Day 4.  Chinese New Year in London

To round off our weekend in London we headed to Trafalgar Square where a huge festival to celebrate the Chinese New Year (Year of the Rooster) was taking place from 10.00 a.m.  No visit to London should take place without visiting this iconic square with Nelson’s Column at its centre surrounded by four lions.  Getting to Trafalgar Square is easy, just take the Underground to Charing Cross and leave the station by the signposted exit to the square as Trafalgar Square does not have its own named station.

Chinese New Year Celebrations, Trafalgar Square
Chinese New Year Celebrations, Trafalgar Square

Although it was only mid morning the Square was already crowded but we managed to find a good spot at the top of a flight of steps to view the stage and the carnival atmosphere.  Various trade stands from China and Hong Kong were to be found near the National Gallery at the rear of the square and we were handed fortune cookies, balloons and Year of the Rooster bookmarks.

Chinese New Year Celebrations, Trafalgar Square
Main stage, Trafalgar Square Chinese New Year Celebrations

Dance troupes and choirs entertained the crowds and although storm clouds threatened, it fortunately remained fine whilst we there.

Later, we moved on to The Barbican in the City of London so that we could visit the Museum of London which is located at London Wall, EC2.  It was our first visit here, admission is free and the museum documents the history of London from Prehistoric to Modern times.  It’s thought to be the largest urban history collection in the world and welcomes one million visitors each year.

Museum of London, London EC2
Museum of London, London EC2

We commenced our tour in the Prehistoric gallery ‘London before London, leading into ‘War, Plague and Fire’ covering the period of the English Civil War and the Great Fire of London.  Exhibits were displayed in such a way that visitors could easily engage with the topics with plenty of interactive displays to keep children interested too.

Victorian Walk, Museum of London
Victorian Walk, Museum of London

‘Expanding City’ gallery covers the period 1660-1850 and I particularly liked the ‘Victorian Walk’ complete with reconstructed shops and public buildings.  Continuing, we reached the Galleries of Modern London featuring a reconstructed Georgian pleasure garden and an Art Deco lift from Selfridges department store.  How wonderful that this lift has been preserved for the nation since being replaced by the store.

Museum of London
Museum of London

Passing through the City Gallery we were able to see the State Coach which takes to the streets of London each November for the Lord Mayor’s Show.  Finally, bringing us up-to-date ‘World City’ explores London’s story from 1950 to the present day.  An excellent museum and one that I would highly recommend visiting if time allows and the weather is cold and dreary like now.  Leaving the museum we spotted fragments of the Roman London Wall on our return to the Underground station.

Roman London Wall, Barbican, London
Roman London Wall, Barbican

It was then time to return to our hotel to collect our luggage and enjoy dinner together before we went our separate ways and returned home after yet another lovely long weekend in London.

If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also like other posts in this series:

A winter break in London

You may also be interested in my previous visits to London:

South Kensington, South West London and Maritime Greenwich

City of London, Temple Gardens, South Bank, Portobello Market and London Docklands

Central London, V&A Museum of Childhood and the Olympic Park, Stratford

Sky Garden, Richmond, Camden Lock and Little Venice


45 thoughts on “Day 4.  Chinese New Year in London

  1. Pingback: Day 3.  The Imperial War Museum & Chinese New Year Celebrations – Love Travelling Blog

  2. Pingback: Day 3. Walking along the Thames at Richmond – Love Travelling Blog

  3. Pingback: Day 2.  A walk along the Thames Path  – Love Travelling Blog

  4. KathrinS

    Thanks for sharing! And nice photos. I am moving to London soon, so it’s interesting to hear about things people liked to do in the city. I might try to check out the Chinese New Year celebrations next year.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. KathrinS

        Thanks, I can’t wait!
        If you ever have time I’d love to hear your opinion on my blog – it’s very new so I like to hear what more experienced bloggers think.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. My goodness, the crowds at Trafalgar! You can hardly tell it’s the same place as in my post a while back 😛 Museum of London looks drab from outside but you’ve inspired me to add it to my list, the insides look very interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow so many people celebrating Chinese New Year in London. I have never done this myself, I would suppose we have some small scale celebrations here in Helsinki too. Next year I will definitely pay more attention. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

    Liked by 2 people

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  8. I remember staying at the Barbican Hotel 1985 and doing a quick tour of some of the important sites with a tour group. I have fond memories of that trip though our onward connections to New York and Washington DC took some of the shine off that later trip. What a mix up that was. Half the group were bumped from over booking and arrived in NY the next day.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Great post! That was a lot of people in Trafalgar Square, but sounds like you had a great time and you weren’t squeezed in like a can of sardines, as we say around here. The museum sounds wonderful also. I am really not a museum goer, but maybe I should. I think my idea of enjoying history got squelched in school when we just had to memorize dates and places and didn’t get to really search into the other interesting aspects of history.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think museums have become more interesting in recent years and if you go round at your own pace, you can just look in the galleries that interest you. Trafalgar Square was crowded and I’m quite small so we were lucky to find a spot on some steps to watch from!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I love the sound of the museum, we’ve never been but it sounds superb, having read about it now I can’t understand how we’ve never managed to visit before!! Trafalgar Square looks so busy but that sounds like a lot of fun too – I love experiencing festivals and things like this.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It was also our first visit to the Museum of London, I picked up a leaflet about it from another London museum last time we visited. Trafalgar Square was super busy but crowd control was good and we had enough room to move around. It was so nice we had the opportunity to be part of the celebrations. Just a shame it rained for you in Manchester, it was very gloomy in London but thankfully it stayed fine.

      Liked by 1 person

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