How to celebrate Chinese New Year in the UK

Friday 25 January 2019

Celebrated on the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar, Chinese New Year is a two-week spring festival which takes place on 5 February 2019. Wear red and jade for luck, and join in with one of these colourful celebrations taking place across Britain to mark the Year of the Pig.

Taste Chinese delicacies in London, England

Performers celebrating Chinese New Year in Chinatown London

Head over to the capital and take part in London's Chinese New Year celebrations which are free to attend. Join in the colourful Chinese parade that dances its way through the West End before heading over to Trafalgar Square where you can see stage performances, dance troupes, acrobats, dragon and flying lion dances, opera and martial art acts. The Chinese New Year ends with a grand finale of fireworks and a spectacular show. Make sure to stop by Chinatown where you can sample traditional delicacies at an abundance of restaurants and pop-up food stands.

When? 5 February 2019

Getting there: taking place in London, the celebrations can be easily reached via the London Underground. Chinatown is closest to Leicester Square station.

Mark the end of Chinese New Year in Durham, north-east England

Join Durham University Oriental Museum for their unique late night opening to mark the end of Chinese New Year and the Lunar New Year Lantern Festival. For one night only, visitors can see the museum lit by lanterns, enjoy traditional crafts, and listen to stories. Even better, the event is free for children under two, and just £2 for all other visitors, and the first 100 children receive a free lantern.   

When? 19 February 2019

Getting there: The Oriental Museum is a five-minute drive from Durham city centre. Durham is in the north of England and roughly three hours by car from London.


Celebrate with traditional dance in Birmingham, central England

Chinese acrobats, martial arts and a Chinese Dragon Dance are among the centrepiece events of Birmingham’s Chinese festival at The Arcadian. Add in bundles of authentic Chinese street food and an abundance of activities and workshops for children, as well as a special traditional lion dance performance at Birmingham Airport, one of the festival’s main sponsors.

When? 10 February 2019 (The lion dance is on 5 February)

Getting there: Birmingham is in the Midlands, central England, roughly a two-and-a-half-hour drive from London. Alternatively, train journeys take between one-and-a-half-hours and two hours, depending on whether you travel from or London Euston or London Marylebone station.


Revel in Nottingham’s gala atmosphere

Immerse yourself in traditional and contemporary Chinese culture at the Nottingham Chinese New Year Gala, by the Nottingham Confucius Institute. Held at Nottingham’s Djanogly Theatre, a host of singers, dancers and martial artists are set to woo crowds and welcome in the Year of the Pig in style

When? 9 February (2 performances) and 10 February (1 performance)

Getting there: Nottingham is in central England, around a three-hour drive from London. Train routes from St Pancras International station to Nottingham take between one-and-a-half-hours and two hours.


Go dragon spotting in Manchester, north England

Chinese New Year

To commemorate the Year of the Pig, the Dragon Parade will take to the streets of Manchester to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Chinatown Manchester

See the parade, led by a spectacular 175-foot dragon, as it makes its way to Chinatown from Albery Square, where you'll find traditional Chinese entertainment, more than 6,000 lanterns adorning the streets, lion dances, street food villages and a firework finale.

Additionally, Manchester Art Gallery will celebrate the Year of the Pig with an array of artists and Chinese performers, while giant art installation Piglet, by UK artist Alex Rinsler, will take centre stage in St Ann’s Square.

10 February 2019 (Piglet is on display 7-10 February). 

Getting there: Manchester is in the north-west of England, and is a two-hour train journey from London Euston station.


Get a taste of the Orient in Cardiff, Wales

Indulge at The Crispy Duck, an oriental fusion restaurant whose menu takes inspiration from Japan, China, Thailand and Malaysia and specialises in Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Perfect all year round, and especially over Chinese New Year, The Crispy Duck is a fitting place to welcome in the Year of the Pig.

When? All year

Getting there: Cardiff is in Wales, and is a two-hour train journey from London Paddington station.


Find the Spirit of the Orient on the Isle of Wight, south England

Back due to popular demand, visitors can once again experience a spectacle of themed light, sound and entertainment at Robin Hill's ‘Spirit of the Orient'. As darkness falls, be immersed in the lush colours, flavours and magic of the Asian sub-continent set in Robin Hill Country Park's glorious ancient woodland, which captures the spirit of Chinese New Year. Spot the authentic tea ceremonies and take part in the interactive dragon procession, before seeing an evening of falconry displays.

Whilst on the Isle of Wight, visitors can really embrace the Year of the Pig with a visit to Tapnell Farm Park. The family fun attraction has an immersive 'Moo-seum' of beef and dairy history, a large indoor soft play barn, a cafe to relax in, outdoor activity areas with pedal go karts and a 'jumping pillow', and informative farm tours. Get up close and personal with a friendly mix of farm yard animals, including wallabies and meerkats! Even better, there will be a real pig for little ones to meet over February half-term.

When? Spirit of the Orient: 15-23 February 2019, evenings only. Tapnell Farm Park is open year round.

Getting there: The Isle of Wight is an island off the south-coast of England. It is a three and a half hour journey by car and ferry from London.


Stand under Europe’s biggest Chinese Arch in Liverpool, north England

Liverpool is home to Europe’s first Chinatown, dating back to the 1860s, and a beautifully crafted 15-metre high ceremonial arch stands proudly on Nelson Street. Come the Chinese New Year, Chinatown celebrates with a Taste of Music festival, a dragon and lion dance parade and an incredible firecracker display. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the city twinning with Shanghai and many of Liverpool’s iconic buildings will be lighting up red, including the Royal Liverpool Albert Dock, Liverpool ONE and the Town Hall.

When? 10 February 2019

Getting there: Liverpool is in north-west England and is around a two-and-a-half-hour train journey from London Euston station.

Latest Blogs

48 hours in Leeds

Athena Rising Mural in Leeds, England
48 hours in Leeds

Spectacular Scotland – top events for 2020

Dolphins leaping out of the water in the Moray Firth, Scotland.
Spectacular Scotland – top events for 2020

Exploring Brent – London's next Borough of Culture

Steel pan player for Brent London Borough of Culture 2020
Exploring Brent – London's next Borough of Culture

8 gorgeous hotels to hibernate in over the British winter

8 gorgeous hotels to hibernate in over the British winter

A winter tour of Britain: London, Bath, the Cotswolds and the Highlands

Glenfinnan is a village in the Lochaber area of the Highlands, at the end of Loch Shiel, at the foot of Glenfinnan.
A winter tour of Britain: London, Bath, the Cotswolds and the Highlands