Skip to main content



Chinatown’s colourful history stretches back long before the Chinese community of restaurants and businesses popped up in the 1950s.

Chinatown occupies the small network of pedestrianized streets north of Leicester Square and revolves around the main drag, Gerrard Street. Historically, London’s Chinese community, which totals more than 120, 000 came predominantly from Hong Kong and was concentrated initially in Lime house, in the East End. The current base in Soho  was established in 1960s, though the Chinese Population is know widely dispersed across the city.

In the 18th-19th centuries it was one of London’s hotspots – a haunt for artists, authors and politicos who put the world to rights at the Turk’s Head Inn over many-a boozy tipple. Not just popular with London’s intelligentsia, the area was a magnet for immigrant communities like the French Huguenots. By 1914  Chinese community was burgeoning with new restaurants and shops catering for sailors.

Thought much smaller  than its equivalents in New York City and San Francisco, London’s Chinatown packs a punch. There are restaurants aplenty and a constant buzz that attracts countless locals and visitors.

Today, Chinatown is an intense little precinct marked by ornamental archways and, more often that not, strewn with paper lanterns. The area is packed overwhelmingly with authentic Oriental restaurants and Chinese supermarkets, with bakeries and bubble tea shops, plus herbal medicine, acupuncture and massage centres, filling the gaps.

Experience gallery



At a glance

  • Activity

    Culture, Sightseeing
  • Address

    Gerrard St and around W1, London
  • Underground

    Leicester Sq, Piccadilly Circus.

"Within centuries it was one of London’s hotspots – a haunt for artists & authors"

You may also like