If you’re coming to London this January to celebrate Chinese New Year, you’ve chosen well! Every year, London puts on an exciting special event filled with dancing, music and processions, called the Dragon Dance in celebration of the Lunar New Year! Not only does the Dragon Dance make the Chinese community in London feel at home, but also brings the buzz of joy and festivities to the capital in January.
Loved by locals and the Asian community, there are also many restaurants for you to choose from. There will be something to ensure that everyone’s tastes are satisfied!
Fun fact: did you know that this year marks the start of the Year of the Rat according to the Chinese Calendar. In the story of the Chinese Zodiac Race, the rat finished in first place because it outsmarted the ox. As we had welcomed in a new decade on the 1 January 2020, Lunar New Year also welcomes in the year of the rat as the first animal on its zodiac calendar on Saturday 25 January 2020.
In this article, we are going to be sharing a selection of fun Chinese New Year activities that you can enjoy in the city during the Chinese New Year. Everyone is welcome!
It wouldn’t be Chinese New Year without the Dragon Dance show. The dragon is a symbol of good luck in Chinese culture. The longer the dance, the more luck brought to the community. Head over to the West End on 26 January to fill your pockets with good luck for this year.
The dance is performed by experienced acrobat artists, lifting the dragon above their heads as they run. They use poles to coordinate the movement of the dragon, making it dance.
The show is free to watch and tickets in advance aren’t necessary as everyone is welcome!
Be sure to plan your trip in advance as the celebrations will certainly draw a crowd. Lots of people will head to the area to enjoy the show and continue the celebrations in Chinatown, the food wonderland of London.
Location: Central London festivities take place across the West End, from Shaftesbury Avenue in the north down to Trafalgar Square.
How to get there: You can get to the area by Tube or bus. Click here to read our guide on How To Travel Around London Like A Local.
Date: Sunday 26 January 2020
Eat your dumplings
By tradition, those who celebrate the new year should be eating dumplings as part of every meal of the day! It is traditionally believed that dumplings resemble the ancient silver and gold ingots, symbolizing wealth. Transcended to the present day, this means that the more dumplings you eat during the Chinese New Year, the more money you will be making in the upcoming year. See our suggestions below for Chinatown’s top dumpling restaurants:
Dumplings’ Legend makes an impressive amount of dumplings everyday, over 8,000 of them! It’s the perfect restaurant for lovers of traditional dumplings with a yummy twist. With nine options and 47 variations, everyone will be guaranteed to find something they love!
The Ugly Dumpling
If the western style fused with Asian home recipes is more to your taste, Ugly Dumpling is the perfect option for you. The restaurant combines Western and Asian ingredients to create a dumpling fit for both!
Bringing Chinese Entertainment to London
At the Chinese Visual Festival, you’ll be able to enjoy the very best of Chinese selected films ranging from drama and comedy to fiction movies. The screenings in London will be taking place at BFI Southbank, King’s College London and Regent Street Cinema.
Here are some London titles
Dates: 19 January 2020 – 26 January 2020
Please note that tickets must be purchased in advance.
Bang Bang Oriental Foodhall
The Bang Bang Oriental Foodhall will be hosting their own event to celebrate Chinese New Year. The event is free to enter. See below for exciting things you can expect
- Lion Dance
- Chinese Children Dance Show performed by the UK China Performing Arts
- Chinese and Malaysian Vocal Performance from Amy Yeoh
- Filipino Dance Performance by D’MOMMAS & D’GROOVERS
- Mongolian Dance and Hand Drum Dance performances by the Harrow Chinese School
To bring more fun to the celebration, their Money God will be handing out a limited amount of hongbao envelopes to guests before 7:30 pm. Selected envelopes will contain lucky raffle tickets, where guests can win fun prizes ranging from two free China Airline return tickets from London to Taipei to gift vouchers.
Date: 24 January 2020
Location: 399 Edgware Road, Colindale, London, NW9 0FH
Brent Cross Shopping Centre
To celebrate Chinese New Year, Brent Cross Shopping Centre will be hosting a free event for shoppers to enjoy shows and fun activities for all age groups.
In terms of performances, you can expect a Chinese Lion and Dragon Dance as well as Female Qi Tao and Tai Chi demonstrations.
There will also be activities to ensure that our younger friends can enjoy themselves with art and craft activities, including face paint!
To make the welcome of the rat year more memorable, have your name written in Chinese calligraphy as a keepsake.
Date: 2 February 2020
Time: 1pm – 5pm
Location: Prince Charles Dr, Hendon, London NW4 3FP