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5 brilliant Chinese New Year celebrations in London

By Stephanie Hartman

Make your Year of the Dog a good one by letting your hair down at Trafalgar Square’s annual party, getting crafty at a workshop or tucking into authentic Chinese grub a CNY pop-up feast. Remember to book ahead if you’re hoping to nab a table at one of the best restaurants in Chinatown and use our handy guide to Chinese New Year in London to make it the best year yet. 

1. The big one

London will be awash with colourful Chinese New Year celebrations

The central London celebrations and parade make up the largest Chinese New Year party outside Asia, always attracting a mega crowd. A colourful Chinese New Year parade will set off from Charing Cross Road at 10am with a dragon and lion dance shimmying into Chinatown, while Trafalgar Square’s main stages will spring into action at noon. Calligraphy workshops and performances in the Leicester Square family zone will keep the kids happy – and the closing pyrotechnics display back in Trafalgar Square will have them, and you, wowed.
Chinese New Year parade
. Sun Feb 18. Various London locations. From 10am. Free.

2. The vegan one

Tuck into a vegan Chinese feast at Mao Chow

Earlier this year, purveyors of plant-based Chinese food Mao Chow took over the kitchen at cocktail bar Pamela, bringing bowlfuls of hearty vegan Chinese cuisine to the Kingsland Road. For the Lunar New Year you’ll find them serving up five courses of dumplings, stir-fried rice cakes with ‘beef’ jerky, celery and doubanjiang and steaming chongqing noodles. Luck out with fortune cookies and kumquat ice cream for dessert and rhubarb cocktails with fig liqueur from the bar.
Vegan Chinese New Year Dinner at Pamela. Haggerston Overground. £35.

3. The feelgood one

Join Chinese New Year workshops at Westfield

Peace and tranquillity. Not what you’d normally associate with giant shopping centres, but hear us out. At these Westfield wellness workshops, you can unlock your inner Zen with a mini meditation sesh, create a terrarium to take home or put your core through its paces with a spot of paddleboard yoga. Beats the usual sharp-elbowed shopping scramble.
Chinese New Year Workshops
. Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City. Thu Feb 15-Sun Feb 18. Free.


4. The pop-up one

Lucky and Joy at Hurwundeki

Get your chops around pickled peanuts,  ‘longevity noodles’ and yunnan pineapple rice at Lucky & Joy’s four-night feast.
Lucky & Joy at Hurwundeki
. Cambridge Heath Overground. Wed Feb 14-Sat Feb 17. £25-£38. Email:


5. The crafty one

Tea time at China Exchange

Once you’ve soaked up feelgood vibes at the New Year’s Day parade, head to the China Exchange to create your own postcard inspired by the festivities and hear more about the traditions of the Spring Festival. Celebrations continue at the Exchange until February 25 with tea-making workshops, a traditional Chinese dress experience, cocktails classes and an evening with cute pooches.
China Exchange
. Leicester Square. Sun Feb 18-Feb 25. Prices vary.

Gearing up for the Year of the Dog? Check out these insider's tips for celebrating CNY in central London.

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