Travel to celebrate Chinese New Year with South Western Railway

Chinese New Year

The best places on the South Western Railway network to celebrate the Year of the Rat

Kickstart the new decade by celebrating the Year of the Rat for Chinese New Year. The Rat is the first of the zodiac signs and symbolises a year of new beginnings and wealth. With celebrations across the network, we’ve put together a list of our favourites to visit. You can save money too by looking at our top tips to get cheap train tickets.


Our nearest station: London Waterloo (take the Bakerloo line to Charing Cross or Piccadilly Circus or the Northern line to Leicester Square

The most spectacular in the UK and largest outside of Asia, get a train to London and explore all the glorious sights, sounds and smells of the festivities across the West End. There’s something for everyone with family-friendly entertainment in Leicester Square, foodie heaven in Chinatown and live performances and much more hosted in Trafalgar Square. If Chinese New Year 2019 is anything to go by, expect parades, martial arts performances, calligraphy lessons, lion dances, traditional puppet shows and street food. Keep up to date.


Our nearest station: Exeter Central

University of Exeter’s Chinese New Year celebrations on 2 February aren’t just for students, so book your train to Exeter and have a great day out with the family.

Starting in the city centre, watch a parade of dragon and lion traditional dancing through the Cathedral Green and on to the Royal Albert Museum. Then it’s a short walk to see the celebrations continue at the University of Exeter campus with activities, displays, crafts, food and performances before the evening crowns the day with fireworks lighting up the sky.

Don’t miss out on the free trail at the Royal Albert Museum that takes you through the stories of all the Chinese objects on display from a dragon pennant take in battle to a fortune-telling compass.


Our nearest station: Southampton Central

Jump on a train to Southampton and join the south coast’s largest Chinese New Year celebration.

On Saturday 25 January, festivities take over the Guildhall Square with a free exhibition about Chinese New Year, interactive workshops to try ancient Chinese exercises such as Tai Chi and many other stalls to explore. UK Shaolin Temple headline the event in the event with their CNY 2020 stage show at the O2 Guildhall Southampton. Watch their incredible collection of acts including lion and dragon dancing troupes, Chinese circus performers and martial arts performances to name a few!

Saturday 8 February marks the closing of the celebrations with the Chinese Lantern Parade in the city centre. Starting at the Bargate, see a parade of stunning colourful Chinese lanterns accompany the luminous dragon as they work their way through the High Street down to Guildhall Square. End the evening watching lion and dragon dances while eating delicious dumplings in soup.

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