Visit London Blog » chinese new year Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 13 Oct 2015 14:49:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Year of the Sheep: Woolly good attractions in London Mon, 23 Feb 2015 12:10:52 +0000 One of the eight sheep at Hackney City Farm

One of the eight sheep at Hackney City Farm

This Chinese New Year marks the start of the Year of the Sheep. But celebrating by pulling on a woolly jumper isn’t going to cut it. We pick out seven sheep-ish attractions to shepherd your friends and family to. ‘Ewe’ won’t believe how much fun you can have!

Meet real sheep at Hackney City Farm

London has a number of City Farms where you can see all sorts of farmyard animals – including, of course, sheep. At Hackney City Farm there are eight resident sheep: Speckledy, Tiffany, Sherry, Tess, Baby, Lola, Delan and, last but certainly not least, 11-year-old Littlesheep. Save time for a rummage around the shop and a delicious lunch or snack at the on-site café, Frizzante.

Yauatcha in Soho

Yauatcha in Soho

Enjoy a sweet sheep treat at Yauatcha

To mark the Year of the Sheep, renowned dim-sum teahouse Yauatcha in Soho has gone sheep crazy, with a themed pop-art window display, pop-up art gallery and “wool makeover” created in collaboration with the Campaign for Wool. Even the dessert has been given a sheep twist, with macaroons made with caramelized sheep’s milk and a sheep’s yogurt lemon dessert. Until 28 Feb.

See Dolly the Sheep’s jumper at the Science Museum

Do you remember Dolly the sheep, the first cloned animal? Her birth was hailed as a scientific breakthrough and kickstarted huge debate – and controversy. While Dolly’s final resting place is at the National Museum of Scotland, a little bit of the world’s most famous sheep remains at London’s Science Museum in the form of a jumper knitted from Dolly’s first fleece.



Buy designer woollens at Liberty

If a chunky wool knit isn’t your style, check out Marc Jacobs’ new range of soft wool scarves at London’s iconic Liberty store – with suitably out-of-this-world names like ‘Blue Jupiter’ and ‘Turquoise Stargazer’. If that’s out of your price range, head to the third floor and pick up some yarn to make your own!

Spot Shaun the Sheep in London

To coincide with the recent launch of Shaun the Sheep: The Movie, its creators have organised a special art trail, Shaun in the City, featuring more than 100 giant sculptures of the little sheep who came to fame in the much-loved animation film Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave. Look out for the sculptures from March 28.

The Cheeseboard in Greenwich

The Cheeseboard in Greenwich

Shop for sheep’s milk cheese at The Cheeseboard

Tucked away in the World Heritage Site of Greenwich is The Cheeseboard, a tiny artisan cheese shop selling (among other things) delicious sheep’s milk cheese. There’s Ossau Iraty from France’s western Pyrénées regions, Tuscan Pecorino Nero, Terschelling from the Netherlands… but there are some UK favourites too, including Wigmoreand Devon-made Beenleigh Blue (pictured above).

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Things to Do in London This Weekend: 1-2 February Mon, 27 Jan 2014 10:00:26 +0000

China and America descend upon the capital this weekend for a pair of blockbuster international events, from welcoming in

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the Year of the Horse to celebrating a touchdown during Superbowl XLVIII.

Chinese New Year canters in to town

London’s Chinese New Year celebrations are the largest outside Asia as hundreds of thousands of people converge upon London’s West End. Whereas The Year of the Horse actually falls on 31 January, the festivities take in the capital on Sunday 2 February. Be sure to catch the parade as it snakes along Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue from around 10am before sampling some of the eclectic performances around Trafalgar Square and of course finishing with a Chinese meal somewhere around Chinatown. 2 Feb

Superbowl Sunday

American football continues to grow in popularity in the UK, with three regular season games coming later this year. The Superbowl is more than just a load of huge Americans running in to each other though. It is a spectacle from beginning to end, with live music, flyovers, fireworks and those all-important adverts. Get into the spirit by indulging in American food and drink and try and pick up what’s going on in the game itself. Not sure where to catch all the action though? We’ve done that for you. 2 Feb kick-off at 11.35pm.

