Well, January 25th is Burns Night, the day when you can don your tartan and drink all the whisky you want to celebrate the birthday of the poet Robert Burns. A Scottish icon, Burns – affectionately nicknamed Rabbie Burns, the Ploughman Poet and the Bard of Ayrshire – is widely considered the national poet of Scotland.
From traditional ballads to humorous satires to poems expressing life’s universal emotions, the cherished works of this beloved poet and lyricist are still widely recited to this day. Regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement, it’s no surprise that he has become a cultural icon all over the world.
Burns Night itself is designed to celebrate the life and works of the man himself. From tucking into a hearty haggis supper – the ‘great chieftain o’ the puddin’ race’ – to downing drams of Scotch whisky, here’s a rundown of ten ways in which to celebrate the main man himself:
1. Put your dancing shoes on for a traditional Burns Night cèilidh
For the biggest Burns Night celebration in town, you’d best throw on your tartan glad-rags and head to the much-loved Cèilidh Club. You’ll work off that big old buffet of haggis, neeps, and tatties – which you’ll dine on as soon as you arrive – by dancing the night away. Novices will be guided through the steps, so you’ll be weaving, twirling, and hopping like a pro in no time.
Tickets are still available for their events on January 22, 28 and 29, with other non-Burns Night specials on until the end of April. The evening ends with a rousing chorus of Auld Lang Syne, and there are plenty of bars in the Marylebone area for you to continue the party.
2. Tuck into a home-style Burns Night supper in the heart of Camden
For one night only, the founders of Camden Market’s first ever pub – The Farrier – are rustling up a home-style, Burns Night celebration dinner. Expect a three-course, sit-down dinner featuring smoked salmon on tattie scones or leekie soup for starters, followed by traditional haggis, neeps and tatties with all the good stuff on the side.
To finish, you’ll be served a ‘cranacotta’ – a unique combination of creamy panna cotta and the emblematic Scottish cranachan. Drinks on offer throughout the night include the ‘Rob Roy’ – a tasty cocktail made with Johnnie Walker Black Scotch, Vermouth, Angostura Aromatic Bitters and a cherry garnish. Tickets are just £22 – yep, you read that right – and you can get your hands on them here.
3. Make it a Burns Night to remember with an Islay pub takeover
Looking for a good ol’ knees up to celebrate Burns Night and the end of Dry January? Look no further than the top floor of London’s iconic whisky bar, Black Rock, which has been transformed into a traditional Islay pub this winter.
To mark the occasion, they’re pulling out all the stops and serving a limited edition ‘Scottish Whisky Sour Barrel-Aged Beer’ – a cutting-edge bevvie born out of a collaboration with Vault City, B Corp Brewgooders and the Bruichladdich Distillery on the isle of Islay. Barrel-aged for a whopping nine months to infuse it with the taste of Bruichladdich’s signature malt, you’ll find yourself transported to the Inner Hebrides as soon as you start sipping it.
Plus, with every litre sold, Bruichladdich will fund a thousand litres of clean water to local communities through Brewgooder’s ‘Billion Pint Pledge’. Best get a litre or more then… You can find out more here.
4. Celebrate with a few drams and some dancing at London’s oldest whisky merchant
Speaking of Bruichladdich, they’ve also partnered with Milroy’s – London’s original whisky specialist – to help organise two special events for Burns Night 2022. The first of which is in ‘The Dram House’, a private members-only club based in Spitalfields.
For just £75 per person, you’ll get a traditional three-course meal, three drams of whisky and optional cigars on the elegant Port Charlotte Terrace – fancy hey!? The second event will be a slightly more active affair, with a foot-stomping Islay cèilidh, bagpipes, bar games, optional food and drinks and a chance to win some of Bruichladdich’s rare malts. It’ll cost just £10, and will take place at Milroy’s of Spitalfields on Burns Night itself.
