A Guide to Celebrating Chinese New Year in the Capital
London’s Chinese New Year celebrations are the largest outside Asia. This year is the year of the Rooster, which falls on the 28th January, and with so much happening across London, we’ve compiled our top tips for you to experience it as a local.
For guests, we’ve also included our recommended Chinese restaurants in Chelsea, so you can mark the occasion in style by sampling London’s finest Asian cuisine, before retiring back to the hotel close to Sloane Square.
On 28th January, Central London will come to life with the sights, sounds and smells of Chinese New Year to usher in the Year of the Rooster. From planning your journey and wearing red to finding a good spot and learning a little bit of the language, we have your celebration covered.
Follow our guide for the best Chinese New Year celebration around.
Plan Your Journey
Outside Asia, London hosts the largest Chinese New Year party in the world, so the windy roads of Chinatown and Soho are set to be very congested on the 28th. If you are heading into town from our Sloane Square hotel, we recommend you leave your car behind and reach the celebrations by bus, tube or on foot for easier access.
The most direct routes from Chelsea include:
The number 11 bus to The Strand
The District line from Sloane Square to Embankment
Find a Spot
The day kicks off with a colourful parade that will make its way through the streets of the West End, followed by a series of fantastic performances by dance troupes, martial arts experts and acrobats on the main stage. Make sure you find your spot in Trafalgar Square before the grand finale – you won’t want to miss the spectacular fireworks display that runs late into the evening.
Wear Something Red
The Chinese believe wearing the colour red on New Year’s Day will bring the wearer luck in the months to follow. Honour tradition by wearing a red jumper, hat or scarf on the day.
Learn the Language
Or at least just a simple greeting. Most people will meet you with a ‘Happy New Year’ in Mandarin “Xin Nian Kuai Le” (pronounced sing nee-ann koo-why ler) or in Cantonese, “San Nin Faai Lok” (pronounced san knee fy lock). Try to memorise these greetings so you can spread some celebratory cheer.
Discover the Cuisine
Chinese New Year is a great excuse to indulge in crispy duck, wontons and dumplings at one of Soho’s many restaurants. For those looking to celebrate in the local area, try one of Chelsea’s best Chinese restaurants. Our favourites include Bo Lang and Hunan, both just a short walk from the Draycott Hotel – remember to eat your fortune cookie at the end of your supper to see what awaits you in 2017.
The Chinese believe climbing somewhere high on New Year’s Day will bring you luck in business, career, study and fortune. If you are in Central London, head to The Shard, The London Eye or the Sky Garden or book a table on the roof at Min Jiang in the nearby Kensington to honour this tradition.
Give a Gift
It is customary for family and friends to gift each other with a red envelope stuffed with money to mark the new year. Expect to see plenty of abandoned red envelopes on the streets of London in the days to follow the 28th.
If you need somewhere cosy to retire to after all of the Chinese New Year excitement, view our availability at the Draycott, one of the finest Sloane Square hotels.