Colonial Buildings in Central Hong Kong, Hong Kong (Self Guided)

Having been a British colony for over a century, Hong Kong has kept many of its colonial buildings until today. The majority of these old buildings are in the Central district of Hong Kong; some of them have been declared national heritage objects. Check out the list below.
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Colonial Buildings in Central Hong Kong Map

Guide Name: Colonial Buildings in Central Hong Kong
Guide Location: Hong Kong » Hong Kong (See other walking tours in Hong Kong)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 km
Author: emma
Central Police Station

1) Central Police Station

The Central police station is located in the Central district of Hong Kong, at the eastern end of Hollywood Road. This site actually dates back to the middle of the Nineteenth Century when the British first came to Hong Kong.

The British built some of the first colonial structures at the site of the Central police station and these are, The Central police station building, The Victoria Prison compound, and The Central Magistracy.

Due to the ever changing social, political and operational changes that have occurred in Hong Kong over the last century and a half, these structures have been repeatedly modified and altered.

A 3 storey barrack block, constructed right next to the Victoria Prison in 1864, is the oldest structure within the police station. In 1905, another storey was added, plus several more between 1910 and 1925. During this period, many people moved from mainland China to Hong Kong, and many police stations had to be built in order to maintain law and order in the increasing population.

The Central Police Station comprises seven blocks, with the main building featuring a classical style with Doric style columns. The building follows a grey and blue color scheme.
Central Magistracy

2) Central Magistracy

The Central Magistracy is located in the Central district of, Hong Kong Island on Arbuthnot Road. It was commissioned in 1913 and its construction was completed in 1914. The Central Magistracy stands on the original site of the first Hong Kong Magistracy built by the British. This building was one of the first erected by the British upon their arrival in Hong Kong. The former structure dated back to the mid nineteenth century, circa 1847, and was demolished in order to make way for the new building and additional blocks.

The present Magistracy building features the Greek-revival style, with imposing pillars of the facade, and has an overall majestic appearance. The walls of the building are made of granite blocks. A basement has also been added in the new design, and this provision caused much delay in the construction work.

The Central Magistracy along with the Victoria Prison and the Central Police Station are among the ninety two declared monuments of Hong Kong. Together, these three buildings are categorized as the Central Police Station Compound. In 1978 the Central Magistracy was closed, and has been used by the police force for different purposes ever since.
Old Dairy Farm Depot

3) Old Dairy Farm Depot

The Old Dairy Farm Depot is a Nineteenth Century building that currently houses the Foreign Correspondents' Club (in the North Block) and the Hong Kong Fringe Club (in the South Block). It is located at number 2 Lower Albert Road in the Central district of Hong Kong. The edge of the building faces Glenealy while its back faces Wyndham Street.

In 1890, a low-rise, brick and stucco structure was constructed on Lower Albert Road by Dairy Farm in Central Hong Kong. This building was used as a cold storage warehouse, initially. Later in 1913, this warehouse was expanded and renovated in order to include a dairy shop, a cold storage room and a room for meat smoking. The cold storage room was used to store winter clothing. A residency for the General Manager of the company was also added later.

During the 1970s, the company moved and the building was abandoned. The Hong Kong Fringe Club acquired the abandoned building in 1984. The Fringe club renovated the building extensively to make it a vibrant place for the contemporary arts. The Old Dairy Farm building has won the Hong Kong Government Heritage Award and it has been categorized as a Grade II Historic Building in Hong Kong.
Government House

4) Government House

The Government House is located on the Government Hill in the Central district of Hong Kong. This house is the official residence of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. The structure was built in 1855 as a Colonial Renaissance style home, but during the Japanese occupation, it was significantly remodeled. Today the building has a hybrid Japanese-Neoclassical structure with a tower and roof elements, added by Japanese architect Seichi Fujimura in 1944.

In the past, when Hong Kong was under British rule, it was the official residence of the Governors of Hong Kong from 1855 to 1997. Out of the 27 British Governors’ of Hong Kong, 25 used the Government House as their official residence.

