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.
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.
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.
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.
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.