Welcome to Chinatown – the vibrant district in the heart of London that offers an immersive experience in Chinese culture. Whether you are a food enthusiast, history buff or simply looking to explore a new destination, Chinatown has something for everyone. In this article, we will provide an overview of the top things to do in Chinatown – London, from exploring the iconic landmarks to indulging in the authentic flavours of Chinese cuisine.
As you wander through the bustling streets of Chinatown, you will be transported to a world of vibrant colours, tantalising aromas and unique cultural experiences. From the ornate gates of the district to the picturesque architecture, every corner of Chinatown offers a glimpse into the rich history and heritage of Chinese culture.
- Chinatown is a vibrant district in the heart of London that offers a unique cultural experience.
- Visitors can explore the iconic landmarks, indulge in authentic Chinese cuisine and immerse themselves in the rich history of Chinatown.
Exploring Chinatown’s Attractions
If you’re a visitor to London, Chinatown is a must-see district that offers a range of attractions to explore. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, Chinatown has something for everyone. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at some of Chinatown’s top attractions.
One of the most recognizable landmarks in Chinatown is the Chinatown Gate located at the entrance of the district. It is decorated in vibrant red and gold colours and features intricate designs that reflect Chinese culture. The gate is a popular spot for photos and a great introduction to the district.
Feng Shui Shop
If you’re interested in Chinese culture and beliefs, the Feng Shui Shop is a must-visit attraction in Chinatown. The shop offers a range of Feng Shui products, books, and consultations. You can learn more about the art of Feng Shui and how to bring balance and harmony to your surroundings.
Leicester Square is another famous landmark located on the edge of Chinatown. This bustling square is known for its cinemas, theatres, and restaurants. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a film premiere or a red carpet event.
London Chinatown Chinese Association
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Chinese immigrants in London, a visit to the London Chinatown Chinese Association is a must. This organisation offers language classes, cultural events, and resources for the Chinese community in London. Visitors can learn about the past and present experiences of Chinese immigrants in the city.
The Golden Pagoda is another landmark located in Chinatown that is worth a visit. It is a striking red and gold pagoda that stands at the entrance of Gerrard Street. This iconic building is a great spot for photos and a symbol of the cultural richness of Chinatown.
These are just a few of the many attractions that Chinatown has to offer. From traditional landmarks to cultural experiences, Chinatown is a vibrant district that should not be missed.
Indulging in Authentic Flavours
Chinatown is undoubtedly one of the best places to experience authentic Chinese cuisine in London. With a wide range of restaurants and eateries to choose from, visitors can indulge in a diverse range of regional dishes that showcase the rich flavours and aromas of Chinese cooking.
From Cantonese dim sum to Sichuan hotpot, there is something for everyone in Chinatown’s food scene. Many restaurants offer set menus or family-style dining, which is perfect for groups looking to try a variety of dishes.
Some of the best restaurants to try in Chinatown include:
|Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings)
|Spicy Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles
|Cantonese Roast Duck
For those looking for an immersive culinary experience, Chinatown also offers food tours and workshops. Visitors can learn how to make dumplings, noodles, or even participate in a tea ceremony.
Overall, Chinatown’s food scene is a must-try for any foodie visiting London. With its diverse range of regional flavours and dishes, visitors are sure to leave satisfied and with a newfound appreciation for Chinese cuisine.
Shopping in Chinatown
Chinatown is a shopper’s paradise, offering a wide range of stores and markets where visitors can find unique Chinese products and souvenirs. From traditional tea sets to intricate Chinese art, here are some of the best shopping experiences in Chinatown.
|New Loon Moon Supermarket
|A popular supermarket that offers an extensive range of Chinese ingredients and products. Visitors can find everything from fresh produce to snacks and household items.
|This bakery is known for its delicious Chinese pastries and cakes. Visitors can try a variety of sweet and savoury options, including egg tarts and pork buns.
|Loon Fung is a well-known store that offers a wide range of Chinese products, including cookware, tableware, and herbal remedies. Visitors can find everything they need to create an authentic Chinese meal or to decorate their home with Chinese-style products.
In addition to these stores, visitors can also explore the many street markets that line the streets of Chinatown. These markets offer a more authentic shopping experience, allowing visitors to haggle and bargain for the best prices on their favourite products. Here are some of the most popular markets in Chinatown:
- Leicester Place Market: This market offers a wide range of products, including clothing, jewellery, and souvenirs.