5. Indulge in a five-course dinner at the beautiful Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings
This Burns Night, the folks over at the Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings are pulling out all the stops with a sophisticated night of banqueting, Scotch whisky cocktails and cèilidh dancing. You’ll start the night off with a whisky cocktail reception in the building’s iconic cocktail bar, which will be accompanied by a traditional Burns Night piper.
You can then opt to indulge in a five-course dinner where, after the Selkirk Grace, you’ll be treated to traditional Scottish dishes such as Cullen Skink soup, haggis, neeps ’n’ tatties and even a deep-fried Mars bar. Each course also has the option to be paired with a delicious dram of Scotch or a cocktail.
Then, post-dinner, it’s time to party – expect cèilidh dancing, live music, Auld Lang Syne and a hell of a good time. So, don your tartan garb and get yourself over to Clerkenwell! Find out more here.
6. Get your cheese and haggis on at La Fromagerie in Marylebone
The much-loved and award-winning cheese shop La Fromagerie are going all out for Burns Night this year, with a family-style celebration and a special Scottish feast in their Marylebone store. The five-course menu includes whisky-infused prunes, smoked salmon with rich Caboc cheese and either haggis or a ballotine of chicken and haggis with neeps and tatties, which will be piped in by a classic rendition of ‘Ode to a Haggis’ on the bagpipes.
This being a cheese shop, you’ll also be treated to a cheese plate with oatcakes (what else?) and wine pairings. If you’d rather not leave your house – and who can blame you due to this Baltic weather – you can opt for a ‘menu kit’ which can be delivered right to your front door. Sounds pretty good to us! Find out more here.
7. Wine and dine with a night-in for two courtesy of Bruichladdich
Speaking of staying at home, if you’d rather celebrate the life and soul of Robert Burns from the comfort of your sofa, then the Bruichladdich Distillery has got you covered. To celebrate Burns Night, they’ve collaborated with multi-award-winning butchers Farmison & Co to bring you an intimate supper box for two.
Inside you’ll find rich, artisan-crafted haggis, a wee dram of whisky and lashings of smooth Port Charlotte Whisky sauce. Stock up on some tatties and neeps and you’re pretty much sorted. Date night anyone? You can get them ordered here.
8. Enjoy a Scottish–themed dinner at Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill
If staying in isn’t your bag this year and you’ve reached the end of your ‘January cocoon’ tether, then why not celebrate Burns Night with a dinner at the classic seafood restaurant Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill?
This year, they’re offering a four-course menu for a price of £105 person, which includes fresh Orkney scallops with black pudding and celeriac, venison with haggis and spring greens and a traditional Highland flummery for pudding. Of course, this being Burns Night, the creamy jelly will be infused with whisky – we’ll cheers to that! Find out more here.
9. Combine the flavours of Scotland and India at Brigadiers
On January 25, Indian barbecue restaurant and sports bar Brigadiers will be adding an Indian twist to Burns Night. For one night only, they have fused together traditional Scottish ingredients with Indian flavours to create an exclusive menu for just £65 per person, with dishes including haggis nargisi, Highlands venison biryani and neeps korma to name but a few.
Plus, if that wasn’t enough, they’re also offering a whisky pairing option, which features an impressive whisky flight with two Scottish’s whiskies and two Indian whiskies for an additional £15. Now if that doesn’t whet your whistle, we don’t know what will!
10. Laugh to your heart’s content with stand-up in the Sea Containers
Burns Night is all about celebrating, and what better way to celebrate than by having a laugh? The perfect antidote to combating those January blues, the ‘Comedy on the Rooftop’ event at the Sea Containers London sees stand-up comedians Darren Harriott, Sarah Keyworth, Nabil Abdulrashid and Cally Beaton take to the floor and give you an evening of all the lols.
Based in the rooftop bar 12th Knot, expect an evening of hilarity and a tipple or two overlooking the glorious London skyline – what better way to celebrate Burns Night than that we say? You can discover more about it here.