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WHERE TO CELEBRATE CHINESE NEW YEAR IN THE UK

Dinah Hatch

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Now that New Year celebrations are becoming a distant memory and you've shaken the weariness of post-Christmas excesses, it's time to start all over again. Yes, Chinese New Year is upon us again so take a look at our round-up of what's going on where to mark the Year of the Ram and suggestions of where to stay….
Hotel du Vin - Bristol

Bristol: If something a little bit more sedate is what you're after, then celebrate the new year Chinese style at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery on February 21 where staff have organised paper folding lessons, Chinese calligraphy classes, a special Chinese-themed tea and even laid on a Chinese lion. All this is free and a wonderful chance to introduce young children to this ancient culture. Meanwhile at Eastgate Oriental City at the Wai Yee Hong, the new year demons will be scared off with the lighting of an oriental firecracker followed by a Yi Quin lion dance troupe performing their martial arts skills. Stay: Hotel du Vin. Set in a restored sugar house, the hotel's 40 rooms have loads of great original features with exposed brick walls and double-height loft suites. It's luxury all the way here, with handsprung mattresses, Egyptian linens, roll top baths, drench showers, plasma TVs and air conditioning as standard. Don't forget to visit the bistro, a dazzle of primrose yellow walls and Parisian-style café tables. Super.

The Queens

Leeds: On February 19, anticipate family craft activities and scrumptious food as the city of Leeds marks the Chinese New Year. In fact there is a huge line up of events to mark the day including interactive talks about the subject and the handling of ancient ceramics. Pop over to Leeds City Museum, where (and who woulda thunk it?) there is an Asian collection of more than 6000 items to peruse. They've laid on a great study day, led by Antonia Lovelace, which will introduce you to the range of artefacts there and talk you through the traditions of the Chinese New Year. Tickets, including lunch, cost £10. Stay: Ooh, do try The Queen's which overlooks the City Square and can be accessed direct from the station. This is the grand dame of Leeds hotels and you'll be treated like visiting royalty. This place is all art deco, glamour (think brass trims and scarlet fabrics) and ultra-helpful staff – ask for a QClub room, which have been lavishly refurbished and well worth the extra few pounds.

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