze, the pond garden has a more harmonious natural landscape. Relax by the tranquil the gentle water, the pavilions, and elegant bridges.

See famous artworks

Apart from the calligraphy made by Emperor Qianlong, Lion Grove Garden keeps many other artworks like the precious “Panoramic View of Lion Grove Garden” by Ni Yunlin, or Ni Zan, and the “Twelve Scenic Spots in Lion Grove Garden” by Xu Ben. Both were famous painters from Ming Dynasty.

If you’re interested in artworks about the garden, you can also check out “The Lion Grove Garden” by the famous contemporary Chinese painter Wu Guanzhong.

Suzhou Lion Grove Garden
Appreciate the rockery

Best Time to Visit Lion Grove Garden

The best time for your Suzhou tour to Lion Grove Garden is during spring or autumn. The weather is usually nice, and the garden is full of life. Although you’re welcome to visit the garden throughout the year, it’s worth noting that Lion Grove Garden sees large crowds during holidays and weekends. So plan your trip to Suzhou around China public holidays if you can.

How to Get to Lion Grove Garden

Bus: Take one of buses No. 40, 55, 178, 202, 309, 313, 518, 529, 811, and 923 to Shizilin Station. It is right by Lion Grove Garden.

Metro: Take metro line 4 and to Beisita Station. Then walk along Renmin Road for about 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) to reach the entrance of Lion Grove Garden.

Taxi: Hail a taxi from anywhere in Suzhou directly to Lion Grove Garden (Shizilin). The fare varies based on distance and traffic conditions.

Attractions nearby Lion Grove Garden

  • Humble Administrator’s Gardenis another one of the four most celebrated gardens in Suzhou, among them, it is the largest classical Chinese garden. Humble Administrator’s Garden is praised for its landscapes and especially water features. It is about 0.6 miles (950 meters) north of Lion Grove Garden.
  • Suzhou Museumis designed by the well-known Chinese American architect Mr. Ieoh Ming Pei (贝聿铭). Pei lived in Suzhou during his childhood, so you’ll find many typical elements of Suzhou gardens and Jiangnan architecture at the museum.

With an area of 12,797 square yards (10,700 square meters), Suzhou Museum is home to over 40,000 historical and cultural, including jade, ceramics, bronze, stone, ivory. It is 0.5 miles (800 meters) northwest of Lion Grove Garden.

  • Pingjiang Roadis the most remarkable ancient block in Suzhou with quintessential features of a Jiangnan water town. You’ll see traditional houses with whitewalls and gray-tiled roofs, stone bridges, and winding alleyways. The street is 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometers) from Lion Grove Garden.
  • Couple’s Retreat Garden consists of a large mansion and smaller houses with two gardens. On three sides it is surrounded by a canal. The garden has 24 buildings, 21 tablets and couplets, brick carvings and precious ancient trees. It is about 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) west of Lion Grove Garden.

Suzhou Tours to Lion Grove Garden

We can also help you with a customized tour to Lion Grove Garden in Suzhou.

 

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