Where to celebrate Chinese New Year in the UK | Day Out With The Kids

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新年快乐: Where to celebrate Chinese New Year in the UK

Penny Alexander

09 February 2018

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4 minutes
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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. In the Chinese zodiac calendar, 2018 is the Year of the Dog. The Dog will never let you down.

‘Born under this sign you are honest and faithful to those you love. You are plagued by constant worry, a sharp tongue and a tendency to be a fault finder. You would make an excellent businessman, activist, teacher or secret agent.’

Intrigued? Here’s a rundown on some of the UK’s biggest events and our tips on how to get your family involved in the Chinese New Year celebrations!

A Chinese New Year dragon parade

London

London attracts around 700,000 people - making it the biggest celebration outside of Asia. The festivities kick off on Sunday 18th February with a vibrant parade in and around Chinatown, followed by spectacular free stage performances in Trafalgar Square. 

Expect contemporary hip-hop acts, traditional Chinese dance, family-friendly cultural activities, music shows and traditional Chinese street food. Find out more on VisitLondon's Chinese New Year page.

Manchester

In Manchester, thousands of red lanterns will light up the retail district into Albert Square and Chinatown and a giant gold dragon has taken up residence in St Ann’s Square. The incredible dragon procession on Sunday 18th February starts off in Albert Square at noon, before heading down to Chinatown from 1pm. 

Leave plenty of time to enjoy traditional lion dancing, street food, Chinese dancing, martial arts, music and acrobatics, a funfair and fantastic fireworks finale. There will also be a funfair with over 20 rides available on Charlotte Street. Plan your visit with Visit Manchester.

Chinese New Year lanterns in London

Liverpool

A three-day celebration will take place across Liverpool's Chinatown from 16th-18th February. Liverpool’s iconic Chinese Arch, is the largest outside of China and was gifted to the city in 2010 by twin city, Shanghai.

In honour of its Chinese residents and history - many Chinese sailors came to Liverpool as part of a new shipping line company - Liverpool will spend three days celebrating. There will be projections, music and lighting, and a huge pyrotechnic finale which will tell the story of Liverpool's incredible Chinese history and culture.

Chinese New Year will be part of the 'China Dream' season, that sees Liverpool embrace contemporary Chinese arts and culture, including the wonder of the Terracotta Army at the World Museum Liverpool. Check out full listings and timings for Liverpool's Chinese New Year celebrations.

Newcastle

A recent crowdfunding campaign means that the festivities in Newcastle will be bigger and better than ever, the parade will begin in the city centre for the first time and will follow a longer route. Head to Monument in 2018 on Sunday 18th February to see a stunning parade including a dragon, lion and unicorn dances as well as various themed floats and exciting performances like female drummers, Chinese folk dances and a children’s dragon dance. Floats, colourful flags and banners will bring the city streets alive, the parade will finish in Chinatown itself.

Traditional Chinese Dragon dancing in Birmingham's Brindley Place

Birmingham

On Sunday 18th from 11.30am to 4.30pm there will be a massive free street party in the city's Chinese Quarter. Expect lion dancing, a fire act, acrobatics, street food, traditional lantern making and funfair rides.

Top tips & things to know about Chinese New Year:

  • Do you have anyone in your family born in the Year of The Dog? The Dog years are 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018!
  • Plan your travel and route in advance, especially in London.
  • Wrap up warm and wear comfy shoes and gloves so you can wave flags and take lots of photos.
  • Kung Hei Fat Choi (gōng xǐ fā cái) is a traditional Chinese New Year greeting meaning ‘Congratulations and best wishes for a prosperous New Year! Happy New Year.’
  • Visit London recommend you 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).
  • Buy something red in Chinatown to bring you good luck for the year.

 Let us know if you have spotted any Chinese New Year celebrations near you!

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Penny Alexander

09 February 2018

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Penny Alexander is a multi-award winning travel blogger and writer, passionate about UK travel and loves to help families find their perfect escape. Penny is one of our much loved Trusted Explorers, which means all content has been written exclusively for dayoutwiththekids.co.uk in exchange for a contribution to their family piggy bank. All posts are first hand, honest and based on real experiences.

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