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Chinese New Year London travel guide

Plan ahead for the Chinese New Year celebrations in London, including how to get to Chinatown and Trafalgar Square for the main Chinese New Year events.

How do I get to the Chinese New Year events?

Chinatown

London's Chinatown is one of the main areas for the city's annual Chinese New Year celebrations. This central London area to the north of Leicester Square and to the south of Shaftesbury Avenue is easy to get to via Tube, bus or rail services. It’s also within walking distance of other key attractions such as Leicester Square, Soho, Theatreland, Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square.

The nearest Underground stations to Chinatown are Leicester Square (1-minute walk) and Piccadilly Circus (3-minute walk). The nearest train station is Charing Cross, which is an 8-minute walk or one stop on the Underground Northern line via Leicester Square.

Numerous bus routes connect Chinatown to other central London areas and beyond from Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road; while taxis are readily available in the area.

Chinatown during Chinese New Year. Photo: On Yee

Trafalgar Square

The free Chinese New Year event takes place on the same day in Trafalgar Square, which is around a 6-minute walk from Chinatown. It features a spectacular stage show with lion dances and cultural performances. 

Home to Nelson’s Column, 4 bronze lions and the National Gallery, this famous square is a 2-minute walk from Charing Cross station, which has Underground and train services. Leicester Square (5-minute walk), Embankment (8-minute walk) and Piccadilly Circus (8-minute walk) Tube stations are also a short distance away.

Bus services are readily available to other London locations from the bus stops surrounding the square.

 Dragon dance during Chinese New Year in Trafalgar Square. Photo: Jon Mo

West End stages

The London Chinese New Year celebrations also bring activities to three West End stages, located at Shaftesbury Avenue, Leicester Square and Charing Cross Road. These areas are a short walk away from Trafalgar Square and Chinatown.

The Charing Cross Road stage can be easily reached by Tube via Charing Cross (7-minute walk) or Leicester Square (1-minute walk) Underground stations.

Join in lively activities at the Shaftesbury Avenue stage, which is close to Leicester Square (3-minute walk) and Piccadilly Circus (7-minute walk) Underground stations.

The nearest Tube stations to the entertainment in Leicester Square are Leicester Square (2-minute walk) and Piccadilly Circus (5-minute walk) Underground stations.

If you're travelling into London by train, the stages are all within a short walking distance of Charing Cross station. 

Important Chinese New Year travel information

Follow the official #CNYLondon hashtag on social media for updates during the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Central London is generally very busy during the annual Chinese New Year celebrations. Some Tube station entrances might operate on a temporary entry or exit only basis due to the volume of visitors. Check the Transport for London website for the latest information.

There are usually several road closures planned for Chinese New Year in London. Make sure to check the London Chinatown Chinese Association website for more information.

As Chinatown London is expected to be busier than normal, it can take longer to explore the mainly pedestrianised area. See our top tips for Chinese New Year to make the most of the day, and read our guide to staying safe in London.

Find out more about travelling around London ahead of the Chinese New Year 2019 festivities.