At the northwest corner of West Lake lies Solitary Hill (Gu Hill), the largest and only natural island in West Lake, covering an area of almost 50 acres (20 hectares) and rising to a height of 125 feet (38 meters). Beautifully landscaped and full of scenic and historical spots, Solitary Hill is a great place to appreciate both nature and history.
In addition to its beautiful scenery, Solitary Hill is also home to a number of cultural and historical sites, including the Zhejiang Provincial Museum, with a collection of Chinese pottery dating back more than 10,000 years; the Tomb of Qiu Jin, a female revolutionary from the Qing dynasty; and Zhongshan Park, built on the site of a Qing Dynasty imperial garden that opened in 1927 to commemorate Sun Yat-sen. There are also a number of pavilions for visitors to enjoy, including Wen Lan Pavilion, Fan He Pavilion, Bamboo Pavilion, and Si Zhao Pavilion.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bring a camera, as there are numerous photo opportunities, including scenic overlooks of West Lake and of Leifeng Pagoda.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Solitary Island is big and there is a lot of ground to cover, if you want to see all the sights.
- Bicycles are allowed on Solitary Hill.
How to Get There
Solitary Hill, at the northwest corner of West Lake, is accessible by the Bai Causeway or by a small stone bridge from Beishan Road. Take bus Y-10 and get off at either the Xi Leng Bridge stop or the Zhejiang Provincial Museum stop. It’s also possible to arrive by boat from other parts of West Lake. Zhongshan Park Wharf is located at the south end of Solitary Hill.
When to Get There
Solitary Hill is open to visitors year-round. Early spring is a great time to see the plum blossoms in bloom on Solitary Hill, which is sometimes referred to as Plum Blossom Island. Solitary Hill is a popular destination, especially on weekends and public holidays. Visit early in the morning and during the week to escape the crowds.
Ling Bu and "Plum Wife and Crane Son"
Fang He pavilion, on the western side of Solitary Hill, commemorates Lin Bu, a celebrated poet from the Song dynasty. He never married, and instead planted plum blossom trees and raised cranes when he wasn’t writing poetry. It was said that the plum blossom was his wife and the cranes his children; hence, the phrase, “plum wife and crane son.”