- Berwick Street Market: This market is known for its fresh produce and street food stalls, offering visitors a chance to sample some of the district’s best cuisine.
No matter what you’re looking for, Chinatown has something to offer every shopper. Whether you’re searching for authentic Chinese ingredients or unique souvenirs to take home, a shopping trip to Chinatown is a must-do experience.
Exploring Chinatown’s Nightlife
Chinatown isn’t just a hub for authentic Asian cuisine, but it also boasts a vibrant nightlife scene. Visitors can experience the unique fusion of Chinese and British cultures through the district’s entertainment venues. From live music to karaoke bars, there is something for everyone in Chinatown’s nightlife.
The Best Bars
For those looking for a classic British pub experience with a Chinese twist, look no further than Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour. This speakeasy-style bar offers a wide range of cocktails and dim sum dishes, all served in a stylish, atmospheric setting.
For those wanting to experience the glamour of 1920s Shanghai, The Experimental Cocktail Club is a must-visit. This sophisticated bar serves up unique and inventive cocktails, all crafted with a blend of Chinese and European influences.
The Best Clubs
Chinatown also offers a selection of clubs for those looking to dance the night away. The Hippodrome Casino is a popular choice, as it not only offers a range of casino games and slots, but it also hosts live performances and club nights.
For those looking for a more intimate club experience, the Opal Nightclub is a great option. This venue is known for its energetic atmosphere and unique blend of Chinese and Western music genres.
Chinatown offers a range of entertainment venues for those looking for a night out. From comedy clubs to karaoke bars, there is always something going on in the district. The 99 Club Leicester Square is a popular choice for those looking for a laugh, as it hosts some of the best stand-up comedians in the UK.
For those wanting to showcase their own talents, the Karaoke Box is a fun and unique option. Private karaoke rooms are available for groups, complete with a wide selection of songs in Chinese, English, and other languages.
As you can see, Chinatown offers a diverse and exciting nightlife scene. Whether you’re looking for a classic British pub experience with a Chinese twist or a unique blend of Chinese and Western music, Chinatown has something to offer for everyone.
Immersing in Local History
Chinatown is a district rich in history, with numerous landmarks and sites that offer insights into its past. From ancient religious buildings to modern-day monuments, there’s plenty for history buffs to explore and discover.
One of the district’s most iconic landmarks is the Chinatown Gate, located at the entrance to the district on Wardour Street. The gate was built in 1985 to mark the friendship between London and Beijing and to celebrate the growing Chinese community in the city. Visitors can admire the intricate designs and colourful tiles that feature on this magnificent structure.
Another famous landmark is the Pagoda, located on Gerrard Street. This striking building was constructed in 1984 and is one of the tallest structures in Chinatown. It features traditional Chinese architecture with an ornate roof, intricate carvings and vibrant colours.
Local Historical Sites
For those interested in delving deeper into Chinatown’s past, there are several historical sites that offer a glimpse into its fascinating history.
One such site is the Chinese Nationalist Party Building, located on Gerrard Street. This building was the headquarters for the Chinese Nationalist Party during the 1920s and 1930s and played a significant role in the Chinese Revolution. Visitors can explore the building and learn about its history through interactive exhibits and displays.
Another historical site is the London Chinese Community Centre, located on the second floor of a building on Leicester Court. This centre has been serving the local Chinese community for over 30 years and offers a range of services and facilities, including a library, a youth club and a community café.
For visitors looking to learn even more about Chinatown’s history, there are several guided tours available. The Chinatown Heritage Centre offers guided tours that explore the district’s history and culture, including a visit to the Pagoda and an insight into the lives of the early Chinese migrants who settled in the area.
The London Walks tour company offers a guided tour of Chinatown that focuses on the district’s architectural history and includes visits to some of its most iconic buildings and landmarks.
Chinatown is a district steeped in history and culture, offering visitors a fascinating insight into London’s Chinese community and its rich heritage. From historical landmarks to guided tours, there’s plenty to discover and explore.
Discovering the District’s Churches
In addition to its cultural and culinary offerings, Chinatown is also home to several historic churches and religious sites. These places of worship not only provide insight into the spiritual life of the local community but also showcase unique architectural features and cultural traditions.
