The Year of the Monkey is fast-approaching with celebrations kicking off in London’s Trafalgar Square and Chinatown on 14 February, both locations not much further than a 5 minute walk from the Strand Palace Hotel. Here are six ways to make the most of the occasion:
Join in the fun by eating out in one of Chinatown’s fabulous Chinese restaurants that serve up everything from dim sum to street food. Dine out in style at Michelin-starred Hakkasan where you’ll find sumptuous décor and first-class Cantonese fare. The restaurant is offering a limited edition Chinese New Year menu, available to diners from 22 January until 22 February. Alternatively, graze on all-day dim sum at stylish basement teahouse Yauatcha. This upscale Soho-based restaurant is also offering a menu to mark the occasion (available from 25 January until 21 February). On a budget? Chinatown is crammed full of all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants and affordable street food cafes. The area’s restaurants are heaving during Chinese New Year, so make a reservation or be prepared to queue.
London’s West End will come alive with dragons, parades, fireworks and dancing on 14 February (although Chinese New Year is officially celebrated on 8 February). Most of the festivities will be based around Trafalgar Square, Chinatown and Shaftesbury Avenue. These are the biggest celebrations outside Asia, so be prepared for big crowds. Public transport will be busy, but the celebrations are within walking distance of our hotel.
Wear something red, such as a scarf or top, to bring luck and prosperity for the coming year. Bringing kids? Paint their faces with monkey designs or encourage them to bring along a monkey toy. Chinese tradition dictates that you should buy something red for you or your house. Lanterns and monkey toys will all be on sale in Chinatown during the festivities.
Chinese culture suggests that you should “climb high and gaze far” on New Year’s Day to bring luck in your career and fortune. Fortunately, London boasts numerous vantage points from which to stare across at the city’s sexy skyline and contemplate the upcoming year. Sky-high sights within easy reach of our hotel include the Coca-Cola London Eye, The View from The Shard, the OXO Tower Restaurant and Tate Modern Restaurant.
Chiswick House & Gardens is staging the first-ever Magical Lantern Festival outside the Far East to mark Chinese New Year. More than 50 beautifully-sculpted lanterns will be on display, including a 60m-long dragon, life-sized flamingos and mushrooms. On from 3 February until 6 March, tickets cost from £16.
Got little ones in tow? The National Gallery is hosting a Chinese New Year Family Festival Day on 6 February with a slew of activities for kids, including mask-making, Chinese Zodiac Trails, story sessions and Mandarin nursery rhymes, all of which are totally free.
As usual we’re located in the centre of most events, and we couldn’t be better placed for enjoying Chinese New Year in London, see our latest offers for a break to enjoy the vibrant festivities this year.
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