Burns Night falls on 25 January every year, marking Robert Burns’ date of birth, which in 2019 (the poet’s 260th birthday) falls on a Saturday.
Burns, variously known as “Rabbie”, the “Bard of Ayrshire” and the “Ploughman Poet”, is Scotland’s best-known poet.
He wrote variously in Scots and dialectic English, and is celebrated around the world.
His best known works include “Auld Lang Syne”, “A Red, Red Rose”, “To a Mouse” (and “To A Louse”) and the longer poem “Tam o’ Shanter”.
The occasion is thought to have first been observed by the Burns Club of Greenock in the Scottish Lowlands in 1802, six years after his death.
They staged their supper on 29 January, which they erroneously thought was his birthday – the following year, parish birth records set the matter straight.
The traditional centrepiece of Burns Night is a Burns supper, which can be as lavish or low-key as desired, but generally involves three crucial elements: haggis, Scotch whisky and (of course) the poetry of the man himself.
Before it can be eaten, guests rise to salute the minced offal with one of the night’s highlights: the reciting of Burns’ Address to a Haggis.
Here are just some of the best places to celebrate the night across the UK:
The Ceilidh Club, London
(Friday 24 and Saturday 25 January, 1 and 2 February; Porchester Town Hall, W2 5HS)
West London’s Ceilidh Club is offering three hours of traditional Scottish dancing, as well as all the haggis, neeps and tatties you can from the buffet bar (a vegan option is available).
If you have never danced before, there’s a caller who will let you know the steps (part of the fun is learning the dances). At halftime, the haggis is piped in and there is the recital of Burns’ poem – the Address to the Haggis.
Entry costs £39, and you can book here.
The Old Contemptibles and Bacchus Bar, Birmingham
(Until Saturday 25 January: The Old Contemptibles and Bacchus Bar)
Birmingham’s two Nicholson’s establishments launched a special Burns Night menu this month, and while Burns Night itself is the last night to try it, that still gives you more than enough time.
You can choose a two or three courses meal featuring dishes such as smoked Scottish salmon, Balmoral chicken, cranachan and haggis, neeps and tatties.
A whisky flight is also available featuring three 25ml tasters of Laphroaid 10 Year Old, Highland Park 12 Year Old, and Auchentoshan American Oak.
Loch Fyne Seafood and Grill , Shrewsbury
(Friday 24 to Saturday 25; Loch Fyne Seafood and Grill)
Shrewsbury’s Loch Fyne Seafood and Grill is once again hosting two nights of Burns Night food, three courses featuring dishes such as cullen skink, queen scallops, loin of venison, and traditional haggis, neeps and tatties.
If that’s not enough. you can also opt in for a Scottish cheese plate with traditional Scottish oatcakes.
Patshull Park Hotel, Golf and Country Club Wolverhampton
At this special gourmet dinner for Burns Night Patshull Park Hotel, Golf and Country Club will host a a Robert Burns reading and toast, after which diners will tuck into a seven course meal with wines and drinks to accompany each.
For the ambience, there will also be a pianist playing traditional Scottish folk music.
The Fox Thorner, Leeds
(Saturday 25th January, The Fox Thorner, Leeds)
This evening full of Scottish traditions includes a live bagpiper and a reading of Burns’ legendary poem, the ‘Address to a Haggis’.
Food wise, you’ll be treated to an authentic plate of haggis, neeps and tatties, with a dram of whiskey to wash it all down with.
Thorpe Park Hotel and Spa, Leeds
(Saturday 25 January, Thorpe Park Hotel and Spa)
If you’re looking for something luxurious this Burns Night, Thorpe Park Hotel and Spa are hosting a black-tie dinner and dance.
Three-courses of the finest Scottish food will be on offer (oak-smoked salmon, slow-braised shin of beef with neeps and tatties).
After digestion, a live ceilidh band will take to the stage to get everyone up on their feet. The meal on its own is £45, or throw in a one-night stay and access to the spa for £79.95.
The Gannet Burns Dinner, Glasgow
(Sunday 26th January; The Gannet, 1155 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8TB)
Enjoy some incredible dishes and a special dram for the Bard. Picture: The Gannet
Join the award-winning team at The Gannet for a six-course celebration dinner, showcasing the skill of Peter McKenna and the team as well as the finest local and seasonal produce.
Poetry, Pipes & Drams will be all part of the evening’s entertainment, with a celebratory menu including the Gannet’s own haggis, piped and addressed accordingly.
The six-course tasting menu costs £55 and includes a special dram to toast the bard.
Nae Ordinary Burns Supper, Aberdeen
(24 January; Macdonald Drumossie Hotel Inverness & 31 January, The Beach Ballroom Aberdeen)
This three course dinner is accompanied by special guest artists including award-winning actors, singers and musicians such as; John Bett and Fiona Kennedy.
After the dinner and entertainment guests can dance the night away at the traditional ceilidh with music from The Jacobites.
There will also be a charity auction on the night, with proceeds going towards VSA, University of Aberdeen Development Trust, Marie Curie, FROM Scotland and Scottish SPCA and Friends of Roxburghe House.
Tickets are from £85 per person are available here.
The Ghillie Dhu Rabbie Burns Experience, Edinburgh
(17-26th January; 2 Rutland St, Edinburgh EH1 2AD)
This spectacular Edinburgh location is set to run a Rabbie Burns experience over two weekends in January.
Guests will be greeted with a dram on arrival before being seated for a Burns supper which includes dishes such as Isle of Arran haggis and traditional raspberry cranachan.
The haggis will be piped in before the traditional toast is recited.
Traditional live folk music will be played throughout the meal with the finale being a ceilidh afterwards.
Tickets are £47.95 and available to book here.