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Chinese New Year 2020 in London

Dragon dancers at Chinese New Year celebrations in London. Photo: Jon Mo / LCCA.

For the latest updates on the day of the Chinese New Year London celebrations, follow the official #CNYLondon hashtag on social media. 

  • Chinese New Year activities take place in Chinatown, Trafalgar Square and across the West End
  • London's Lunar New Year festivities welcome the Year of the Rat
  • The parade kicks off at 10am, followed by entertainment in Trafalgar Square from 11am and activities at West End zones from 12pm.
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Join London's Chinese New Year celebrations, the largest outside Asia, with colourful parades, performances and displays in and around Chinatown and London’s West End. Read More


Celebrate the Year of the Rat in London, with the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people descend on the West End to enjoy a colourful parade, free stage performances and traditional Chinese food, and to wish each other "Xin Nian Kuai Le" (Happy New Year in Mandarin) or "San Nin Faai Lok" (in Cantonese).

For the latest updates on the day of the Chinese New Year London celebrations, follow the official #CNYLondon hashtag on social media.

When is Chinese New Year celebrated in London?

Chinese New Year always falls between late January and mid-February. The Chinese New Year festival in central London, which is organised by the London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA), usually takes place close to the actual date of the new year.

In 2020, Chinese New Year falls on 25 January, with the London celebrations taking place the following day on 26 January

Where do London's Chinese New Year celebrations take place?

The central London festivities take place across the West End, from Shaftesbury Avenue in the north down to Trafalgar Square.

There are lively activities and foodie treats in Chinatown; Leicester Square offers family-friendly entertainment; and while Trafalgar Square hosts the main stage performances, more stages can be found on Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road.

Chinese New Year in London event programme

Happy Chinese New Year 2019! 🐷Kung Hei Fat Choy! 🇨🇳🇬🇧⬇️ С Новым 2019 годом уже по китайскому календарю! Или Кунг Хэй Фат Чой (чуть язык не поломала☺️) Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival is a huge festival in London with a fantastic parade, #liondance in #chinatown and delicious Chinese street food! #cnylondon We felt lucky to see the lion dance where one person represents the head and another the tail 🦁) It looks and sounds a bit scary with drums and gong and small kids are normally not impressed) but it does look funny) Lettice being offered to a lion and that brings luck and happiness to the business owner and spectators! 💰 #liondance #luckyme We love Chinese New Year and it is our tradition to be a part of celebration every year and to welcome a new animal! Chinese food, lotus buns and #fortunecracker what can be better, honestly) It is George’s favourite animal - Pig 🐽 ☺️🐷 and here for the great year 2019! Oink oink oink🤗 #chinaexchangeuk 🇨🇳 🇬🇧 organized great activities for kids 👧👦and legend about 12 animals of Zodiac-next post. Do you celebrate #chinesenewyear too?! Join next year- it is worth it! Китайский Новый год, ещё называемый праздником Весны- яркое событие в жизни Лондона с парадом, танцем льва в Китай городе и ароматной китайской едой! #китайгород Всегда рада быть в числе тех, кто воочию наслаждается танцем льва, где 2 или 3 человека изображают голову, туловище и хвост льва! Смешно смотреть на виляющего хвостом льва) Этот #танецльва приводит в смущение детей неимоверно громким звуком барабана и гонга- не для слабонервных! Но это приносит денежную удачу и счастье и владельцам ресторана и зевакам! Льву вручается за это пучок салата с красивого подноса! Каждый год мы ездим в Китай город и принимаем участие в празднестве, смотрим парад, слушаем песни на Трафальгарской площади и вкушаем китайские деликатесы, не забывая поприветствовать новое животное! Печеньки счастья #fortunecookie с пророческими пожеланиями, десерты и всегда новое животное- наш пакет счастья! В этом году любимое животное Джорджа вступает в свои владения- Свинка! Да здравствует пятачок- хрю- хрю- хрю!🐷🤗 Далее в комментариях... ⬇

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The 2020 festivities celebrate the Year of the Rat with an incredible lineup of activities taking place across Chinatown, Trafalgar Square and the West End.

Chinese New Year parade:

Watch colourful hand-crafted floats take part in the vibrant Chinese New Year parade, featuring the largest gathering of Chinese lions and dragons in Europe.

The colourful parade kicks off at 10am on Charing Cross Road (north of Trafalgar Square), before snaking its way through Shaftesbury Avenue in Chinatown.

Trafalgar Square:

The fun in Trafalgar Square begins from 11am with screen shows and a thanksgiving ceremony, followed by firecrackers, speeches and the Lions’ Eye-Dotting Ceremony.

Experience traditional flying dragon and lion dances at 12.50pm, ahead of fun-filled stage performances throughout the day from 1.15pm. Just some of the entertainment usually on offer includes Chinese dance shows, music performances and an exciting lineup of artists.

For those visiting with little ones, head over the National Gallery for fun family activities, from arts and crafts workshops to traditional dance sessions. 

If you’re feeling peckish, experience a taste of the far east with street food dishes from the stalls lining the square throughout the celebrations.

As night falls over London, the finale gets underway with a variety of showstopper performances to mark the end of the Year of the Rat festivities.

West End stages:

The London Chinese New Year fun continues across the West End with special performances, workshops and activities from 12pm to 5pm.

Spot up-and-coming artists from the UK and Asia at the talent and community zone on Shaftesbury Avenue.

Take the kids to the family zone in Leicester Square for cultural activities and family-friendly entertainment, including the chance to dress up in traditional outfits.

See thrilling martial art performances and demonstrations at the martial arts and cultural zone on Charing Cross Road


Head over to Chinatown, where you’ll be able to see lion dances and take selfies with Chinese zodiac animals, as well as the lucky Money God.

Or, sit down for a traditional Chinese New Year meal and festive treats in one of Chinatown’s restaurants.

Follow our 10 tips for Chinese New Year in London to make the most of your time at the event.

How to get to the Chinese New Year event

The area around Chinatown and Trafalgar Square gets very busy during London's Chinese New Year celebrations, so be sure to plan your route in advance using our travel guide and read our tips on how to stay safe in London

Alternatively, book a hotel near Chinatown to stay near the Chinese New Year action.

About Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival and Lunar New Year, is a huge festival among Chinese communities in London and across the world.

Based on the lunar and solar calendars, the actual date of Chinese New Year varies and each year in the Chinese calendar is represented by one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. Chinese New Year 2020, the Year of the Rat, falls on 25 January. 

Learn more about the traditions of Chinese New Year.

Map your way around the London celebrations on 26 January with the Visit London app. Plus, find more things to do during Chinese New Year in London, including special Chinese New Year events in the capital. 

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