In Chinese astrology, each year is represented by an animal. And this year, 2020, is the Year of the Rat who occupies the first position in the zodiac. And you will be pleased to know it is predicted to be a lucky year!
The rat was also celebrated in 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 and 2008.
The Rat is traditionally a representation of diligence, kindness and generosity.
In 2020 the Lunar New Year falls on 25 January. The main festivities in London will be happening on 26 January. Celebrations will be taking place in Chinatown and the West End. You can come into town and enjoy a colourful parade, street food stalls, fun activities at three stages and special performances in Trafalgar Square.
Enjoy the lively, fun events on offer. Watch dragon and lion dances as London is transformed.
If you’d rather avoid driving into town at this busy time, take the train and book accommodation in London’s Chinatown. But don’t delay. Book soon!
Get in the mood by wearing red….
Red is the key colour of Chinese New Year. You can accessorize with a red scarf, jumper or shoes and this will, apparently, bring good luck for the coming year. If you’re taking your children to the event, you can encourage them bring rat decorations or paint their faces with rat motifs.
And at home…..
To bring luck to your year, Chinese tradition dictates that you should buy something red for yourself or your house. Visit London’s Chinatown and do some authentic Chinese shopping. Suitable decorations for celebrating the New Year include paper-cut window grilles, lanterns and rat toys.
Chinatown is one of the most charming parts of the West End. With its four ornate oriental archways it is like stepping into another world….. It has been London’s focus for Chinese residents since the 1950’s when a number of Chinese restaurants opened in the area. It has since become one of the capital’s major attractions. Enjoy shopping at some 70+ authentic Chinese supermarkets, gift shops and street stalls.
It is located in the City of Westminster and borders Soho to the north and west and London’s Theatreland to the south and east. Well known streets in the area include Gerrard Street, Wardour Street, Rupert Street and Rupert Court, part of Shaftesbury Avenue and Lisle Street, Macclesfield Street and Newport Place, Newport Court and Little Newport Street.
Chinatown has buildings and streets decorated with Chinese symbols such as dragons, stone lions, lanterns and contemporary sculptures. Look out for the distinctive street signs, which are written in English and Chinese. The ornamentation in this area offers excellent photo opportunities and gives an insight into Chinese culture and religion. This is particularly the case during seasonal celebrations.
It is an area that is easy to access by public transport. And it is easy to get around as it covers a small area, much of which is now pedestrianised.
The Chinese New Year
This year, Chinese New Year falls on 25 January, with the main festivities taking place on 26 January. Enjoy spectacular parades with floats and lion dancers and live performances in Trafalgar Square. There is entertainment across the West End and around Chinatown, as well as many pop-up food and craft stalls. You will see red lanterns on display throughout.
The main event celebrated in London is the Chinese Near Year. London’s celebrations are some of the biggest outside Asia.
London’s Chinatown is full of good value restaurants offering delicious fare for hungry visitors to London.
As well as restaurants serving authentic Chinese cuisine you will find other oriental establishments offering Vietnamese, Malaysian, Korean and Japanese fare.
Some of the most notable restaurants in Chinatown are: Baoizi Inn (rustic street food), Four Seasons (famous for roast duck), Olle (Korean barbecue), Golden Dragon (dim sum), Leong’s Legend (Taiwanese), Bubblewrap Waffle (waffles with toppings), Plum Valley (contemporary Cantonese), Rasa Sayang (Malaysia and Singapore), Shu Xiangge (hotpots), Imperial China (Chinese), Ichibuns (Japanese and American).
Chinatown is one of the most instagrammable parts of London and offers many opportunities for photographers to click away…..
Excellent supermarkets include New Loon Moon and See Woo where you can shop for exotic ingredients, fruits, vegetables and spices.
Nearest underground stations
The closest underground stations to London’s Chinatown are Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. Tottenham Court Road is also fairly nearby.
Are you coming by bus?
The following buses stop nearby 14, 24, 27, 29, 134, 168, C2.
Accommodation in the area
Would you like to stay in the neighbourhood? There are some very convenient short stay apartments and hotels nearby for you to choose from.