London loves to celebrate, and Chinese New Year—the festival celebrating the new year in the traditional Chinese lunar calendar—is a major party for the capital. In fact, it’s the biggest Chinese New Year celebration outside Asia. Visitors are welcome to join in with all-day entertainment, including a parade with Chinese lions and dragons, which is one of the main events. Here’s how to celebrate Chinese New Year in London.
When is Chinese New Year in London?
This year, Chinese New Year falls on January 25, 2020. It’s the Year of the Rat, which is the first animal of the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese New Year celebrations, which are organized by the London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA), will be taking place in London on January 26, 2020.
Where is Chinese New Year?
The events take place in Chinatown, the West End and Trafalgar Square. The parade, which features a traditional Chinese dragon, usually starts on Charing Cross Road, before heading down Shaftesbury Avenue and into Chinatown. In Trafalgar Square, there’s usually a stage where there’s an opening ceremony and various performances, such as Chinese dancers and musical acts, as well as martial arts shows and acrobatics. There are also often fireworks at the end of the Trafalgar Square event. Also, there often special menus and parties at London’s many Chinese restaurants.
What is the history of Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year has been celebrated for centuries. It was traditionally a way to celebrate and pay tribute to ancestors and deities. It was also seen as a way to build up luck for the upcoming year. Today, Chinese New Year is celebrated all around the world, especially in countries with significant Chinese populations, like Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as in Chinatowns all across the world. The celebrations around Chinese New Year in London have been taking place for over 20 years. Each year, the celebration grows in size and scale.
Do I need tickets?
No, tickets are not necessary. The official Chinese New Year events are all free to the public, but do plan your route in advance, as it usually gets very busy. Over 300,000 locals and tourists attend each year.
Will there be food?
Of course! You’ll find food stall set up all around the places where activities are taking place, and of course, London’s Chinatown is home to endless restaurants to try. (Just be sure to make reservations in advance if you’re planning on visiting during the festivities.)
If you’re interested in looking beyond Chinatown to celebrate there are plenty of amazing Chinese restaurants all throughout London to sample, such as the famous China Tang, an Art Deco hideaway in Mayfair. Go all out and order the duck, or opt for the Cantonese favorite, Golden Prawns with Salted Egg Yolk. (Honestly, it’s hard to order wrong off this epic menu.) Also, don’t skip the creative cocktails like the Tang Tea Punch, made with Bombay Gin, Canton Ginger, Osmanthus Oolong Tea, Citrus Hibiscus and Jasmine Bitters. Be sure to dress for the occasion: it’s a gorgeous setting.
Another hot spot is Hot May Pot Pot, a traditional hot pot dining experience in Knightsbridge. Expect a warming meal of fine wagyu beef, fresh fish and seasonal vegetables, cooked in individual burners and pots set on each table. It’s located right by the Lennox, which has plenty of red accents, making a great pick for Chinese New Year, as red is considered a very auspicious color.
How else can I celebrate Chinese New Year in London?
Red is considered good luck and you’ll see the color everywhere during the celebrations. If you’re visiting London during Chinese New Year, wear something red to get in on the festivities. You can try cooking your own Chinese food at your very own London Perfect vacation apartment. Here are a few of our favorite kitchens to try out. You can also check out a Chinese teahouse, such as The Chinese Tea Company on Notting Hill’s Portobello Road. Stop by to pick up some Chinese tea or go for a tea tasting session or master tea class. The Chinese Tea Company is inside the Portobello Green Arcade, which is under the Westway flyover. It’s just around the corner from the Danebury, which is one of London Perfect’s most stylish apartment rentals. It’s also close by to the Leicester, which sleeps up to four and gets plenty of sunshine.
Want to visit London for Chinese New Year? Get in touch with the team at London Perfect today to find the perfect London vacation rental apartment. We have apartments available all around London’s best neighborhoods including Notting Hill, South Kensington, Knightsbridge, Chelsea and Belgravia.