The House was designed by Charles St George Cleverly and its construction started eight years after Hong Kong was declared a British colony in 1851. The first Governor to reside in the Government House was Sir John Bowring. In 1891, a Ballroom was added to the original house for social functions. Even during the Japanese occupation, during World War II, the Government House was occupied by the official Japanese Military Governor.

Today, the Government House is home for the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. The current structure has been extensively renovated, and an elaborately expensive fish pond has also been added.
St. John's Cathedral

5) St. John's Cathedral (must see)

St John’s Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral Church of St. John the Evangelist is a beautiful cathedral, built in the shape of a cross. It is located in the Central district of Hong Kong, on Garden Road, a short distance away from the Peak Tram station. Their operating hours are from 7:00am to 6:00pm daily, and they allow visitors for quiet prayer and meditation during these hours.

Visitors can get any information that they require at the Welcome Table in the Porch after the Sunday morning service if they desire to do so. The Cathedral Office is also open weekdays from 9:00am to 5:00pm and from 9:00am to 12 noon during weekends.

St John’s Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral and it is also the Diocesan cathedral of the Diocese of Hong Kong. The cathedral also houses the Archbishop of Hong Kong. St John’s is one of the five Anglican cathedrals in HK, and it is one of the oldest Western ecclesiastical buildings in the city. It was opened for service on the 11th of March in the year 1847, and in 1996 it was declared a monument. During the Japanese occupation, the Japanese converted the cathedral into a club. Today, the cathedral has been restored and is open for service.

Why You Should Visit:
Exquisite church in the heart of the city jungle with peaceful and pretty courtyard seating.

Very often, you will find Wednesday lunchtime performances. There's even a cafe on the grounds call The Nest with a lovely selection of hot & cold drinks, biscuits, pies, etc. And the bookshop.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 7am-6pm; Sat-Sun: 7am-7:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Court of Final Appeal

6) Court of Final Appeal

The Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong is the court which has the final adjudication power on all the laws of the city of Hong Kong. It is located in the Former French Mission Building, in the Central district of Hong Kong Island.

On the first of July in the year 1997, Hong Kong’s sovereignty was transferred from the United Kingdom to China. Before this time, Hong Kong was under British rule and the powers of final adjudication on its laws were with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. After gaining sovereignty from the United Kingdom, the Court of Final Appeal was established in Hong Kong.

The court is housed in the Former French Mission Building, which was originally a mansion called Johnston House. During the 1870s and 1880s the building was altered into a 3 storey building. The present building was constructed in 1917, and its design is based on “Beaconsfield”, a structure near the site of the French Mission Building. The building has a red brick facade, and is built in an Edwardian period, neo-classical style with granite blocks. The structure was constructed on a podium due to the hilly areas of the Government hill in Hong Kong.
Legislative Council Building

7) Legislative Council Building

The Legislative Council Building is also called the Former Supreme Court Building of Hong Kong. Until 1985, this building housed the former Supreme Court. After this, it was renamed the Legislative Council building of Hong Kong. The building is located in the Central district of Hong Kong, directly west of the Chater Gardens, and along the east end of Statue Square.

The Legislative Council Building was designed by the British architect who designed the eastern facade of Buckingham Palace, Sir Aston Webb. He along with and Ingress Bell, designed the original structure of the Legislative Council Building.

The structure was constructed on reclaimed land, and was opened to public on the 15th of January in the year 1912. Neo-classical architecture was used to design the building, and the 2 storey granite structure is supported by Ionic columns. The building is surmounted by a blind folded statue of Themis, the Greek Goddess of Justice and Law. This statue is identical to the statue erected on the Old Bailey of London.

The building had to undergo restoration in 1978, as it was severely affected by the construction of the Mass Transit Railway. The Legislative Council Building is one of the 92 declared monuments of Hong Kong.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Create Your Own Walk in Hong Kong

Create Your Own Walk in Hong Kong

Creating your own self-guided walk in Hong Kong is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Souvenir Shopping Part 2

Souvenir Shopping Part 2

It would be a pity to leave Hong Kong without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Hong Kong, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.0 km
Wan Chai and Causeway Bay Walk

