Where to celebrate Chinese New Year 2015 in the UK
Make Chinese lanterns, try dumplings and join in a dragon parade to welcome in the year of the sheep
Hundreds of millions of people are travelling back to China to celebrate New Year with the customary bang of firecrackers, fireworks and traditional dragon dances – but there are plenty of places in Britain to take part in the festivities too.
Celebrations for the year of the sheep, or goat or ram depending on the interpretation, include lantern-making, traditional Chinese story-telling and parties with mah-jong and dumplings:
Dragon parade in London
London's Chinese New Year celebrations are said to be the biggest in the world outside Asia, with the majority of the festivities taking place on Sunday. The annual dragon parade begins north of Trafalgar Square at 10am, with traditional dancing on the square's stage and throughout Chinatown in the afternoon. On Thursday 26 February, the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill is also inviting adults to celebrate New Year with a secret gallery of work by the Chinese-born British artist Aowen Jin, which can be discovered with a UV torch, as well as cocktails, street food and live music.
Eating out in London
Chinatown's restaurants, bars and cafes will be filled with New-Year-themed decorations and special menus, with more food and craft stalls spilling out onto the streets. The Evening Standard offers some more decadent dining options to see in the New Year. Hutong, on floor 32 of the Shard, is offering a "Double Happiness" menu today, including dim sum and the kitchen's signature Red Lantern soft shell crab. Michelin-starred HKK, based in the City, is promising a ten-course "Journey through China" for £98 per person until 28 February. Dishes include "tongue-numbing" Szechuan scampi and "butter-soft" king soy wagyu beef.
Four-day festivities in Manchester
Manchester, home to the second largest Chinese community in the UK, is promising to stage "one of Europe's biggest celebrations" with several city-wide events taking place between Thursday and Sunday. Last year's festivities saw over 90,000 people ring in the year of the horse. This year, origami, brush painting and design-a-ram workshops will be held in St Ann's Square, as well as large-scale art, light and film projects. A dragon parade will travel through Chinatown on Sunday, where traditional lion dances, food, a funfair and martial arts displays will also take place – followed by a fireworks finale at 6pm.
Lantern-making in Liverpool
The city's Toxteth Library is offering the opportunity to create Chinese New Year lanterns, as well as take part in traditional Chinese story-telling sessions on Saturday afternoon. The sessions are free but spaces on the lantern workshop are limited and must be pre-booked. A Chinese New Year Market will begin on Great George Street at 11am on Sunday, with parades in Chinatown and a "spectacular firecracker display" to follow at lunchtime.
Dancing in Birmingham
Birmingham City Council and the Birmingham Chinese Festival Committee are putting on an afternoon of Chinese music, stalls, children's rides and stage performances at the Arcadian Centre, Hurst Street on Sunday from 11.30am to 5.30pm. The on-stage programme ends with a traditional dragon dance and fireworks.
Mah-jong in Edinburgh
The Confucius Institute for Scotland will be holding a New Year party in the University of Edinburgh's Abden House from 6pm to 9pm on Friday night. Party guests can play chess or mah-jong, take part in karaoke or learn Mandarin over Chinese dumplings. "Weather permitting we will end the evening in the garden at Abden House with Chinese Lanterns and a chorus of Auld Lang Syne," says the institute. Admission is free but guests are required to register in advance.