While Chinese New Year falls on the 16th February, the actual celebrations happening in London will be taking place on the 18th February. So, dress up in your best red clothing and help celebrate the start of the Year of the Dog!
Head to Chinatown and the West End
It would be only natural to assume that a huge amount of the celebrations for Chinese New Year would be happening in Chinatown, and you would be right. Head to this bustling selection of restaurants and curiosity shops to experience the magic of Chinese New Year right in the heart of the people who celebrate it the best!
The celebration will kick off at 10am on the 18th February with a fantastic display of the traditional dragon and lion dances in Trafalgar Square, followed by the Chinese New Year parade, leading the crowds towards Chinatown where a day of festivities and food will await.
If you’re looking for something new and exciting – head to Charing Cross Road where the Hong Kong stage will showcase a number of upcoming British-Chinese artists. Or, if you have your family with you, the Family Stage in Leicester Square will keep everyone entertained with calligraphy workshops, dressing up and performances. Finally, the martial arts and cultural zone on Shaftsbury Avenue is a great place to view some thrilling tae chi chuan and taekwondo performances.
Enjoy some amazing Chinese cuisine
It wouldn’t be Chinese New Year without sampling some of the mouth-watering delicacies that Chinese cuisine is so famous for. Either stick to Chinatown, where there will be an enormous selection of food trucks and restaurants to choose from or branch out further afield and discover the large number of Chinese restaurants that London is home to.
If you’re gluten intolerant or coeliac, don’t worry! You don’t have to miss out on a day of Chinese food – head to Naturally Chinese! Just 15-minute train ride from London Waterloo, this Chinese restaurant is completely gluten and msg free, so you can sample just as much as everyone else!
Visit the Museum of London Docklands
While this may not sound like the most exciting Chinese New Year destination, bear with us. On actual Chinese New Year (the 16th February) the Museum of London Docklands is throwing an event to introduce people to all parts of Chinese celebration culture.
Chinatown wasn’t always where it is today – the original community actually made its home near to the docks, so you’ll be right at the place where Chinese culture took off in London as you try out taekwondo taster sessions, ribbon dancing classes, calligraphy and watch an authentic lion dance to bring in the new year.
Try out a Baijiu cocktail
Baijiu Cocktail Week this year has been organised to coincide with Chinese New Year, in order to celebrate the Chinese spirit known as Firewater. Baijiu is China’s most popular and traditional drink. It is a white spirit with 52% proof and is brewed using ancient techniques with fermented grains.
Find out where you can sample some of these weird and wonderful concoctions here.
Immerse yourself in the celebration in Beijing
If celebrating Chinese New Year in London isn’t going to be enough for you, why not head over to Beijing to celebrate right in the heart of Chinese culture. Chinese New Year in China lasts from the 15th to the 21st February and is filled with a number of wonderful cultural celebrations that even tourists can get involved in.
Chinese New Year’s Eve is traditionally a family focused day, so it might be better to head out later if you’re going to be a bystander for the celebration, however there are spectacular fireworks launched to bring in the new year after the family meal in the evening.
After the first day of the Chinese New Year, the 16th, there’s a multitude of events to keep everyone occupied. Visit temple fairs to taste the local flavour through food, art, music and games. Pick yourself up a souvenir or try something new you’ve never tasted before.
However, people in Beijing do more to celebrate than simply visit temple fairs. There are a number of other local festival events that provide insights into every aspect of celebrations – from food and drink to sport competitions and winter fairs. Make sure to research the Longtan Fair, a sporting event with crowd participation; the Old Summer Palace, for Dance routines, ice football, and operas celebrating the Qing Dynasty; and many more!
It’s amazing that you can find so much culture right on your doorstep in London – we hope you have a fantastic time celebrating in whatever way you choose. For storage right on your doorstep in Knightsbridge and Bloomsbury, why not take a look at CitySpace storage to find a storage solution right for you.