Celebrate Chinese New Year in London 2019
Did you know London’s festivities are the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia? So as we bid farewell to 2018 and the Year of the Dog, we welcome 2019 and the Year of the Pig with colourful parades, dazzling performances and mouth-watering food! For the easiest way to celebrate the festivities, book your Original Tour bus tickets today.
When is Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival and is the most important date in China’s traditional lunisolar calendar. Chinese New Year always commences on the lunar new year which, this year, falls on Tuesday 5th of February 2019. Celebrations usually last for seven days and Chinese people gift red envelopes filled with money to their loved ones as a symbol of good luck. The celebrations traditionally come to an end with a Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first Lunar month.
It’s the Year of the Pig... What Does it Mean?
The pig is the 12th animal of the Chinese zodiac. Representing luck and wealth, people born in 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007 and 2019 are said to have a beautiful personality whilst being blessed with good fortune. Realistic, enthusiastic and hard working are just a few of the words used to describe them.
What’s on in London for Chinese New Year 2019?
Chinese New Year Parade - Sunday 10th February 2019
Upholding the city’s tradition, the biggest and best celebration will be the Chinese New Year parade, with the main stage hosted at Trafalgar Square. With over 300,000 people taking part in the Chinese New Year celebrations in London, it promises to add a huge splash of colour to the streets.
The parade meanders through Chinatown before passing through Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue. The parade ends at Trafalgar Square where spectators will witness the official opening ceremony.
Dragon and lion dances, street performers and a burst of sound will ripple across London, bringing lively festivities and fun to all.
Be sure to stick around for the pyrotechnic display at Trafalgar Square for the grand finale and an explosion of Chinese New Year fireworks in London!
Leicester Square Family Fun
If you hop-off one of our buses at Leicester Square during the official Chinese New Year Parade, you’ll find plenty to keep the kids entertained while they take part in Chinese cultural activities.
Teach your children about the art of calligraphy, dance to Chinese music and watch family-friendly street performances. There’s also the chance to dress up in traditional Chinese attire.
If you want to fully embrace Chinese New Year, then take your family to Leicester Square and add a bit of culture to your weekend.
If you take a trip down to Shaftesbury Avenue on Sunday 10th February, then you’ll witness a showcase of martial arts, including Tai Chi Chuan. There are hundreds of fighting styles that have developed over the centuries in China, so it’s only right that London celebrates this part of Chinese heritage.
Chinese New Year Events in London
Museum of London Docklands
Welcome the Year of the Pig at Museum of London Docklands, as they host a special family festival which will be full of fun activities for all. On Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd February, the museum will host a variety of arts and crafts, calligraphy, Chinese stories and even a ribbon dance.
Entry to the event is free of charge and will begin at 11:00 and run until 16:30 pm. If you’re looking for something different to do with the kids, drop in and spend some time learning about the Chinese culture.
Don't forget to check our updated events list closer to Chinese New Year.
Geographically, Chinatown London is situated with Shaftesbury Avenue lying to the North, Rupert Street to the West, Charing Cross Road to the East and Leicester Square to the South. Chinatown is a busy East Asian community and offers fantastic, authentic Chinese shops, bakeries and food.
Throughout the year, Chinatown is a fascinating place to visit. Keep your eyes open for street signs written in Chinese, decorative stone lions and sculptures and a spectacular array of colour. A trip to Chinatown really does give an insight into Chinese traditions and culture.
Most of London’s Chinese New Year festivities occur in an around Chinatown, with the official London parade on Sunday 10th February taking place here.
Where to Eat in Chinatown
It goes without saying that Chinatown is the best place to sample authentic Chinese cuisine in London. There are many sensational dishes to try and many different Chinese restaurants to choose from. We’ve listed some of our top recommendations. Of course, if you’re hoping to celebrate Chinese New Year at a restaurant in London, especially in Chinatown, you’ll need to book ahead.
26 Newport Court, London WC2H 7JS
Price Rating: £- ££
If it’s a rustic experience you’re after then Baozi Inn is the place to go. What’s more, the menu is so extensive, you’ll probably struggle to make a decision. Try their signature dumplings, spicy street food, skewered meat platters or chunky udon-style noodles.
21 Wardour St, London W1D 6PN
Price Rating: ££- £££
If it’s Chinese-style street food that takes your fancy then head to Cafe TPT. This understated little place serves up generous helpings of Cantonese and Malaysian dishes. From meaty broths to succulent pork ribs, there’s plenty of menu options to sink your teeth into.
23 Wardour St, London W1D 5PR
Price Rating: ££- £££
Known for its scrumptious duck dishes and finger-licking BBQ meats, Four Seasons is a popular choice for dinner while in Chinatown. This low key dining option offers tasty tapas style options so you can try a whole host of taste sensations.
4-8 Newport Place, London WC2H 7JP
Price Rating: £
If you’re a bit short on time and you’re looking for a quick taste of authentic Chinese cuisine, seek out Jen Cafe. There’s always time for a quick cup of tea and it just happens to be Jen Cafe’s speciality. Try a refreshing bubble tea, which comes in a variety of flavours, from mango to peanut. Jen Cafe also serves up traditional oriental teas that can be served hot or cold. If you’re a bit peckish then why not sample some spicy-pork dumplings or soy sauce octopus.
The Shan State
Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 5EF
Price Rating: ££- £££
Whether you order dumplings, noodles, hot pot or something spicy, you really can’t go wrong. The Shan State restaurant takes its inspiration from the actual place, The Shan State, which is situated in the province of Myanmar. Bordering Thailand, China and Laos, the Burmese cuisine served in this London restaurant delivers a fusion of delicious tastes that can be rivalled by few. It’s contemporary ambience and creativity doesn’t fail to draw the crowds.
Wherever and however you choose to celebrate Chinese New Year in London 2019, be sure to book your hop-on hop-off bus tickets with The Original Tour.