Celebrate Chinese New Year in London

Did you know London’s celebrations of the Chinese New Year are the largest outside Asia? So as we bid farewell to 2017 and the Year of the Rooster, welcome 2018 and the Year of the Dog 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. This year, Chinese New Year commences on Friday 16th of February 2018 and celebrations usually last for seven days.

It’s the Year of the Dog... What Does it Mean?

The dog is the 11th animal of the Chinese zodiac. Representing loyalty and honesty, people born 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006 and 2018 are said to have some of the best personality traits. Friendly, smart and responsible are just a few of the words used to describe them.  

What’s on in London for Chinese New Year 2018?

Chinese New Year Parade - Sunday 18th February 2018

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 celebrations, it promises to add a huge splash of colour to the streets of London.

The parade kicks off at 10:00 am at Duncannon Street before passing through Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue. The parade ends at Trafalgar Square where spectators will witness the official opening ceremony.

Dancing dragons and lions, 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 firework display at Trafalgar Square for the grand finale!

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 learn a little bit more about Chinese culture.

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.

Shaftesbury Avenue

If you take a trip down to Shaftesbury Avenue on Sunday 18th 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.  

Additional Events

Chinese New Year at The British Museum

On Monday 12th February The British Museum kick off half-term and the beginning of Chinese New Year celebrations by hosting a range of free activities in the Great Court.Running until the 16th February, the five-day celebration includes a range of family-friendly activities related to the occasion, including arts and crafts and performances.

On Friday 16th at 15:00 pm, The British Museum hosts an additional event, Relaxed performance: Explore music from China. Set in the Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of Chinese ceramics, spectators can enjoy a series of gentle music compositions and poetry. This laid back, sensory event benefits those who prefer a relaxed environment, such as those with autism or communication needs.

Museum of London Docklands

Welcome the Year of the Dog at Museum of London Docklands, as they host a special family day which will be full of fun activities for all. On Friday 16th 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.

Chinese New Year Comedy Special

At 19:30 pm on Friday 16th February, St George's Church on Bloomsbury Way will host a Chinese New Year Comedy Special. Over 2 hours five East Asian stand-up comedians will take to the stage, for what promises to be a night full of laughter and fun. Tickets cost just £7 and can be purchased online before the night. This event is only suitable for an adult audience. 

Explore Chinatown

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 Friday 16th 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’s many sensational dishes to try and many different restaurants to choose from. We’ve listed some of our top recommendations. Of course, if you’re hoping to eat at a restaurant in or near to Chinatown over Chinese New Year, you’ll need to book ahead.

Baozi Inn

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. If you’re looking to try something a little more daring, there’s always kelp, pigs intestines and black-ear fungus on offer.

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.  

Cafe TPT

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.  

Four Seasons

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.  

Jen Cafe

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 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.


Wherever and however you choose to celebrate Chinese New Year in London, be sure to book your hop-on hop-off bus tickets with The Original Tour.