Located on the northern edge of Chinatown, St. Martin-in-the-Fields is a historic church with a rich history dating back to the 13th century. The church features stunning neoclassical architecture and is known for its exquisite music concerts and cultural events. Visitors can attend daily services or enjoy a guided tour of the building.
Chinese Church in London
The Chinese Church in London is a unique place of worship that caters to the local Chinese community. Located on the second floor of a commercial building in the heart of Chinatown, the church offers services in both Mandarin and Cantonese. Visitors can attend Sunday services or participate in cultural events and activities.
London Fo Guang Shan Temple
The London Fo Guang Shan Temple is a Buddhist temple located on Margaret Street in Chinatown. The temple offers a peaceful and serene environment for visitors to meditate and learn about Buddhist teachings. It also features an art gallery, library, and vegetarian restaurant.
Visitors to Chinatown can explore these unique churches and religious sites to learn more about the district’s cultural and spiritual heritage.
Enjoying Parks and Green Spaces
Chinatown may be a bustling urban district, but it’s also home to several tranquil parks and green spaces where visitors can unwind and take in the natural surroundings. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax or a family-friendly area for a picnic, Chinatown has plenty to offer.
|Bordered by Brewer Street, Sherwood Street, and Beak Street
|Grassy area, benches, public art installations
|Leicester Square Gardens
|Bordered by Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, and Lisle Street
|Lawns, flower beds, statues, and fountains
One of the most popular green spaces in Chinatown is Golden Square, located at the heart of the district. This small park features a large grassy area surrounded by benches, making it the perfect place to relax and people-watch. The park also hosts a variety of public art installations throughout the year, adding to its charm.
Another popular spot is Leicester Square Gardens, located just a short walk from Chinatown. This historic park dates back to the 17th century and features lush lawns, flower beds, and statues. The park is also home to several fountains, which light up in different colours at night, making it a popular spot for evening strolls.
- Take a picnic to Golden Square and enjoy the people-watching
- Visit Leicester Square Gardens and take in the historic statues and fountains
- Look out for public art installations in Golden Square throughout the year
Both Golden Square and Leicester Square Gardens are accessible year-round and are free to enter.
Finding the Perfect Accommodation
After a long day of exploring all that Chinatown has to offer, finding the right place to stay is essential. Luckily, there are several great options in the district that offer convenience, comfort and style.
|Price Range (per night)
|The Nadler Soho
|10 Carlisle Street, W1D 3BR
|The Piccadilly London West End
|London, 65-73 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 6EX
|Z Hotel Piccadilly
|2 Orange Street, WC2H 7DF
Our top recommendations for hotels in Chinatown include The Nadler Soho, The Piccadilly London West End and Z Hotel Piccadilly. Each hotel offers a unique style and range of amenities, with prices to suit different budgets.
The Nadler Soho provides a luxurious stay, with chic and sophisticated rooms decorated with modern furnishings. Located just a few minutes away from Chinatown, it offers easy access to the district’s attractions.
If you’re looking for a mid-range option, The Piccadilly London West End is an excellent choice. With stylish rooms and friendly staff, it offers a comfortable stay at a reasonable price.
For those on a tighter budget, Z Hotel Piccadilly provides a great value option. Despite its modest prices, it doesn’t compromise on quality, with modern rooms and central location, making it perfect for those who want to make the most of their time in Chinatown.
No matter which hotel you choose, you’re sure to have a comfortable and convenient stay in Chinatown.
Chinatown Tours and Experiences
Exploring Chinatown on your own can be an incredible adventure, but if you want to take things up a notch, there are several tours and experiences available that will help you delve deeper into the district’s rich culture and history.
The Official Chinatown Tour
Offered by the Chinatown London Association, the Official Chinatown Tour is a guided walking tour that takes visitors on a journey through the district’s vibrant streets. Led by experienced guides, the tour includes several stops at historical landmarks and buildings, as well as visits to some of Chinatown’s top restaurants and shops. During the tour, you’ll learn about Chinatown’s fascinating history and culture, as well as discover hidden gems that you might have otherwise missed.
Chinatown Food Tours
If you’re a foodie, you’ll love the Chinatown food tours that are available. These tours offer an immersive experience where visitors can sample some of the best authentic Chinese cuisine in the district. From dim sum to bubble tea, there’s something for everyone on these food tours, and you’ll get to learn about the history and cultural significance of each dish from knowledgeable guides.
