Essential Information

Type Events and festivals
National Maritime Museum
Date and Times Saturday 3 February 2024 | 10am-5pm
Prices Free

Welcome in the new year with a day of celebration, performances and activities at the National Maritime Museum!

Take part in family-friendly workshops, discover museum objects connected with south east Asia and enjoy fantastic live performances.

Pre-bookable tickets for Lunar New Year are now sold out. Visitors can still arrive on the day but please be aware that the event is likely to be extremely busy and we cannot guarantee entry.

Ticketholders should check the visitor guide for information about how to access performances, talks and activities.



11am, 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm | Great Map

Head to the Great Map to celebrate the year of the Dragon with a range of incredible performances from local groups.

This year's performances include a Taiwanese ribbon dance, Korean harp, a martial arts demonstration and - of course - the magnificent lion dance!

Details: The Great Map has limited capacity, so wristbands for each performance will be handed out on the day to ensure as many people as possible can attend a show. Spectators will be asked to sit on the floor; for those unable to do this, an accessible viewing area will be provided. All visitors will be required to leave the Great Map before the next performance begins.


Workshops and family fun

Lunar Fans workshop

10am-5pm | Drop-in | Learning Space

Inspired by the lunar festival, create and decorate fans to look like the Moon. 

Suitable for all ages and abilities. Please be patient as places are limited.

Magnificent Dragons workshop

10am-5pm | Drop-in | Rethink Space

Create your own magnificent dragon to celebrate the new year.

Suitable for all ages and abilities. Please be patient as places are limited.


Meet James Robson

10.30am, 12.30pm and 3pm | Meet at the north end of the Traders Gallery

Meet James Robson, a Chinese sailor who served on the fastest and greatest of the tea clippers, Cutty Sark. Find out about the struggles of the tea trade between Britain and China on your journey, and the impact of the 19th-century Opium Wars on both countries.

Hmong hat making workshop

10am-5pm | Group Space

Join artist Chery Nguyen for a Hmong hat making workshop and learn more about the vibrant visual culture of the Hmong peoples of Laos, Vietnam and China.

Paper folding

10am-5pm | Special Exhibitions Gallery foyer

Join artist Ha Nguyen to create lucky creatures using paper folding techniques. 


Learn to play mahjong

11am-2pm | By the figureheads

Join Newham Chinese Association to learn how to play mahjong.

Suitable for ages 6+. Please be patient as places are limited.

Lunar New Year storytelling

10.30am, 11.30am and 1.45pm | Lecture Theatre

Join storyteller Tony Tang for a special story all about the New Year!



The Tea Ceremony

12.30pm | Lecture Theatre

Join Chew-Yeen to learn about the Chinese tea ceremony.

Suitable for all ages and abilities. Capacity is limited and entry will be on a first come, first served basis. The Lecture Theatre is a dark space and accessed via steps or a lift.

Asian Slaw Alliance

2.40pm | Lecture Theatre

Jenny Lau invites Asian food lovers to reclaim and reimagine the ‘Asian’ in ‘Asian slaw’ according to their heritage and memories in this conversation with Art Director Chris O'Leary. Asian Slaw Alliance is a creative, trope-busting, food storytelling project by Lau, founder of food platform Celestial Peach. Chris O'Leary is founder of FatBoy Zine, a publishing project that combines visual arts with writing and delicious Asian recipes.

Suitable for all ages and abilities. Capacity is limited and entry will be on a first come, first served basis. The Lecture Theatre is a dark space and accessed via steps or a lift.


Lunar New Year - its symbols and significance

4pm | Lecture Theatre

The Year of the Dragon is seen by many in east and south-east Asia as being particularly auspicious, when the birth of a baby is planned, a new venture set up, or a major trip undertaken. Why is the zodiac so important and what does each sign represent? In this talk by Peng Wenlan of The Meridian Society, learn about the symbols and traditions related to the Lunar New Year and why they remain so significant to this day.

