When I first visited Beijing in January 2004, I remember being amazed by the grandeur and beauty of the Forbidden City, experiencing it on a very cold day with almost no-one there. Returning today, in late March, the queues to enter were long, but the Palace somehow swallowed them all up. It had lost nothing of its impressive beauty and splendour. As well as the sheer scale of the buildings and courtyards, much of its beauty lies in the detail of the paintings and carvings. It is the small hidden courtyards of the north-eastern corner where much of its special enchantment can be found. The Forbidden City is by far and away the most impressive building complex I have ever visited.