Wan Chai and Causeway Bay Walk

Wan Chai District is well known for its shopping places and skyscrapers that lie adjacent to its rustic streets and picturesque corners. It is adjacent to the Causeway Bay region that has many shopping complexes and is a popular destination among tourists. Pay attention to the next list, where the most accessible attractions are compiled in an interesting walking tour.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Kowloon Orientation Walk, Hong Kong

Kowloon Orientation Walk, Hong Kong

One of the most famous parts of Hong Kong, the Kowloon district is also one of the most densely populated on the planet, having streets packed with shops and diners. Located north of the Hong Kong island, Kowloon can be described as the mirror of Central Hong Kong, featuring great places to view the night skyline from. Some of the most popular attractions to shop or see in Kowloon are listed...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 km
Western - Central District Orientation Walk

Western - Central District Orientation Walk

The Central and Western areas of Hong Kong are often referred to as one large district. It has the second highest household income in the territory, being famous for housing the majority of Hong Kong's skyscrapers, office towers and historic sites. This tour features some of the area's most notable attractions. To find out more about Western-Central District of Hong Kong, follow this...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 km
The Repulse Bay Walking Tour

The Repulse Bay Walking Tour

Located on the southern shore of the Hong Kong island, next to Aberdeen Harbor, the Repulse Bay is famous for its clean beach. As of recently it has been rated one of the most expensive housing areas in Hong Kong. A walking tour around the Bay will take you far from the hustle of busy districts to the relaxing and quiet spots for a good time. Below are some of the nice places to see in the Repulse...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 1

Souvenir Shopping Part 1

Being famous as a "Shoppers' Paradise", Hong Kong is especially visited for its shopping spots.It would be a pity to leave Hong Kong without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs that are unique to Hong Kong that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

15 Hong Kong Products A Traveller Shouldn't Miss

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The image of Hong Kong has been much popular with tourists since the late 1960s-early 70s, in large part due to the Bruce Lee movies, and has remained so after the city was ceded back to China in 1997. Still, despite such popularity, there're quite a few things, originally made in Hong Kong,...
The Seafood Mile, Hong Kong

The Seafood Mile, Hong Kong

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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Hong Kong for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Hong Kong has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Hong Kong's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Hong Kong Pass, iVenture Card, or Hong Kong and Macau Attractions Pass.

A city pass combines all or multiple Hong Kong's (or even neighboring Macau's) top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows user to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Hong Kong hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, The Pottinger Hong Kong.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Hong Kong, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Hong Kong typically costs somewhere between US$50 and US$150 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Hong Kong from the open top of a bus listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the route. The ticket is valid for one day (24 hrs) and may be upgraded to 48 hrs plus a night tour.

- No visit to Hong Kong is complete without savoring authentic Cantonese cuisine. Embark on a half-day food tour of Hong Kong for a generous dollop of delectable local treats and insight into the city's British and Chinese heritage.

- Dive into the history of Hong Kong on a historical walking tour to find out how the city came to be, what prompted the Brits to colonize it and then cede back to China, and what will become of it after 2047 when the “no change for 50 years” promise by The People's Republic of China has expired.

- Complete your sightseeing of Hong Kong in one day on a 5-hour guided tour exploring the city's top attractions from the open-top double-decker and Peak Tramway, catching a glimpse of daily life at Aberdeen Fishing Village, shopping for souvenirs, and more.

- Razzle-dazzle yourself on a night cruise over Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour complete with a lavish 7-course dinner aboard the famous Jumbo Chinese-style boat restaurant. In addition to sumptuous Cantonese delicacies and unlimited drinks, you will enjoy postcard-worthy views of the city’s harbor and shimmering skyline.

- Experience first-hand the old-style shopping as it was done back in the day preceding eBay, malls and supermarkets. Embark on a market tour of Hong Kong to see the glorious local markets in action, soak up the atmosphere, and get thrilled from haggling!

Day Trips

If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Hong Kong, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Lantau Island, Macau, or Cheung Chau Island.

For as little as circa US$140 per person you will get a chance to discover the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, find a different side of Hong Kong exploring the beauty of nature and unique traditions of its biggest island replete with pristine beaches, traditional fishing villages, lush valleys and soaring mountains, sail across the sea to visit the oldest European settlement in the East, and more.

For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in Hong Kong, and transported either by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, minibus, boat or private vehicle (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.