In honour of China’s spectacular Olympic successes and record-breaking swimmer Ye Shiwen, we’ve put together a few of the ways you can experience Chinese culture in Britain.
Strung with banners and lanterns and even sporting a miniature pagoda, for many generations it’s been home to a Chinese community who’ve turned the area into a hotspot for authentic Chinese cuisine. You’ll find speciality duck restaurants, delicious dim sum, and traditional Chinese pastries at the Kowloon Bakery.You’ll also find some of the best Chinese food in London at Hakkasan, a Michelin starred restaurant in nearby Bloomsbury.
Outside London be sure to visit Chinatown in Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham. In Liverpool it’s marked with a spectacular ceremonial arch —the largest outside of Asia — which is decorated with over 200 dragons to commemorate the city being twinned with Shanghai.
China in British Museums
Britain’s museums are a great place to see Chinese crafts, artworks and artefacts from throughout history. The Terracotta Warriors exhibit at the British Museum in 2007 was one of the most popular exhibitions of all time, and though the warriors are now safely back home in China, there’s plenty more to see.
The V&A houses a huge collection of Chinese art, sculpture, costume and craft objects, while the British Museum has a huge range of Chinese exhibits. Learn about the importance of jade, bronze and silk in Chinese crafting, and the secrets of Chinese ceramics.
The British Film Institute regularly shows films from across the world, including China. There was a 4-film Chinese New Year special series in February, so be sure to check their website for similar events coming up.
Chinese Arts Centre
Manchester is home to the Chinese Arts Centre, an institution which promotes Chinese contemporary art in Britain. It’s a fantastic space which holds a lively programme of exhibitions, events, residencies and festivals, and is the place to go if you’re interested in the Chinese art and artists of today.
Chinese New Year celebrations
Chinese New Year in the UK is an explosive celebration of colour and noise. In the nation’s Chinatowns the streets fill with spectators to watch the music and pageantry of the occasion.
Chinese dragons dance along the streets and are fed Pak Choi from restaurant windows, while the streets are decorated with brightly coloured new year lanterns.
In London the biggest celebration of all takes place all day in Trafalgar Square, with shows, dancing Chinese food and music.