Chinese New Year 2025 in London Free

Chinatown

From to (Exact dates to be confirmed)

Location

Chinatown

Address
Chinatown
London
WC2H 0BL
Telephone:
+44 (0)20 7292 2877

About

Celebrate the Year of the Snake in London, 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 "Sun Nin Faai Lok" (in Cantonese). 

When is Chinese New Year celebrated in London? 

Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, always falls between late January and mid-February. In 2025, Chinese New Year falls on 29 January.

The 2025 Chinese New Year festival in central London, organised by the London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA), usually takes place close to the day of Chinese New Year – check back closer to the time for more information.

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

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

During Lunar New Year, London hosts lively activities and foodie treats in Chinatown and Leicester Square; family-friendly entertainment in Shaftesbury Avenue; and while Trafalgar Square plays host to the main stage performances, more stands and stalls can be found on Charing Cross Road and around Shaftesbury Avenue.

The celebrations also include the vibrant Chinese New Year parade, featuring colourful floats and the largest gathering of Chinese lions and dragons in Europe.

Chinese New Year London 2025 event programme 

Women dressed in red with Jialu umbrellas dance on stage

The theme and event programme for the 2025 Chinese New Year festivities is yet to be announced – check back closer to the time for more information.

In the meantime, here is a preview of what you can normally expect in London:

Chinese New Year parade

You can normally watch colourful floats and more than 50 teams take part in the vibrant Chinese New Year parade, featuring the largest gathering of Chinese lions and dragons in Europe. In previous years, the parade has kicked off in Charing Cross Road shortly after 10am, before snaking its way through Shaftesbury Avenue in Chinatown

Trafalgar Square

Spectators watch a colourful dragon dancer during Chinese New Year celebrations in London

The fun in Trafalgar Square normally begins around 12pm, with the Lions' Eye-Dotting Ceremony. 

You can then usually experience the traditional dragon and flying lion dances and fun-filled stage performances from China into the evening, including Beijing opera and acrobatics, martial arts displays and ancient magic.

You can also normally get creative at the art and craft stalls, or if you’re feeling peckish, there's often a chance to get a taste of the Far East with street food dishes from the stalls lining the square.

The finale usually gets underway with a variety of showstopper performances, which in previous years has included a techno lion dance and a spectacular pyrotechnic display, which lights up Trafalgar Square to mark the end of the festivities.

West End stages 

Kung fu fighters in traditoinal dress pose on stage in Trafalgar Square

The London Chinese New Year fun usually continues across the West End with special performances, workshops and activities.

In previous years, you could find a dragon dance demonstration, zodiac display and cultural stands at the zodiac and legends zone in Leicester Square.

Or take the kids to the family and culture zone in Shaftesbury Avenue for cultural activities and family-friendly entertainment, including a giant dragon display, parade floats and family games.

And spot mascots or take part in community activities along Charing Cross Road, before heading to Chinatown to see the energetic lion dance and find more festive stalls.

Chinatown

Giant red and gold paper dragon dances in a crowd

Head to Chinatown where you can usually watch lion dances and get up close to a giant dragon. Or, sit down for a traditional Chinese New Year meal and festive treats in one of Chinatown’s restaurants.

Top tips for Chinese New Year

Follow these tips for celebrating Chinese New Year in London:

  • Wrap up warm: as celebrations take place in January or February, the weather can be cold.
  • Learn Chinese New Year greetings: Say "Xin Nian Kuai Le" (Happy New Year in Mandarin) or "Sun Nin Faai Lok" (in Cantonese).
  • Dress in red: Red is the key colour of Chinese New Year. You can dress up with a red scarf, jumper or shoes – this will bring good luck for the coming year.
  • Enjoy special Chinese New Year food: order a whole chicken or try dumplings at top restaurants in Chinatown.
  • Buy something red: To bring luck to your year, Chinese tradition dictates that you should buy something red for yourself or your house.
  • Ensure good luck: In Chinese culture, to “climb high and gaze far” on New Year’s Day or the following day brings good luck in business, career, study and fortune. Take a trip on the London Eye or the IFS Cloud Cable Car, or head up to The View from The Shard.

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 Transport for London's Journey Planner

About Chinese New Year 

A group of brightly dressed dancers perform on a stage in front of crowds in Trafalgar Square during Chinese New Year in London

Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is a huge festival among Asian 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 2025, the Year of the Snake, falls on 29 January. 

Now run by the The London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA), the CNY London celebrations began as a small community event in Chinatown more than 20 years ago; the festivities have now become the largest of their kind outside Asia, attracting hundreds of thousands of people to the capital each year. The Lunar New Year 2025 promises an exciting programme of events for all people of all ages to enjoy.

Can't visit during Chinese New Year in London? Worry not! Chinatown is a hive of bustling activity all year around, so don't miss out on visiting throughout the year. 

Prices

Entry Free