2020 Chinese New Year Celebrations in the UK | Day Out With The Kids

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新年快乐: All about Chinese New Year & Chinese New Year Celebrations in the UK

Dela Lozanova

06 January 2020

Time to Read

4 minutes

Nearly 200,000 Chinese people live in the UK - and every year thousands of people, of all nationalities, help to welcome the New Year with them. Want to join the Chinese New Year celebration? Here’s all you need to know about Chinese New Year in the UK, plus a rundown on some of the UK’s biggest Chinese New Year events!

Dragon parade

When is Chinese New Year?

The Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, celebrates the beginning of the Lunar New Year based on the traditional lunisolar Chinese Calendar. The Chinese New Year celebrations commence on the first day of the first lunar month (the second new moon after the winter solstice) and end on the 8th of February with a Chinese Lantern Festival.

The first day of the New Year usually falls between 21st January and 20th February. In 2020, the Chinese New Year takes place between 25th January and 4th February.

Chinese New Year Animal of 2020

2020 is the year of the Rat, the first of the 12 Chinese New Year animals. According to the legend, the rat got to be first by tricking the ox to give him a ride to the finish line and jumping ahead of him at the very end. According to the Chinese zodiac, all animals have their personality and symbolism. The rat is believed to bring you wealth, surplus and fertility.

Check if you know someone who’s born in the Year of the Rat: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020.

Chinese New Year 2020 - Year of the Rat

Best Chinese New Year Celebrations in the UK in 2020

    1. Chinese New Year London
      26th January 2020

      Ready for the biggest Chinese New Year celebration outside Asia? Experience a taste of the Far East in London's West End with a huge Chinese New Year parade, free stage performances and delicious Chinese food. Best of all, it’s free to attend!

      • Watch the colourful Chinese New Year parade, starting from Charing Cross Road, featuring giant floats and traditional dragon & lion dancers
      • Enjoy show-stopping performances at Trafalgar Square, including a dazzling pyrotechnics show for the grand finale
      • Check out the family zone at Leicester Square for traditional Chinese activities and entertainment
      • Connect with your inner kung fu master at the martial arts zone at Charing Cross
      • Go to Chinatown to snap a selfie with the Rat before enjoying a traditional festive meal at one of the local restaurants

      Want more family fun, away from the crowds? Take your kids to The National Gallery on the 26th of January for a Family Festival Day fun, including Chinese-themed storytelling, games, crafts, dances and more.

      Chinese New Year London

    2. Chinese New Year Manchester
      24th - 26th January 2020

      Manchester is preparing a weekend-long Chinese New Year extravaganzza, featuring giant art installations, traditional arts and crafts for the whole family, and of course - a wonderful parade.

      • See a 175-foot dragon lead the Dragon Parade from Albert Square to Chinatown
      • Learn to make paper dragons with artist Joey Yu at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art
      • Come face to face with the 50ft Giant Golden Dragon at St Ann’s Square
      • Get hands-on with activities for all ages at Manchester Central Library

    3. Chinese New Year Liverpool
      24th - 26th January 2020

      3 days of Chinese New Year festivities are brewing in Liverpool! With more than 20 years of experience in throwing Chinese New Year celebrations, we can safely say the city knows how to do the traditions justice. Here’s a snippet of what you can expect:

      • Join a family workshop for some hands-on fun
      • See the legendary Dragon and Lion Parades through the city centre
      • Browse for Chinese New Year gifts at the Chinese Market
      • Choose a live show to see with the kids at the The Great George Street Stage
      • Don’t miss out on the projection/pyrotechnic display - it’s going to be truly spectacular!

