The preparations for 2015’s Year of the Sheep are under way for what will be an unforgettable weekend.
The annual Chinese New Year parade takes place this year on Sunday 22nd February, with the route set to begin on Duncannon Street at 10am; it will proceed up Charing Cross Road and head into Chinatown along Shaftesbury Avenue. Visitors should find a good viewing spot along the route early in order to get the best of the colourful floats, including mystical dragons, winding their way across town.
At midday on the 22nd, there’ll be an official opening ceremony in Trafalgar Square, the main location for the day’s events, with a number of speeches from guests and dignitaries in the international and local Chinese communities as well as the special ‘Dotting of the Eye’ ceremony which the Mayor of London will participate in onstage. ‘Main Stage’ will then play host to a whole day of performances from the world’s best traditional musicians, dancers and acrobats, as well as martial arts demonstrations. Meanwhile on Shaftesbury Avenue there’ll be a second stage of performances from local, up-and-coming acts.
On Saturday 21st February there are many activities for the whole family to take part in throughout London – and for free – including a visit to The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich to take part in workshops and see more magical performances, while the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square will present traditional puppetry and storytelling sessions for children.
Elsewhere, Casino at the Empire will be offering traditional Chinese food to visitors and running special gaming sessions, while Gala Casino will take part in the time-honoured tradition of Hong Bao – the handing out of red envelopes to well-wishers in Chinatown all weekend. The Stratford city Westfield also has giveaways, cooking lessons and lion dancing.
Dine in true Chinese fashion; The Lotus is holding an exclusive Chinese New Year Party on the Top Deck, Hutong in the Shard are putting on some truly special celebrations and Phoenix Palace have a unique menu with live lion dancing.
The weekend’s Chinese New Year celebrations in London are sure to be a very well-attended event, use the map below to find your way around London’s Chinese New Year hot spots.