January is the dullest time of the year. The weather is grey and cold and we’re all back at work and school counting down the days to the next holiday. But, it doesn’t have to be gloom!
With Chinese new Year celebrations starting around the UK as early as the 26th January, there are some fun filled, bright and noisy weekend family days out to welcome in the year of the Rooster. This is great way to get your children to experience, see , hear, smell and learn about a different cultures right on their doorstep.
London (Sunday 29th Jan, Free)
London’s Chinese New Year celebrations are the biggest outside Asia with festivities in Chinatown, Trafalgar Square and the West End on Sunday 29th January between 10am and 6pm. All festivities are free to attend and there is lots to see and do starting with a colourful parade through China Town and the West End, followed by stage performances in Trafalgar Square including Martial Arts by the Shaolin monks, puppet shows, acrobats, Chinese opera and dances and ending with a fireworks display.
For more information and to plan your journey see: VISITLONDON.COM
Magical Lantern Festival (19 -26 Feb Ticketed), London
In its second year at Chiswick House & Gardens the Magical Lantern Festival is back to celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Rooster 2017 and the cultural significance surrounding this extraordinary event. The theme for this year’s festival is: ‘Explore The Silk Road’. Discover magnificent life-sized and oversized lantern scenes, which represent and highlight this significant route of trade and culture from Europe to Ancient China.
The Silk Road Festival journey begins with a 15-metre wide lantern of London’s Houses of Parliament. Visitors continue their tour by exploring lanterns related to the Silk Road representing Europe, Central Asia, Arabia, Egypt, Persia, India and Ancient China.
There is also an entertainment area where you can experience an international range of food, take photos with lanterns, try to solve Chinese bamboo lantern riddles and visit the mini funfair.
For more information and to buy advance tickets see: Magical Lantern Festival http://www.magicallantern.uk Children under 4 are free, family tickets available (2 adults + 2 Children)
Manchester (Sunday 29 Jan, Free)
Celebrations kick off at midday with a The Dragon Parade in Albert Square which will head down Portland Street and into Chinatown. They is also a funfair from midday until 8pm.
In Greensgate Square, Salford there is a Giant Chinese Golden Dragon and the spectacular internationally acclaimed exhibition, The Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors will be on display in Exchange Square. The 40 illuminated replicas of the original Terracotta Warriors, the famous clay statues which guard the Emperor of China in his tomb are each more than two metres tall, and have travelled the world since being created for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
There is also street food to enjoy, shopping, live music and fireworks.
There are 5 China Towns across the UK and Chinese new Year Celebrations will also be taking place in Newcastle, Birmingham and Liverpool. For more information about what’s on and to plan your journey click the links below.