In 2018, Chinese New Year marked the Year of the Dog. All information below relates to the 2018 event: check back nearer the time for information about the upcoming 2019 Year of the Pig celebrations.
Celebrate the Year of the Dog 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, and the Chinese New Year festival in central London, which is organised by the London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA), usually take place close to the actual date of the new year.
In 2018, the London celebrations are taking place on 18 February, which is the Sunday following the date of the Chinese New Year (16 February).
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 2018 in London event programme
The theme of the festivities for this year is “celebrating the Golden Era for UK-China relations”, honouring the friendship between the two countries.
Chinese New Year Parade:
Watch colourful floats and more than 50 teams take part in the vibrant Chinese New Year parade, which kicks off at 10am with dragon and lion dances and handcrafted floats in Charing Cross Road, before snaking its way through Shaftesbury Avenue in Chinatown.
The fun in Trafalgar Square begins from 11am, as screen shows and a thanksgiving ceremony are followed by firecrackers, speeches and the Lions’ Eye-Dotting Ceremony at 12pm.
Experience traditional dragon and flying lion dances from 12.50pm, ahead of fun-filled stage performances including Chinese dance and music shows, acrobatics, Chinese rock hits, interactive dance sessions and an exciting line-up of artists from China.
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.
The finale gets underway from 5.30pm with a variety of showstopper performances, a special appearance from TV personality Gok Wan and a spectacular pyrotechnic display, which lights up Trafalgar Square to mark the end of the Year of the Dog 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 British-Chinese artists and Chinese Spectrum radio on stage, which is supported by Jenova Music Festival, at the talent and community zone at Charing Cross Road.
Take the kids to the family and children's zone in Leicester Square for cultural activities and family-friendly entertainment, including calligraphy, Chinese music and dressing up in traditional outfits. Plus, look out for children’s performances, from lion dances and magicians to shows from Chickenshed Theatre.
See thrilling martial art performances, including tai chi chuan and taekwondo, in the martial arts and cultural zone at Shaftesbury Avenue. You can also enjoy DJ sets, alongside classical music performances from the Chinese Community Centre Chinese Orchestra.
Head to Chinatown from 12pm to 6pm, where you’ll be able to get up close to lion dances and take selfies with Chinese zodiac animals. And 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 heart of the 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 2018, the Year of the Dog, falls on 16 February. Learn more about the traditions of Chinese New Year.