Chinese Calligraphy Workshops
For a hands-on cultural experience, consider taking a Chinese calligraphy workshop in Chinatown. These workshops are taught by experienced calligraphers and offer visitors the opportunity to learn the art of Chinese writing. From basic brush strokes to advanced techniques, you’ll get to practice your skills and create your own calligraphy masterpiece to take home.
If you’re interested in Chinatown’s vibrant nightlife scene, why not take a nightlife tour? These tours take visitors to some of the district’s top bars and clubs, where you can experience the energy and excitement of Chinatown after dark. From karaoke bars to underground speakeasies, there’s something for everyone on these tours.
No matter what type of experience you’re looking for, there’s something for everyone in Chinatown. With so many tours and experiences available, you’re sure to find something that will make your visit to Chinatown London truly unforgettable.
Q: What are the top things to do in Chinatown – London?
A: Chinatown in London offers a plethora of attractions and cultural experiences. Visitors can explore the area’s iconic landmarks, indulge in authentic Chinese cuisine, go shopping for unique products, enjoy the vibrant nightlife, immerse in the district’s history, visit local churches, relax in parks and green spaces, find the perfect accommodation, and participate in various tours and experiences.
Q: What attractions can be found in Chinatown?
A: Chinatown boasts a variety of attractions, from well-known landmarks like the Chinatown Gate and the Chinese Pagoda to hidden gems like the Newport Court Mural and the Lantern Festival. Visitors can also explore the vibrant Leicester Square and the nearby London’s West End for world-class entertainment options.
Q: Where can I indulge in authentic Chinese cuisine in Chinatown?
A: Chinatown is a food lover’s paradise with numerous restaurants and eateries offering authentic Chinese cuisine. Some popular options include the Four Seasons for roasted duck, Dumplings’ Legend for dumplings, Golden Dragon for dim sum, and Joy Luck for Cantonese classics. Don’t forget to try the traditional bubble tea at Chatime or Boba Jam for a refreshing beverage.
Q: What can I shop for in Chinatown?
A: Chinatown offers a diverse range of shops and markets where visitors can find Chinese products, souvenirs, and more. From traditional tea houses and herbal medicine stores to Chinese supermarkets and gift shops, there is something for everyone. Don’t miss the bustling market stalls along Gerrard Street for a unique shopping experience.
Q: What is the nightlife like in Chinatown?
A: Chinatown comes alive at night with a vibrant nightlife scene. Visitors can enjoy a night out at popular bars and clubs like Opium, Experimental Cocktail Club, or the aptly named Jazz After Dark. For a unique experience, catch a live performance at the iconic Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club or enjoy a traditional Chinese opera at the Shaftesbury Theatre.
Q: Are there any historical landmarks in Chinatown?
A: Chinatown has a rich history, and there are several historical landmarks worth exploring. Visit the Chinese Imperial Archway, which marks the entrance to Chinatown, or take a stroll along the Pagoda Street and see the traditional Chinese architecture. The historic Gerrard Street and Lisle Street are also home to old buildings that have retained their original charm.
Q: Are there any churches or religious sites in Chinatown?
A: While Chinatown is primarily known for its Chinese cultural heritage, there are a few churches and religious sites in the area. St. Anne’s Church, located on Dean Street, is a beautiful example of Baroque architecture and hosts regular services. Additionally, the London Fo Guang Shan Temple offers visitors a peaceful place for meditation and reflection.
Q: Where can I enjoy parks and green spaces in Chinatown?
A: Despite being located in the heart of London, Chinatown is surrounded by parks and green spaces where visitors can relax and enjoy nature. The nearby Leicester Square Gardens and Soho Square are popular spots for picnics or a peaceful break from the bustling streets. The tranquil Phoenix Garden also offers a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city.
Q: What are the best places to stay in Chinatown?
A: Chinatown offers a range of accommodation options suitable for different budgets and preferences. Some of the best places to stay include the historic Hotel Strand Continental, the luxury Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire Hotel, and the budget-friendly Premier Inn London Leicester Square.
Q: What tours and experiences are available in Chinatown?
A: Visitors can immerse themselves in the unique experiences offered in Chinatown through various tours and activities. Explore the district on a guided walking tour, learn about Chinese culture through a calligraphy or tea ceremony workshop, or discover the secrets of Chinese cuisine with a cooking class. There are plenty of options to suit every interest.