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Chinese New Year 2020 in London Free

Dragon dancers at Chinese New Year celebrations in London. Photo: Jon Mo / LCCA
  • Join in the Chinese New Year celebrations in Chinatown, Trafalgar Square and the West End
  • 2020 welcomes the Year of the Rat with a spectacular parade, lively stage performances, dedicated celebration zones and foodie treats. 
  • London's Lunar New Year festivities are the largest outside Asia. 
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, and 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

The Chinese New Year 2020 event programme has not yet been confirmed. In the meantime, check out the 2019 event programme to learn about the usual Chinese New Year events in London. 

The 2019 festivities marked the Year of the Pig, with the theme centred around “celebrating the golden era for UK-China relations with the Belt and Road Initiative".

Chinese New Year parade:

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. The parade kicks off on Charing Cross Road, before snaking its way through Shaftesbury Avenue in Chinatown.

Trafalgar Square:

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

Experience traditional dragon and flying lion dances, ahead of fun-filled stage performances including Chinese dance and music shows, martial arts displays, Chinese pop hits 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.

As night falls over London, the finale gets underway with a variety of showstopper performances, including a techno lion dance and a spectacular pyrotechnic display, which lights up Trafalgar Square to mark the end of the festivities.

West End stages:

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

Spot up-and-coming British-Chinese artists performing dance, music and comedy 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 arts and craft, calligraphy, Chinese music and dressing up in traditional outfits. 

See thrilling martial art performances, including Shaolin kung fu and wing chun, in the martial arts and cultural zone on Charing Cross Road


Head over to Chinatown, where you’ll be able to get up close to lion dances and take selfies with Chinese zodiac animals. 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.

Find more things to do during Chinese New Year in London, including special Chinese New Year events in the capital.


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