Curious Collections with East Asian Connections

11.30am-12.30pm and 2-3pm | Meet at the North end of the Traders Gallery

Join us for a free gallery tour in search of objects with East Asian connections. This bespoke tour will cover fascinating subjects including cherry blossom, a royal visit to Australia and a famous Chinese performer who settled in Britain.

Led by curator Dr Aaron Jaffer, it will also feature special guest speaker Dr Song-Chuan Chen, who will explore the lives of ordinary Chinese and British people caught up in major historical events during the 1800s.



Objects in Focus

10am-5pm | Sammy Ofer Wing

Have you ever wanted to reach out and touch the moon? Or wondered what astronauts saw at the first lunar landing? Visit Royal Museums Greenwich curators at the Objects in Focus table to learn about lunar landscapes, moon phases, and the use of the moon by navigators throughout time. See and touch an exciting array of objects, from lunar globes and navigational instruments to real lunar meteorites! 

Korean Calligraphy 

10am-12pm and 2-4pm | Propeller Space | Drop-in

Join artists Kil Chan Lee and Tae Young Lee to discover Korean calligraphy and how your name would be spelled in this traditional form of artistic expression.

Chinese Opera show and tell

10.30am-5pm | Propeller Space | Drop-in

Meet an imperial figure from the Tang dynasty! Opera singer Coco Shi (pictured) will be in character throughout the day, performing a role from the classic Peking Opera Guifei Zuijiu, giving visitors to her stall the chance to meet a real performer and understand how elaborate costumes, make-up and gestures are used to bring this character to life.

Chinese Instruments in Focus

1.30-3.30pm | Propeller Space | Drop-in

Find out more about traditional Chinese instruments the pipa and ruan and learn how they are played and used.


Chinese Astronomy planetarium show

10.30am | Peter Harrison Planetarium at the Royal Observatory

Make your way up the hill to see our live planetarium show exploring Chinese astronomy. A Royal Observatory astronomer will guide you through topics in ancient and modern Chinese astronomy, including the Sun, Moon, stars and space exploration.

If you can't make it on 3 February, there are plenty more dates throughout the year you can catch this show. Bookings required.

Learn more and book now

Plan your visit

Do I need to book in advance?

Pre-bookable tickets for Lunar New Year are now sold out. Visitors can choose to come along on the day, but please be aware that the event is likely to be extremely busy and we cannot guarantee entry.

Tickets do not guarantee access to performances, talks and activities. These will operate on a first come, first served basis. Wristbands for performances on the Great Map and storytelling sessions in the Lecture Theatre will be handed out on the day to manage capacity and ensure as many people as possible can attend.

We highly recommend booking the Chinese Astronomy planetarium show online in advance as capacity is limited and slots can sell out. To find out more about all our current shows click here.

Getting here and getting around

The National Maritime Museum is a quick, easy journey from central London, and right in the heart of historic Greenwich. Check this page for more information about arriving by public transport or by car.

Find out more about planning your visit to the National Maritime Museum here, and download a free map to help guide you round the Museum when you arrive.

The Royal Observatory is a short walk away up the hill in Greenwich Park. You can find a map showing all Royal Museums Greenwich sites here.

How busy will the event be?

Lunar New Year at the National Maritime Museum is a busy, vibrant event featuring live music and performances. Capacities for all activities will be managed to ensure that visitors can make the most of what's on offer, so please be prepared to queue and be courteous to other visitors and staff.

If you struggle with loud noises then a limited number of ear defenders are available to borrow from our welcome desks. Staff can also direct you to quieter areas within the museum.

For more information, check out the visitor guide.


Visitors will be asked to sit on the floor to watch the performances on the Great Map. An accessible viewing area is available for visitors who are unable to sit on the floor or stand for long periods of time. You will still need to get a wristband for the performance to access this area.

Detailed information for anyone who appreciates some extra preparation before visiting is available in the National Maritime Museum's access statement.

A visual guide is also available, providing pictures and descriptions of the various areas in the Museum.

Find general information about facilities at the National Maritime Museum here including cloakrooms, baby change and accessibility, and information for disabled visitors coming to any of our sites.

Visit the National Maritime Museum

Discover epic stories of exploration and endeavour that have shaped our world today