      Chinese New Year celebration performance

    4. Chinese New Year Birmingham
      26th January 2020

      Want to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Birmingham? You’ll be glad to find out, Brum is also throwing a FREE party for the occasion. This is going to be the biggest Chinese New Year celebration in the Midlands, with more than 30,000 people expected to come. Here are some of the highlights:

      • Join the festivities at the Bullring & Grand Central and in and around the Hippodrome
      • Try delicious Chinese food, from dumplings to noodles - YUM!
      • Enjoy traditional entertainment including lion dancing and firecrackers, face changing magic
      • Watch awesome live performances on multiple stages
      • Have a go at singing some traditional Chinese tunes
      • Enjoy some time indoors with a family craft workshop at Birmingham Hippodrome

    5. Chinese New Year Southampton
      25th January 2020

      Following the smashing success of the Year of the Pig celebrations in 2019, Southampton is preparing to throw an even bigger and better Chinese New Year celebration in 2020. The UK Shaolin Temple returns once again to host the Year of the Rat Celebrations in collaboration with Southampton City Council. Here’s what you can expect:

      • See the mystical lights of the Chinese Lantern Festival Parade & Lantern Competition
      • Browse through Chinese Arts & Crafts Stalls and try the delicious goodies at the Food Stalls
      • Take part in interactive workshops for all the family
      • Don’t miss out on the CNY Gala Stage Show!

5 Smaller Family Chinese New Year Celebrations in 2020

If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the bigger events, or if you simply fancy a little more themed fun with the kids, check out these lovely Chinese New Year events for kids.

Dad and son eating Chinese treats in Chinatown

  1. Chinese New Year Celebrations at Heath Robinson Museum, Pinner, Greater London
    19th January 2020

    This Chinese New Year celebration comes a few days earlier and comprises of two sessions jam-packed with family fun. For just £5 per child, you get to enjoy crafts, games and event traditional Chinese films. Sounds like a good Sunday to us! Don’t forget to book in advance to secure a spot.

  2. Tots Make and Do: Chinese New Year at Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Derby, Derbyshire
    31st January 2020

    The weekly arts and crafts session at the museum is going to have a Chinese New Year twist! Designed to provide fun arts and crafts for kids aged between 2-5 and their parents, this little event gives you the opportunity to connect with your tots. It’s absolutely FREE and you don’t need to book in advance; just turn up in time for the 10 - 11.30 am session.

  3. Chinese New Year – Family Fun at The National Waterfront Museum, Swansea, Glamorgan and Cardiff
    1st February 2020

    How about an afternoon of FREE activities (11am - 3pm) dedicated to the Year of the Rat? Join the Chinese New Year celebrations with stories, crafts, and cultural music for all the family. Oh, and the event wouldn’t be complete without seeing the mini lantern parade!

    Chinese lanterns

  4. Chinese New Year Family Event at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
    1st February 2020

    Join the Chinese New Year celebrations at The Fitz with a series of free drop-in family activities, including lantern making, lion dancing, paper cutting (ages 8+) and a fun-packed Animals of the Zodiac trail. For an extra £3 per person, you can book yourself a spot for two more awesome events - Storytelling: The Jade Emperor's Great Race and Chinese Calligraphy.

  5. Chinese New Year: Year of the Rat at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol, Somerset and Bristol
    1st - 2nd February 2020

    Kick off the Year of the Rat in style with an array of traditional and contemporary performances, stalls featuring the best of Chinese culture, workshops and activities for all the family. Our favourite are the rat detective trails which will have the kids searching for rats throughout the museum! You’ll also get to taste the spirit of China with a yummy Chinese-inspired menu in the museum’s café.

Chinese New Year Greetings

Going to a Chinese New Year celebration? You might want to learn how to say “Happy New Year” in Cantonese and Mandarin. “Happy New Year” in Cantonese is “San Nin Faai Lok” (pronounced san knee fy lock) and in Mandarin is “Xin Nian Kuai Le” (pronounced sing nee-ann koo-why ler).

Happy little Asian girl in a traditional Chinese dress

 We wish you a Happy Year of the Rat and we hope you enjoy a great Chinese New Year celebration in 2020

Find more things to do here:
Things to do in January | New Kids' Movie Releases in 2020Things to do in February | Things to do in February Half Term

Things to do in London | Things to do in Birmingham | Things to do in Manchester | Things to do in Liverpool




Dela Lozanova

06 January 2020

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Dela is the Content Editor at Day Out With The Kids. Originally from sunny Varna on the Bulgarian seacoast, she now lives in Coventry and travels regularly throughout Europe to escape the rain.

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