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Late for the Chinese New Year in London

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Chinese New Year celebrations start way too early, at least in London in my opinion. 10am! I mean seriously, why would you start any celebrations at 10am on a Sunday morning?

Mind you, I do blame my late wake up time to certain underground bar  that was only accessible thru a fridge door, and that was then exited thru the toilets. I’m always up for any place that requires me to exit thru the toilets. No wait, that sounds wrong. Scrape that.

But out of curiosity, and partly because there was nothing to eat in my fridge, I had made my way to Trafalgar square and dragged one of my friends with me. Of course we had missed the parade that was at ten o’clock (really, parade at ten?) and even Boris’ speech at that was at noon, but oh well, at least we had made it and it was too late to complain about it.

Trafalgar square was quite full, but you could still squeeze thru quite close the stage where the show was going on the whole day with music, dancers and other show things. The surrounding area was filled with market stalls and food shops, thou what Angus Burgers have to do with Chinese New Year, I don’t know.

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There wasn’t that much going on however, so we quickly headed towards China Town and Soho. And while I normally don’t eat buffets, at that time, Chinese Buffet was sounding delicious, I was starving!

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Before we could reach China Town we however ran into a massive crowd blocking us. After a while we figured the cause for this was a dragon trying to get thru. Damn dragons, always causing trouble!

We watched the dragon pass, but afterwards it became quickly clear that if we wanted Chinese food, there would be queuing – a lot of it. Every Chinese restaurant had a long line of people in front, which in hindsight makes sense, but I hadn’t really spared a thought to it.

So a change of plans was required, bbq ribs it was. You could sort of imagine it was Chinese. If you are very liberal with your imagination that is!

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Afterwards we squeezed back towards Trafalgar Square when it was already starting to get dark. The idea was to check out the fireworks. Unfortunately quite a lot of people had gotten the same idea, and we were stuck long before reaching the actual square. At least the roads had been closed for the celebrations so we were able to see it even if we couldn’t quite get to the square.

I suppose my time in Asia has put my expectations a bit high for everything Chinese, but in the end, I wasn’t too impressed with the whole thing. Sure if you live around, it’s a nice little thing you can go check out, but I don’t know, I just didn’t really get that much out of it. Of course the parade is the one thing that one shouldn’t miss, so I might be partly to blame here. But I’ll just blame that underground bar instead.

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But if you are around and you want to check it out! Here are a few tips if you do:

  • Get there early. Parade is at 10am, which really is the pork in this dim sum, and if you want to get a good spot, you’ll have to be there early
  • Either be prepared to queue for the Chinese restaurants or book advance. Or you can eat from the Chinese stalls around Trafalgar square a bit faster
  • It is going to be crowded! Especially for the fireworks, so allow some extra time for getting out


Where did you celebrated Chinese New Year?


  1. Oddly enough, I was in China during Chinese New Year. I experienced some crazy fireworks in action. You don’t want to see that, trust me.
    But it was fun to see people having fun. :)
    Juno recently posted..Getting a Haircut in China ain’t Bad.My Profile

    • I definitely want to experience the Chinese New Year in China. How could I not want to see crazy fireworks? but I’ll take your word for it 😉

  2. From the looks of it, the Chinese New Year celebration in London isn’t much different from the ones here in the Philippines.

    And yes, the dragon dance is a must, if only to see how incredibly detailed the dragons are.

    You missed the food, too! Perhaps you ought to try it somewhere else next year? Somewhere with later parades maybe? Hehe

    • Yeah, you have to see the dragon, otherwise it’s not a Chinese New Year! I was a bit disappointed with not having Chinese food, but it would have been at least an hour of queuing! Thankfully I at least got a nice Chinese home cooked meal last weekend, which was really good!

  3. That looks like a great experience! I’ve never seen a Chinese New Year celebration before but the one in London looks pretty authentic too.
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted..Reasons to Choose a CruiseMy Profile

    • It was good, but I think next I want to see the Chinese New Year celebrations in China! :)

  4. Great photo essay! I’ve experienced Chinese NY in several different countries overseas.
    Nomadic Samuel recently posted..Dancing Performers | Melaka, Malaysia | Travel PhotoMy Profile

    • Thanks Samuel, yeah I also still want to experience it elsewhere so I can compare :)


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