How To Celebrate Chinese New Year in London

Londons Chinese New Year celebration is among the biggest outside Asia
London's Chinese New Year celebration is among the biggest outside Asia | © Dani Tot / Alamy Stock Photo

Festivities ushering in the Year of the Pig will be taking place across London throughout the first week of February. With a host of art-, food- and history-focussed events, and more lion dancers than anyone would care to count, the city’s Chinese New Year celebrations are among the biggest outside of Asia.

London’s Chinese community has been celebrating the Lunar New Year since its origins in the 18th century; today, the city’s celebrations are among the biggest outside of Asia. This year, think beyond Chinatown and find out how Londoners are planning to celebrate the Year of the Pig across the capital.

Dragon dancers perform in Trafalgar Square

Try on a lion dancer suit at the Science Museum

As part of its adult-only Lates programme, which takes place on the last Wednesday of every month, the Science Museum is holding a China-themed event on 30 January. Visitors can get up to speed on Chinese New Year (CNY) traditions, find out about the future of China’s space programme, and even try on a traditional lion dancer suit for themselves. This free event starts at 6.45pm and comes with the promise of CNY-inspired drinks and snacks.

Catch the tail end of the citywide festival Chinese Art Now, which is showcasing the work of artists living and working in China today as well as that of the Chinese diaspora, before it closes on Saturday, 2 February. Highlights include an augmented-reality tour of Chinatown and screenings of Chinese cinema at the British Film Institute Southbank.

London’s Chinatown moved from the East End docks to the West End in the 1950s

Learn about London’s original Chinatown at the Museum of London, Docklands

While lantern-lined Gerrard Street is modern London’s Chinatown, this West End community can actually trace its origins to Limehouse in the East End. From the 18th century, London’s Chinese population primarily lived and worked along the docks, unloading Chinese goods such as tea and porcelain. To acknowledge this connection, Museum of London, Docklands is celebrating Chinese New Year with a series of events on Saturday, 2 to Sunday, 3 February. Events include a look at the history of tea in London, a calligraphy workshop, martial arts and percussion performances, and yes, more lion dancers.

Eat your fill at London’s largest Asian food hall

Ride the Northern Line to Zone 4 for some knock-out food at Bang Bang in Colindale. As well as offering the usual regional specialities and classic dishes, the food hall is hosting music performances, ribbon dancing and a special red-envelope prize draw on Friday, 1 February. If you’re looking to take the celebrations home, stop next door at supermarket Loon Fung and stock up on the ingredients for jiaozi – a dumpling dish traditionally eaten on CNY Eve. Try this Crazy Rich Asians-inspired recipe from Great British Bake Off finalist Kim-Joy.

Bang Bang is the largest Asian food hall in London

Feast on a nose-to-tail dinner at Wander in East London

As part of her new solo project, Kaizen House, Elizabeth Haigh joins Wander on Tuesday, 5 to Thursday, 7 February for the restaurant’s ongoing guest-chef series. Haigh – a former MasterChef contestant and the palate behind Pidgin’s 2016 Michelin star – has curated a menu to celebrate the Year of the Pig featuring a nose-to-tail hong shao rou (red braised pork) and a mouth-watering take on Malaysian-Chinese yusheng (prosperity salad), a regional CNY classic. The meal costs £35, with an optional £30 wine pairing, and is limited to 28 guests to ensure an intimate evening. But don’t fret if you can’t get a seat for the dinners, Wander is also serving a special Yum Cha menu from Friday, 8 to Saturday, 9 February.

Enjoy family-friendly celebrations at the V&A Museum of Childhood

On Saturday, 9 February, take the kids to the Museum of Childhood for a day of activities planned with those who might be overwhelmed by the city’s larger CNY celebrations in mind. There will be craft activities, an exhibition of Chinese children’s art and, of course, the requisite lion dancers.

Floats make their way through Trafalgar Square

Join one of the largest Chinese New Year parades outside of Asia

Make your way to Central London for the the annual Chinese New Year parade on Sunday, 10 February – reputedly the largest outside of Asia. Kicking off at around 10am on Charing Cross Road, the procession will snake its way down to Shaftesbury Avenue. After the parade, keep the celebration going with the help of outdoor performances. While Trafalgar Square is at the heart of the festivities, wandering revellers will be rewarded in neighbouring areas with smaller, more intimate celebrations – and easier access to food stalls.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article