5 Chinatowns in the UK to celebrate the Chinese New Year
Celebrate Chinese New Year with an authentic plate of crispy duck
Walk through the gigantic ornamental gates of any Chinatown and you will immediately get lost in a world of low hanging red lanterns along narrow streets lined with small restaurants and dumpling houses: think spitting rotisserie ducks and all you can eat chow mein buffets.
Chinese New Year falls on 25 January and to celebrate this new year, the year of the rat, there's no better place to go than one of the UK's very own Chinatowns.
Chinatown neighbourhoods exist in major cities around the world, from London to San Francisco, and all the way to Melbourne. Here we have rounded up the main ones in the UK, where you can enjoy dim sum, take selfies with the stone lions, and stock up on knickknacks and charms.
Happy new year! Or Kung Hei Fat Choi, which roughly translates as an offering of best wishes and means: "I wish you earn more money this year.”
Liverpool's Chinatown was the first to be established in Europe and is easily recognisable by the gigantic beautifully crafted Chinese Arch that adorns the entry. The arch was imported piece by piece from Shanghai, a city which Liverpool is twinned with.
The arch stands at 13.5 metres tall and is the largest in Europe, in fact it is the tallest standing arch in any Chinatown outside of mainland China.
Dip into Chinese and pan-Asian restaurants such as North Garden or Chilli Chilli, which both serve up authentic dishes, or buy niche cooking ingredients from the Chinese supermarkets here, a stone's throw from Liverpool's famous Bold Street.
Thousands of revellers descend on Liverpool’s Chinatown to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year is the perfect excuse to go and explore the authentic restaurants and shops of London's Chinatown neighbourhood, located in the city's Soho area.
Once home to Huguenot and Maltese immigrants, the area of Chinatown as we know it today was formed in the 1950s, when a handful of Chinese restaurants opened and expanded into the cultural hub it is today in the 1960s and 1970s.
Look out for street signs written in English and Chinese, stone lions and contemporary art sculptures. A new fourth gate on Wardour Street was completed in 2016 and built in traditional Qing dynasty style, it is now the largest single Chinese gate in the country.
This weekend special events include a spectacular parade with floats and lion dances and live performances in Trafalgar Square, and entertainment across the West End and around Chinatown, as well as pop-up food and craft stalls.
Birmingham's Chinatown is just a five minute walk from New Street Station and next to the Bullring shopping centre and is built around a stone pagoda, donated by a prominent local Chinese business.
Kicking off Chinese New Year celebrations on Friday 24 January there is a Chinese classical concert presented by the University of Birmingham and held at the Bramall Concert Hall.
On the Saturday there's a lion and dragon procession through the centre of the city, plus traditional fan and umbrella dances, amazing acrobats and a special Wish Tree on display in Grand Central, where visitors are invited to add their New Year wishes.
On Sunday there will be an exciting programme of performances and free activities in Birmingham’s Chinatown. The weekend festivities are organised by the Chinese Festival Committee and Birmingham Hippodrome and usually attracts up to 30,000 visitors.
Celebrate the Year of the Rat in January 2020 in Newcastle's Chinatown located on St Andrew's Street with traditional performances, free activities and crafts across the weekend.
The Chinese New Year Parade will begin at The Green, Old Eldon Square in the centre at 11.30am before weaving its way to the Chinese arch in Chinatown.
Popular dragon and lion dances will take place around the ceremonial arch and it's a great opportunity to hear speeches from key figures in the local Chinese community.
Newcastle's Chinatown was founded in 1978, with Wing Hong Chinese Supermarket being the first Chinese business to open in the city and amazingly it is still in business today.
Manchester's Chinatown is the second largest in the UK so you're guaranteed a wide choice of quality restaurants, bakeries and shops.
The annual Chinese New Year festival is always a highlight in the Manchester events calendar, it includes stalls and dancing Dragons in the famous parade.
This year there is a new parade route, starting from 12.30pm in St Peter’s Square, outside Central Library, and slinking around the streets towards Chinatown.
Refuel after all that walking and dancing at Yang Sing restaurant, five floors of colourful decor and some of the best Chinese food in the city. Or dive into BBQ Handmade Noodles King for delicious handmade noodles and sizzling skewers. The beef noodles are especially tasty.