London is a diverse and vibrant city that celebrates uniqueness and unity, both at the same time. In fact, if you took a few moments to people watch wherever you are in the city, it wouldn’t take you too long to come to the same conclusion. However, for a really special trip, consider a visit to England’s capital to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Taking place in the middle of February, the celebrations are most noticeable in London’s Chinatown. This is where onlookers can watch the strikingly beautiful parade of traditional Chinese costumes or enjoy some fabulous Chinese entertainment in Trafalgar square. It really is one calendar event not to be missed, as, singers, dancers and acrobats all display their talents to bring you a show stopping performance. There are of course, also a number of outstanding Chinese restaurants dotted all over the city that will offer an authentic way to round off your day of celebrations with freshly cooked Chinese cuisine- anyone for dimsum?
If you are planning to join in with the Chinese New Year celebrations, then it’s advisable to book your accommodation well in advance, as the celebrations are extremely popular with tourists, and people will flock from hundreds of miles just to be a part of the city’s events. There are plenty of accommodation options available to you when booking a trip to London, but the Shaftesbury Hyde Park International London hotel is a great choice for those looking for a touch of luxury combined with a great location. With its stylish interiors and excellent customer service, it will leave you feeling like Royalty in the city where the Queen resides.
Another thing you’ll need to think about if planning to get into the city during Chinese New Year celebrations, is how you will travel. Bear in mind that there will be thousands more people in the city than usual, so transport modes may be considerably busier than normal. Travelling by car is often not the most efficient way to make your way into the city, not just because of heavy congestion on the roads, but also because of the difficulty you may encounter in finding somewhere to park. Very few hotels offer car parking to guests, and those that do usually carry a hefty charge. Therefore, rail is often the best way to travel, for both ease and affordability. This can also be the easiest way to reach your hotel once you’re in the city, as Paddington station has an underground tube station of its own too. This means that you can exit the train and hop straight onto the tube to take you to any one of the many budget hotels London has available.
In fact, if you plan on utilising the public transport to any great extent, then it might be worthwhile getting a travel Oyster card. This is the size of a debit or credit card, so is easy to carry around with you, and it can be topped up or prepaid before you travel. As you hop on and off London buses, trams, trains or the tube, you can simply hand over your card to pay for your fares. This is a much quicker and more convenient way to pay for travel and for extra peace of mind, the balance of the card is protected against theft.
Whilst in London, don’t forget to visit some of the other attractions too, if you get the time. The city has so much to offer that it would be a shame to miss out on the history and culture that can be found in places such as the National gallery, or the British Science museum. These are also places that can be enjoyed at any time of year, so if your trip doesn’t fit with the dates of the Chinese New Year celebrations then you can still explore the fantastic museums that London has at your leisure.
Fans of the Royal family, might be more interested in a tour of Buckingham Palace or watching the changing of the Guards outside of the palace doors, which takes place every other day in the winter months, weather permitting, at 11.30am. Or for a quieter way to explore the Royal side of the city, how about a trip to the Princess of Wales memorial Park? There’s a specially commissioned water feature that is sure to dazzle and captivate you, and if you’re travelling with children, there’s a Peter Pan themed playground complete with Wigwams and sandpits for your little darlings to use up their energy. The park is also the perfect location for a springtime picnic, so pack up your family favourites, take along a picnic rug and get set to make some amazing family memories.
Of course, no trip to London would be complete without spending some time to take in the stunning cityscape. There are so many ways in which you can do so too, with a cruise on the River Thames being a popular option, or of course a trip on the London Eye experience too, which offers a Birdseye view of London that can be enjoyed throughout a 30minute ride. For those who prefer to keep both feet firmly on land, then alighting a traditional red London double decker can also provide you with great views of the city, but if possible go onto the top deck and choose a seat near the front of the vehicle. This will limit the number of obstructions that could hinder your view.