From the 19th to the 22nd of February, Chinese New Year will be celebrated with the enthusiastic welcoming in of the Year of the Sheep (or Goat, or Ram, depending on who you ask). The biggest festivities outside Asia will be held right here in London, so if you’re in town during that week you’re in for a massive Fortune Cookie’s worth of celebrations, feasts, fun and sheer madness as Soho basically loses its mind for four days straight. Gong Xi Fa Cái! 

The obvious starting point for the major celebrations is the Parade through Chinatown on Sunday 22nd. Starting at around 10am, it will wind its way down Shaftesbury Avenue to finish up about 5pm in Trafalgar Square, where celebrations will have been taking place since midday. With free concerts, performances and interactive impromptu workshops going on all day, there’s a wealth of new cultural gems to learn about and skills to aspire to, as well as the fantastic photo opportunities provided by the dancing lions, dragons and atmospheric red lanterns strung throughout the area. 

There will be numerous other events held throughout the city too, some just for the grown-ups, such as Chinese Late at the Horniman Museum from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. This will be a slightly different take on how to celebrate the New Year, as well as a chance for those unaccustomed  to Chinese traditions to pick up a thing or two about how the nation’s artists find their inspiration at home and abroad. With cutting edge installations and performances on show during the evening, such as a ‘hidden’ exhibit by Aowen Jin which is only visible using UV light, traditional ribbon dance by Yuyu Rau, a Chinese Tea ceremony and much much more.   

Comedy venue The Invisible Dot will also be making a nod to the New Year, with comedians Ivo Graham, Phil Wang and Twins performing and, as the Dot claims, “at least one of whom has been to China at least once”. As that one promises to be less more entertaining than informative, maybe head on over the the BFI Southbank fro a little more in-depth exploration and a celebration of Chinese Cinema. A programme full of documentaries and original screenplays casting light on the China of the 21st century will kick off on the 15th. The screenings that follow will feature family drama ‘Full Circle” on the 16th and 20th, ‘Not One Less’ on the 17th and others including ‘Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles’, ‘Blossom with Tears’ and ‘The Cold Winter’. 

After so much cultural exposure, you’re going to start hankering after some proper Chinese soul food. Though everywhere in chinatown and beyond will be dishing up specials and vast, copious tasting menus especially for the New Year, there are a few places where you’ll really feel like you’ve gone to celebrate. One such is Y Ming, run by Christine Yau and renowned as a reliably delicious classics and novel takes on the tried and tested - particular mouth-waterers are the double-braised pork, crispy duck and in the spirit of the festivities, Tibetan garlic lamb. 

Even more cutting edge - and requiring a somewhat greater cut from the little red envelopes you might have gathered in your wallet - Michelin-starred Yauatcha will be honouring the Sheep with its collaboration with “The Campaign for Wool”. This upmarket, all-day Dim Sum eatery and tea-house will be presenting a New Year menu with a range of themed desserts, such as oat-covered macaroons and caramelised sheep’s cheese bavarois, in addition to Asian-inspired cocktails with the exotically potent Du Kang Baijiu spirit. Moreover, Yauatcha have jumped on the social media bandwagon this year, with a giveaway contained in the famous red envelopes that are up for grabs by spotting any of the eight sheep hidden around Soho and tweeting them a photo with #YauatchaSheep.


The bar at Yauatcha is also sumptuous and elegant enough to want to linger in a little longer, or you could head East to Shoreditch and try out the list at The Drunken Monkey. Ten years in the Dim Sum-and-Cocktail game have bestowed this locale with a reputation for one of London’s most eagerly anticipated evenings: an all-out spectacle of dancing, music, complimentary dim sum and free drinks, all in their unique, spacious venue decked out to the hilt yet remaining low-key enough to relax and settle in for the rest of the party. And with creations such as the Drunken Pear (Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka, merlet crème de poire and fresh pear, finished with Prosecco) where else have you really got to go? 

Well, apart from back to your comfy bed at every hotels, of course - rest and recuperation assured!