Chinatown Gate

The West End

Northwest of Leicester Sq but a world away in atmosphere, this grand tile-roofed and red-pillared gate marks the entrance into Chinatown. Although not as big as Chinatowns in other world-class cities – it's just Lisle and Gerrard Sts, really – London's version is a lively quarter with street signs in Chinese script, red lanterns strung up across the streets bobbing in the breeze, and restaurants, noodle shops and Asian supermarkets crammed in cheek by jowl.

The quality of food varies enormously, but there's a good choice of places for dim sum and other cuisines from across China and other parts of Asia.

There's a smaller, more 'Westernised' gate at the junction of Gerrard St and Newport Pl. To see the area at its effervescent best, time your visit for Lunar New Year in late January or early February. London’s original Chinatown was at Limehouse in the East End but moved here after heavy bombardments in WWII.

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