A celebration of Nordic Noir

From China to America, via Scandinavia? The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane is hosting the Nordicana festival of Nordic fiction and film. Expect screenings, Q&A sessions and special guest appearances from the likes of Borgen, The Bridge, Wallander, The Killing and many more. There will also be a Nordic Marketplace showcasing design, furnishings and Nordic treats in the food hall. 1-2 Feb

Oh What a Lovely War

Coinciding with the centenary of World War One, this revival of the wartime classic musical Oh What a Lovely War couldn’t be timelier. Starring Caroline Quentin, this satirical take on the Great War maintains an anti-war tone that will resonate with modern audiences. Opens 1 Feb

Spells in the snow

This weekend is your last chance to see Hogwarts blanketed in snow at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter. Hogwarts has been turned into a winter wonderland, with a festive edge to the sets and the castle itself sporting a wintry look. Catch it before the attraction returns to normal after Sunday. Ends 2 Feb

More events in London

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What’s On This Weekend: 22-24 February 2013 Mon, 18 Feb 2013 08:30:50 +0000 Sparkle is definitely a theme in the city this weekend, not least because the glitzy London Fashion Weekend will be descending on Somerset House! You can also watch snow sparkle under film-makers’ lights, admire the glittering elegance of the UK’s best-loved ballroom dancers, or check out the spangly superhero costumes down at ExCeL.

Vodafone London Fashion Weekend at Somerset House Anyone who longs to be part of the London Fashion Week action will love the Vodafone London Fashion Weekend, a stylish consumer event that takes place just after London Fashion Week itself. Set against the stunning backdrop of Somerset House, the four-day event offers catwalk shows, lectures and – of course – exclusive shopping opportunities. Tickets start from £15.50.21-24 Feb 

The London Super Comic Convention at ExCeL

A must for comic book fans, the London Super Comic Convention is the largest event of its kind in the UK. Exhibitors come from across the globe to display the latest in comics and comic memorabilia, whilst many of the world’s most famous comic creators will be on site to meet fans and sign autographs. Tickets start from £17.50. 23-24 Feb

Banff Mountain Film Festival Tour at the Union Chapel

Temperatures are plummeting in Islington this weekend, as the Banff Mountain Film Festival tour skis in to the Union Chapel. The festival is one of the most prestigious mountain festivals in the world, and celebrates adventure, human endurance and the great outdoors through the medium of film. The London screenings allow you to see the festival’s best short films and share in a world of high octane action, beautiful vistas and remote cultures without leaving the (comparative) warmth of Islington. Screenings vary depending on the evening and tickets are £13.50. 21 Feb-1 Mar

Chinese New Year Celebrations at the National Maritime Museum

Discover British East Asian heritage and how the sea aided the flow of ideas from Asia to Britain at the National Maritime Museum, which is hosting a day of free Chinese New Year celebrations. From 11am to 4pm, both adults and children can enjoy themed workshops, music and performances that celebrate the Year of the Snake and highlight the influence of Oriental culture on the UK. 23 Feb

Anton & Erin Go To Hollywood at The Barbican

Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag, stars of the enduringly popular Strictly Come Dancing, are bringing a dash of glamour to the Barbican this Saturday. The twinkle-toed pair are dancing in a new show that pays homage to classic MGM musicals such as Gigi. Featuring a 25-piece orchestra, memorable songs and show-stopping choreography, this is guaranteed to put a spring in your step. Tickets start from £19.50 and there are two performances to choose from. 23 Feb

More events in London

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London Video of the Week: London Set for Huge Chinese New Year Celebrations Sat, 09 Feb 2013 10:30:02 +0000 London’s Chinatown is getting ready for the Chinese New Year celebrations this weekend. See the preparations taking place in the video below, as London gets ready to welcome the Year of the Snake.

Find out more about Chinese New Year in London including tomorrow’s parade and festival in Trafalgar Square.

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Visiting the Past: London’s Original Chinatown Fri, 08 Feb 2013 11:45:55 +0000

This weekend, the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia take place in and around London’s Chinatown in Soho. But did you know that London’s original Chinatown was in East London?

Limehouse was the site of a short-lived porcelain factory founded by George Wilson in 1746. It was one of many attempts to make a British version of the beautiful, white ceramic that was flooding into London from the Far East. Limehouse porcelain  looked Chinese but was made in East London. You can see examples of this porcelain at the Museum of London.

One hundred years later, a small community of Chinese sailors settled at Limehouse Causeway. This was one of two small, East End Chinese communities. The other was in Pennyfields in Poplar, where Chinese sailors from Shanghai had settled. Virtually all were single men, some of whom married British women.

By 1914, there were around 30 businesses and 300 people living in these small East End communities. Limehouse and Pennyfields became known as Chinatown, and many of its inhabitants made a living by running laundries.

During the Second World War, the Docklands area, including Chinatown, was badly damaged and many Chinese people moved out. In the 1950s, the market for Chinese food grew and restaurants and stalls began to spring up in Gerrard Street and Lisle Street. This was the start of the Chinatown we know today in Soho.

