Chinese New Year in London
Break open your fortune cookies and unwrap your chopsticks – it’s Chinese New Year, and the capital is bursting with oriental fun, food and festivities!
This year is the Chinese Year of the Sheep, and celebrations will be taking place throughout London, but it’s Chinatown near Leicester Square where the real action is at.
The ‘new year’ itself is Thursday February 19, although it’s the following Sunday when the party really gets started and Chinatown hosts it amazing annual parade. Chinatown’s celebrations are actually the biggest in the world outside of China, so you are in for a real treat if you head on down (nearest tube: Leicester Square) and join in the fun.
The parade starts at 10.00am with an official launch in Trafalgar Square, and winds its way through the West End before arriving in Chinatown. The streets will be packed, so arrive early!
As well as the dragon dancers and Chinese entertainers, there will be traders selling food and Chinese crafts along the procession route – in fact, over 1000 performers and volunteers will be taking part.
There will also be a stage set up in Shaftesbury Avenue where local performers and new up and coming Chinese talent will strut their stuff.
There are around 100 restaurants in China town, and all will be doing something to celebrate the New Year – but it’s best to book a table in advance if you want to dine out, as they will all be filled to capacity on the day of the parade!
If the New Year celebrations whet your appetite for Chinese cuisine, why not take a course at one of London’s many oriental cookery schools? The School of Wok http://www.schoolofwok.co.uk/ in Covent Garden does one day, weekend and evening courses, while Mama Wang’s kitchen offers pop up supper clubs throughout the city and cookery classes in EC1V – ten minutes from Old Street Tube. http://www.mamawangskitchen.com/chinese-cookery-classes/