Kung Hei Fat Choy: The Year of the Horse

I was determined to attend this year’s Chinese New Year Celebrations on Sunday rain or shine as I am quickly getting around to all the events/festivals/museums/churches that I’ve wanted to visit since moving here.  I’m sad to report that it was mostly a disappointment.

The Year of the House - London Chinese New Year

I wanted to see the parade but after a late Saturday night I just couldn’t get up and make it to Trafalgar Square for 10:00 am.  I did however get there for about 11:40 am to meet with a few other expat Londoners.

The square was so packed the fountains and the stairs were invisible, all that could be seen was a sea of bodies.  After unsuccessfully trying to manoeuvre our way through throngs of people to the stage we gave up and tried our luck heading into China town as events were meant to be happening all around.

Hippodrome Chinese New Year - London

Thousands of people showed up to take in the festivities with surrounding streets shut down to try to accommodate us all.  Even with that taken into account everywhere was overly packed.  It was decided that we would try to get some lunch and then head back out in the hopes that crowds would die down a bit and we’d be able to see a bit more of the actual festivities.

We ate at a really great restaurant called the Lido.  There were queues everywhere so we stuck with this place as Lindsay had eaten there before.  It turned out to be a good choice.  The food was delicious, inexpensive, and service was great taking into consideration it was probably their busiest day of the year.  After leaving the Lido there was no change in the levels of crowds.

Sweets Chinese New Year - London

We strolled around a bit more and saw many places selling sweets outside of their shops.  I loved seeing China Town all decked out but I didn’t really get to see much more than that.

China Town - Chinese New Year London

Gerrards's Corner - China Town - London

Wardour Street - China Town - London

Chinese New Year Celebrations - London

It is hard to say if I would recommend the event.  If you dislike massive crowds then definitely avoid at all costs.  Or visit very early, catch the parade then head out of central.  Alternatively a visit at night when the glow of the lights gives another dimension to the lanterns would be quite nice.

We all went through Charing Cross station to get to Trafalgar Square but Leicester Square tube is closest to China Town.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. John says:

    Had the same experience a few years back – too many people, almost impossible to see anything. Tried to make it to Trafalgar but missed the time.

    1. Melissa says:

      You’d think they’d try to improve crowd management but seems like either they don’t learn or it is just too hard to make it any better.

  2. Spinster says:

    Chinatown over there is smaller than Chinatown over here, so it doesn’t surprise me that it was so crowded. Nice photos, though. 🙂

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks. That and the food were the best parts about it, yeah no surprise it was busy but I also didn’t realize it was that popular, I wish I was warned!

  3. JR says:

    side from the food and the pretty lanterns it sounds like my worst nightmare! I might be a recluse.

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Melissa says:

      You and me both then! The food and the decorations which to be honest you can get at any other time of the year were the highlights. Moonfest held in autumn is much more enjoyable and had less crowds.

  4. Pratibha says:

    Thanks, this brings back memories of our time in London – we left in Dec, 2012. One of our favourite places in Chinatown was a Taiwanese restaurant called Leong’s. Maybe they are still around?

    Great idea to record your expat life. We wish we had started on it sooner 😉

    1. Melissa says:

      You’re welcome and welcome to the blog. I’ll have to see if Leong’s is still there!

  5. What a lovely looking festival. I love all those red lanterns.

    1. Melissa says:

      London knows how to dress up for their festivals for sure. I am kind of obsessed with lanterns since visiting Japan.

  6. Mandy says:

    Lovely photos Melissa! I love your last two especially. I’m really glad I made it for the parade and that we had a lovely lunch together but overall I agree with you – what were we thinking??

    1. Melissa says:

      Thank you! Yes I think I might go for the parade next year if it isn’t raining and then head out somewhere else for the day, wished someone had warned us!

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