Find out more about Chinatown’s history or discover today’s Chinatown in Soho

Museum of London

Guest post by the Museum of London as part of our brand new Visiting the Past blog series. More fascinating facts about London’s history from the Museum of London next week!

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What’s On This Weekend: 8-10 February 2013 Mon, 04 Feb 2013 10:43:13 +0000

London will be awash with colour this weekend: not only does Sunday see the vibrant Chinese New Year celebrations taking over Trafalgar Square, but Kew Gardens will also be filled with a rainbow of orchids. Elsewhere, you can see some of the world’s oldest art, take the whole family dancing or watch James McAvoy star in the Scottish play.

Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind at the British Museum

Learn about the beginnings of art at this fascinating exhibition, which brings together works of Ice Age art from across Europe. Created more than 20,000 years ago, the works of portraiture and sculpture demonstrate the evolution of figurative art and humans’ enduring ability for creative expression. Not only does the exhibition contain striking works of ancient art, but modern masterpieces by artists such as Picasso, Henry Moore and Matisse are also displayed to demonstrate themes that span millennia. Adult tickets are £10. Until 26 May

Orchids at Kew Gardens

Kew’s Princess of Wales Conservatory is filled with an unseasonal burst of colour this month, as it hosts a four week long celebration of orchids. The glorious plants are arranged in a variety of captivating displays, with a centrepiece that pays tribute to the majestic giant water lily. Adult tickets are £14.50; children 16 and under are admitted free of charge. Until 3 Mar

Chinese New Year in Trafalgar Square

Celebrate the Chinese Year of the Snake on Sunday with a colourful parade and celebrations that will light up the West End. London’s Chinese New Year celebrations are the world’s largest outside China and centre around a lively stage in Trafalgar Square, from which fireworks will be released at the end of the day. Don’t miss the parade to Chinatown’s Rupert Street, which leaves the square at 10am. 10 Feb

Macbeth at Trafalgar Studios

Bafta-winning actor James McAvoy, famous for starring in films such as Atonement, Wanted and X-Men: First Class, takes to the stage as Macbeth in a new production of Shakespeare’s renowned tragedy. The play follows the Scottish Lord Macbeth in his murderous quest for power, and is considered one of the bard’s darkest plays. Tickets start at £10. Until 27 Apr

Family Barn Dance at Cecil Sharp House

Deal with your children’s half-term high spirits at this energetic afternoon of British country dancing. Commencing at 3pm, the barn dance features live music and a caller to guide you through the lively steps. Tickets start from £3 and adults must be accompanied by children, see the website for full details. 10 Feb

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London Video of the Week: London Hosts Chinese New Year Celebrations Fri, 03 Feb 2012 12:30:33 +0000

Here’s a great video showing some of the highlights of the Chinese New Year celebrations in London from last weekend.

Do you have any photos of the events? Don’t forget to add your photos to the Visit London Flickr pool.

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In Pictures: Chinese New Year in London 2012 Tue, 31 Jan 2012 16:54:57 +0000 Last Sunday, London’s Chinatown welcomed the Year of the Dragon with the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of China.

Images by Mark Baynes.

Were you there? Don’t forget to add your photos to the Visit London Flickr pool.

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Pepys Show Installation in Trafalgar Square Mon, 26 Sep 2011 10:45:09 +0000

Visitors to Trafalgar Square this morning were intrigued by a pop-up Pepys Show installation.

Peeping through holes in the wall, passers-by were treated to a host of fun, 3D images of London events including Chinese New Year, Shakespeare’s Globe plays and major art exhibitions.

A fine-looking Samuel Pepys expert in full costume was on hand to welcome the crowds.

The free event is part of the Limited Edition London campaign to promote the capital in the run-up to the 2012 Games.

Pepys Show will be in Trafalgar Square for the rest of today

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Visit London Asks: What’s Your Favourite Chinese Restaurant in London? Mon, 15 Feb 2010 11:28:41 +0000

Happy Chinese New Year!

In honour of the Year of the Tiger, this week we’re asking you for your favourite Chinese Restaurant in London.

Whether you love going to one of Alan Yau’s places for a treat (Hakkasan, Yauatcha, Cha Cha Moon), or have a favourite local budget option, or always frequent the same special place in Chinatown, this is the time of year to celebrate your love of Chinese food.

Let us know where you think the dim sum dazzles, the noodle soup has you salivating and where you can get a mean chow mein.

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