back to top

16 Things To Do In London For Chinese New Year

The best New Year is Chinese New Year.

Posted on

1. Visit the Magical Lantern Festival.

Instagram: @visitlondonofficial

This is pretty damn magical. Along with hundreds of glowing lanterns, there's an ice rink, an ice bar, acrobats, martial arts performances, puppet shows from Guangdong, opera singers and multiple dances.

FYI, the grand finale lights show is at 5:30pm, so make sure to be there before then.

When: Until 29th Feb

Where: Chiswick

Price: From £16.50

Book here

2. Take a morning walk through the West End to Trafalgar Square.

Steve McLaren / Via Flickr: smclaren

The biggest CNY event outside of Asia, London gets over 700,000 people coming out to celebrate in the city. This year, there'll be celebrations from West End all the way to Chinatown. Chinatown will be the main hotspot, but don't overlook these areas – there'll be a parade from Charing Cross Road to Shaftesbury Avenue in the morning, before stage performances start in Trafalgar Square at 11am.

When: 29th Jan

Where: West End and Trafalgar Square

Price: Free

3. Watch films at Shuffle Festival.

Central Motion Pictures Corporation

In terms of events, this is one of the best value ones. Shuffle Festival will be screening two films, as well as hosting a cocktail dinner party in between each one, all for the low price of £15 (about the same a single cinema ticket in Leicester Square).

The evening starts with a screening of The Divide, with the director joining you for a home-cooked dinner and lychee wine cocktails after. A screening of Hou Hsiao-Hsien's A Time To Live, A Time To Die will end the night.

When: 3rd Feb, 6pm to 11:45pm

Location: East London

Price: £15

Book here


4. Try the Chinese New Year menu at Ping Pong.

David Loftus

Ping Pong are doing a special Chinese New Year menu, with edible gold-painted seafood dumplings and Year of the Rooster-themed cocktails made with red rum, blood orange, yuzu and tea.

When: on until 11th Feb

Where: various locations across London

Price: food from £4.95, cocktails from £7.95

Book here

5. Order Fancy Funkin Chicken's CNY burger.

Fancy Funkin' Chicken

Fancy Funkin' Chicken are doing a CNY burger, called the "Lucky No. 8", made with fried chicken, hoisin mayonnaise, sweet and sticky chilli bacon and Chinese pickled slaw.

Maybe it's an abomination against nature. Or maybe it'll be a taste sensation. Either way, I'm sure you'll let me know your opinions in the comments.

When: available until 29th Jan

Where: Brixton

Price: less than a tenner, more than a fiver

Book here

6. Watch the Grand Chinese New Year Concert at the Barbican.

Grand Chinese New Year

The year of the rooster marks the 20th anniversary of this concert, and this year will feature performances from both the Shaanxi Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra and Zhejiang Traditional Orchestra.

When: 7th Feb, 7:30pm

Where: Barbican

Price: From £25

Book here

7. Order Mamalan's CNY dumplings.


Mamalan's – one of the best dumpling places in London – is doing a special "Red Rooster" chicken dumplings in honour of the New Year.

When: 27th Jan to 2nd Feb

Location: East London

Price: £6.50 for five dumplings

Book here


8. Watch the parade in Chinatown.

Paul / Via Flickr: vegaseddie

The classic way to spend Chinese New Year in London. It'll be noisy, over-crowded and an experience you'll remember. Because why mess with what's been tried and tested for years?

When: 28th Jan, from 10am

Location: Leicester Square

Price: free

9. Hide out at Opium Chinatown.

Opium Chinatown

If it all gets too much for you in Chinatown though, know that there's a refuge in Opium. A bar hidden behind a jade door on Chinatown's Gerrard Street, it's an oasis of calm, dim sum served until 3am, and cracking cocktails. Book a table on the top floor next to the giant windows – you'll be able to watch the celebrations in relative peace and quiet.

When: open everyday, but I'd try book for the 29th of Jan

Where: Chinatown

Price: cocktails from £10.50, non-alcoholic drinks from £5

Book here

10. Visit the V&A Museum of Childhood.


There's no reason to stop celebrating after this weekend: the V&A museum of childhood will be doing traditional and modern instrumental and dance performances, Chinese Opera mask-making, and costume and calligraphy workshops in Feb.

When: 11th Feb, 11:30am to 4:30pm

Where: Bethnal Green

Price: Free

11. Drink Fu Manchu's 'The Year Of The Rooster' cocktail.

Fu Manchu

Clapham's own dim sum restaurant, club and bar have come up with a chilli-infused Red Rooster vodka cocktail to welcome in the New Year with. Drink if you dare. Whether you're a fan of spice or not though, Fu Manchu's a great alternative to central celebrations, especially if you feel like a post-celebration dance.

When: 28th Jan

Where: Clapham

Price: £8.50 for the cocktail

Book here


12. Attend a dumpling masterclass at Chinese Laundry.

Chinese Laundry

Start your New Year off right by learning this essential skill at Chinese Laundry's CNY dumpling masterclasses. FYI, they're being hosted tonight and tomorrow, so on the plus side you'll be able to make your own dumplings for CNY, but also you need to book RIGHT NOW if you want to go.

When: 25th and 26th of Jan

Location: Islington

Price: £45

Book here.

13. Check out the CNY celebrations at the National Maritime Museum.

National Maritime Museum

Head to the National Maritime Museum for a weekend of workshops and performances: my picks would be the ribbon dance workshop, the Chinese New Year storytelling or the Guangzhou Art Troupe performance.

When: 28th to 29th Jan

Where: Greenwich

Price: Free

14. Book a 'Double Happiness' Chinese New Year tasting menu at Hutong.

Instagram: @hutongshard

Ok, first things first, this is ridiculously expensive at £88 a head. But, it's a tasting menu at a Hutong at The Shard, and that's kind of to be expected – Alain Ducasse's tasting menu, for example, is well over £100 a head. Plus, the restaurant is located in The Shard, and features one of the most spectacular views in London. AND, I have been here myself and I can confirm both the food and cocktails are phenomenal.

So if you want to splash out for CNY, seriously consider this – alongside the food, there'll be lion dancers, noise makers to ward off evil spirits, Chinese musicians and special red pocket gifts. Check out the menu here.

When: 28th Jan

Where: London Bridge

Price: £88 a head

Book here

15. Watch the Philharmonia Orchestra's CNY performance.

Philharmonia Orchestra

Royal Festival Hall will be hosting a beautiful Chinese New Year Gala Concert with a performances from the Philharmonia Orchestra. Given as you're celebrating in London, this is pretty fitting: Long Yu (Music Director of the China Philharmonic) and a plethora of A-grade musicians will be drawing from both Chinese and Western music for the night's programme.

When: 9th Feb, 7:30pm

Where: Southbank

Price: From £15

Book here

16. Go around the London Eye.

The London Eye will be doing a whole weekend of special celebrations this Chinese New Years that include dragon dancers, appearances from Kung Fu Panda and a special red and gold light show every hour from 4pm. Either book tickets to go round the eye, or just rock up to watch the show for free.

When: 27th to 29th Jan

Where: Southbank

Price: £22.45

Book here