Where to check out in London’s Chinatown

London’s Chinatown transports you to a world away from the busy city. Explore the streets filled with red Chinese lanterns, soak in the culture and immerse yourself in the rich flavours, traditions and experiences waiting for you.

With over 70 authentic East Asian restaurants, shops, bars and cafés – Chinatown is a bucket list stop during your time in London. 

Read on to learn the rich history of London’s Chinatown and tips for some of the must-visit spots along the way.

The history of Chinatown London

London’s Chinatown dates back to the 18th century when it was located in London’s East End. However, the Chinatown that we’ve come to know and love has been around since the 1950s.

Today, more than 17.4 million people visit each year, with the busiest period during the Chinese New Year (mid-January and February, depending on the Chinese lunar calendar).

As you wander around Chinatown, you’ll notice different monuments, sights and attractions. Including four stunning Paifangs (Chinese archways) that stand at the different Chinatown entry points, two lion statues on Gerrard Street (donated by the People’s Republic of China), as well as the incredible 1888 Mural in Horse and Dolphin Yard.

Grab a bite to eat

Chinatown is packed with amazing restaurants, Chinese buffets, and chopstick, rice and dim sum parlours.

Stop by the super tasty, super affordable Wan Chai Corner – said to have some of the best dim sum in Chinatown. Or experience Hong Kong-style dining at The Eight. Got a sweet tooth? Enjoy a delicious bubble waffle at Bubblewrap – try a classic favourite, get creative and build your own, or look out for limited-edition flavours. 

You’ll also find restaurants serving Korean, Malaysian, Taiwanese and Japanese cuisine, too.

Stop for a drink

Whether you’re stopping for a break or indulging in a delicious treat, Chinatown is bursting with cafés and bars. 

From artisan bubble tea at Woo Tea to matcha-infused sundaes at TSUJIRI. Or stop for a classic cocktail at The Blue Posts – an original Georgian Pub on the edges of Chinatown and Soho that dates back to 1839.

Explore the supermarkets & shops

Forget your standard Tesco trip, Chinatown’s many supermarkets are packed with Asian ingredients and items which you can’t find anywhere else in the UK.

Stop by Loon Fung Supermarket, the forefront of Chinatown’s Asian food scene for over 50 years. 

Whilst you’re in the shopping mood, we recommend visiting POP MART for its famous collectible toys and Guanghwa Bookshop for everything from beautiful coffee-table worthy art books to Chinese language learning aids.

Immerse yourself in London’s Chinatown

Try one of Chinatown’s experiential activities. 

Catch a karaoke-style Sing-A-Long-A-Cinema screening at The Prince Charles Cinema, enter gamer-heaven at Razer or step into the wizarding world at House of Spells

Chinatown’s hidden gems

The beauty of Chinatown is the range of unique places to visit – some hidden in plain sight.

Visit Lo’s Noodle Factory on Dansey Place, open since 1978, for authentic noodles, buns and desserts at factory price. Lo’s even supply their Ho Fun and Cheung Fun Noodles to 95% of Chinatown’s restaurants – as well as to the Michelin-starred Hakkasan.

We recommend visiting the Experimental Cocktail Club (ECC). If you can find this 1920s-inspired cocktail bar hidden behind a black door on Gerrard Street, you have to try their experimental signature cocktails that change with the seasons. 

Chinatown tours

Tours are a great way to see the sights of Chinatown. 

Book a spot on a free walking tour through Soho, Piccadilly Circus and Chinatown with Free Tours By Foot (Thursdays at 11am). Or skip straight to Chinatown with Chinatown Stories: The Community-Led Walking Tour (paid experience). Looking for a more immersive experience? Try London’s Chinatown Food Experience or similar tours (paid).

Visiting Chinatown

Chinatown is free to visit. You can wander around the many winding streets within 2-3 hours.

However, you can easily find yourself spending an entire afternoon here – so comfortable shoes are recommended.  Whilst the majority of restaurants open at 12pm and close at 12am, some stay open as late as 4am. To make the most out of your trip, we recommend planning some stops and checking out their opening hours to avoid disappointment.

Getting there

📍 55-57 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0BL

🚇 The closest tube station is Leicester Square (2 minutes walk away).

🚆 The closest train station is Charing Cross (11 minutes walk away).

🚍 The bus routes that stop by the streets of Chinatown are 14, 24, 27, 29, 134, 168 and C2.

Your visit to London’s Chinatown is guaranteed to be filled with incredible experiences and (lots of) delicious food and drinks. Soak in the vibrant district and create memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re a London local, a visitor, or have just moved – this new adventure awaits you. Make sure to explore every corner and embrace the unique and diverse offerings that Chinatown has to offer.

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