One of the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia takes place in London, in fact, this is the biggest outdoor event in London attended by hundreds of thousands of people each year.
The Chinese community, the city and the various organizations and sponsors come together to put on an extraordinary event that includes a spectacular Grand Parade through the streets of London, lively street fairs and markets, dazzling performances, concerts, fireworks and occasionally, a stunning Lantern Festival coincides with the dates of the Lunar New Year.
This is a wonderful time for kids in London with such a lively atmosphere, colorful and energetic lions, majestic dragons parading through the streets, crackling sounds of firecrackers and of course, this being a Chinese festival, food food food!
There is much going on throughout the city at museums, schools, art and cultural centers, shopping centers, restaurants, and at many of the city's tourist attractions.
There are music and dance performances, concerts, arts and crafts demos, lion dances, workshops... but without a doubt the highlight of the celebrations is the Grand Parade and Festival which is the biggest lion and dragon procession in Europe and definitely THE not-to-miss event.
London Chinese New Year Celebration Highlights 2020 Welcoming The Year Of The Rat
Mark your calendars because February 10, 2019 is when it all happens. The celebrations kick off at 10:00 am and go on all day throughout Central London, the West End, and of course Chinatown.
It's a day packed with over a thousand local and international performers, music, dance, firecrackers, dragons, lions, kung fu teams, food stalls, crafts and knick knacks, a fantastic family day out!!!
So what happens, when and where? Here are some of the highlights!
The Grand Parade through Central London - 10:00 am - approximately noon
Stages are set up and numerous performances are held, music, dance, acrobatics, kung fu, lion dancers, dragons...
Lion Dances through the streets of Chinatown
Pop up stalls with crafts, toys, decorations, food...
Grand Finale and fireworks at Trafalgar Square to mark the official end at 6:00 pm
London Chinese New Year Parade Route and Festival Map
Main Stage at Trafalgar Square
Stage at Shaftesbury Ave.
Pop Up Crafts and Food Stalls
Lion Dances in Chinatown
London Chinese New Year Grand Parade
The Grand Parade kicks off the celebrations at Trafalgar Square at 10:00 am. This is the largest dragon and lion parade in Europe, a fantastic lively event with troupes of performers in lively colorful costumes, floats, bands, kung fu teams, lion dancers, acrobats and front and center, majestic dragons making their way through the streets of London...
Stages set up for the festivities feature outstanding local performers and from abroad. Folk dances, music, opera, flying Chinese lions, all in their colorful costumes highlighting Chinese heritage and culture...
And throughout the streets of Chinatown, teams of Lion Dancers jump, kick, tumble and dazzle everyone with their magnificent and energetic performances, spreading the good luck for the upcoming new year to all...
No festival is complete without an array of stalls brimming with all sorts of crafts, games, decorations, souvenirs...
...and of course food!
London Lunar New Year Parade and Festival 2020
When: Sunday, January 26, 2020 - 10:00 am - 6:00 pm (official end of the celebrations but the fun continues on throughout Chinatown until late)
Where: Streets of Central London, the West End, Chinatown
How Much: FREE!
What is Where and When?
Exact routes and stall set up might change, pay attention to road closures that indicate parade route and basically follow the crowds...
Parade route: Parade assembles at Trafalgar Square at 10:00 am and starts from Duncannon Street, moving along Charing Cross Road to Shaftesbury Avenue towards Chinatown where it disperses after reaching Wardour Street. See Map of Parade Route
Stages for Music, Dance, Cultural Performances, Acrobatics, etc:The Main Stage is set up in Trafalgar Square, there will be an opening ceremony following the parade around noon, performances from the different groups as well as lion and dragon dances will take place throughout the day.
A second stage is set up on Shaftesbury Avenue near Wardour Street.
Lion Dances: All day throughout Chinatown: Gerrard, Lisle , Wardour, Leicester Streets, Shaftesbury Avenue
Food: Besides the pop up stalls, most restaurants in Chinatown will be featuring their best Chinese New Year special menus but note that some of the most popular restaurants get booked weeks in advance!
Firecrackers: No specific place for viewing during the day, fireworks and firecrackers explode all over the streets in Chinatown throughout the day, just follow the lions...
Fireworks: The Grand Finale act takes place at Trafalgar Square and starts around 5:00 pm culminating with a light show, firecrackers and fireworks at 6:00 pm
London's iconic landmark typically shines red and gold during the Chinese New Year weekend
with the London Eye featuring lots of special events to commemorate the ocassion, including a specially designed lightshow every hour from 4:00 pm, Dragon and Lion Dancers and many more "surprises"!
When: Exact dates will be announced closer to the new year, around the January 25, 2020 weekend, keep an eye on their FB Page