London is about to celebrate Chinese New Year in style, so get set for the biggest party anywhere outside of Asia, with the capital hosting a range of parades, performances and, of course, some amazing cuisine! Also known as Lunar New Year, the Chinese New Year festival is just one of many events taking place, but it’s without doubt the biggest in the city, happening in the West End, London’s Chinatown and Trafalgar Square. This is the Year of the Dragon, and thousands of revellers will turn out and make this a day to remember. More stages can be found at Leicester Square, Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue. Of the twelve zodiac signs, the dragon represents power, nobility, vigour and luck. With that in mind, let’s take a look at just some of the attractions on offer…
At 10 am on the 11th of February, Central London will be completely transformed. The largest gathering of lions and dragons anywhere on the continent, this parade is a feast for the senses, featuring martial arts performances, traditional dances and exceptional live music. As night falls, expect an epic firework display, plus, if you’ve yet to see a techno lion dance, get ready, because it’s pretty spectacular! It’s also worth remembering that restaurants in Chinatown will be serving up the very best Chinese food as part of the festivities. Meanwhile, walking tours come highly recommended, with award-winning volunteers who’ll provide a real insight into this unique part of the capital.
Lunar New Year Feasting
The Lunar New Year begins with a reunion dinner, bringing family and friends together to spend time, socialise and, crucially, enjoy some really exceptional food! Chinese New Year- also
known as the Spring Festival - has been part of Chinese culture for thousands of years. All of London’s Chinese restaurants will be offering up dumplings (for wealth) noodles (for longevity) and fish (for surplus). These are the important elements of your feast, but the real point is spending time with family and loved ones, paying tribute to your ancestors and looking to the year ahead with positivity and good feeling. Restaurants celebrating, to name just a few, include Hutong at London Bridge, Mimi Mei Fai in Mayfair and Mei Ume in The City. A night to remember!
An exploration of the genius of Chinese clockmakers, the Science Museum’s new exhibition is a bold, interactive experience that includes lion and dragon dancers, interactive poetry workshops, movie screenings and even a silent disco! Ultimately, it’s an exploration of time, and how quantum physics affects every aspect of our lives. A series of fascinating events means celebrating the Chinese New Year with a real aplomb, taking in the Terracotta Army, a VR of the Tiangong Space Station, a Chinese calligraphy workshop and a zodiac animal trail. Unique and transcendent, this is immersive, informative and unique. Highly recommended.
The Maritime Museum in Greenwich is planning a series of displays to usher in Chinese New Year. Family-friendly workshops, fantastic live performances and a host of exhibitions connected to Southeast Asia will combine to mark the occasion. Expect the classic lion dance, a Tawinese ribbon dance, martial arts displays and exciting performances from local groups. The workshops will provide an opportunity to explore all things connected to the Lunar New Year, with everything from paper folding, hat-making and learning to play Mahjong. Comprehensive, inspirational and a lot of fun, the museum will be alive with festivities. Free to enter on Saturday 3rd February, it promises to be a truly special occasion.
Pan Pacific London is one for the city’s most illustrious hotels, and their legendary Straits kitchen is ready to pay homage to the Year of the Dragon with a superlative four-course feasting menu. Their Orchid Lounge - headed up by world-famous executive chef Cherish Finden - has crafted an exclusive Lunar New Year afternoon tea, and it’s going to be the perfect way to celebrate new beginnings! The food on offer is simply outstanding, with a series of standout dishes that include Spanish pork ribs with orange peel, deep-fried crispy suckling pig with caviar, and fish maw with crab meat, to name just a few. A range of the finest Chinese dishes anywhere in town, this is well worth turning out for.