January 25 is Burns Night, the day night 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.
Burns Night itself is designed to commemorate 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 21 ways to celebrate the main man himself.
1. Go all out with your celebrations 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, whisky cocktails, and cèilidh dancing. A whisky cocktail reception welcomes visitors in the building’s iconic cocktail bar, before a five-course dinner where each dish is paired with a delicious dram of Scotch or a special cocktail. 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!
For the full experience, you can even start the celebrations early with an hour-long Burns Night whisky tasting. Drink your way through a flight of four Scotch whiskies accompanied by the fascinating history of each dram. You’ll get to learn where and how they were made as you’re walked through the tasting notes for the incredible variety of flavours in the hallowed spirit.
2. Put your dancing shoes on for a traditional Burns Night cèilidh
For a properly authentic experience, you’ll want to 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.
3. Or head to Walthamstow for a beer-fuelled knees-up
The Blackhorse Beer Mile’s Big Penny Social (formally Truman’s Social Club) is keeping the cèilidh action going for two nights with the help of spirited Scottish dance band the Sassenachs. It’s sure to be a night to remember as the 35,000 square foot venue is filled to the brim with flowing beer, wee drams o’ whisky, and plenty of cheer. Be sure to secure your booking for the January 26 event, as January 25’s knees-up has already sold out!
4. 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. This being a cheese shop, you’ll also be treated to a Scottish cheese plate with oatcakes (what else?), and wine and whisky pairings.
5. Nosh on a haggis toastie
Deeney’s is a proper mainstay of London’s street food scene, commanding imposing lines wherever they land – which is usually on a Saturday at Broadway Market. And if you’re wanting to celebrate Burns Day by devouring some haggis, with a twist, they’ve got plenty of downright dirty toasties for you to choose from. You can also grab them throughout the week from their Leyton café, or their location at William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow.
6. Celebrate at London’s unofficial Scottish bar (January 21)
Exale Brewery styles their Walthamstow taproom as being London’s unofficial Scottish bar, and they’ve got the scran to back up that claim! With super-fresh, hyper-local beer on tap (brewed steps from where you sit), and delicious Scottish produce from the Auld Hag kitchen residency, they’re also promising a raucous party to commemorate the night of Burns. Expect special cocktails, ‘Buckie bombs’ (buckfast tonic shots dropped into beers), and first pours of an all-new imperial iron brew sour GIRDERS. Oh, and a Rod Stewart tribute act, just for good measure.
7. Try out Auld Hag’s Scottish fusion collaboration dish
Auld Hag isn’t content to just celebrate Burns Night in one place. They’re also launching a special collaboration dish that fuses their Scottish ingredients with one of central London’s most popular Indian restaurants, Tandoor Chop House. Head down to the Tandoor Chop House throughout January to try out the Haggis Keema Naan. That’s a haggis stuffed naan topped with mustard pickled swede, parsnip butter and (unconventionally paired with haggis), peas and mint. Mad? Definitely. Tasty? You’ll have to find out for yourself!
8. Combine the flavours of Scotland and India at Brigadiers
On January 25, Indian barbecue restaurant and sports bar Brigadiers will also be adding an Indian twist to Burns Night. For one night only, they have fused together Scottish inspired dishes with Brigadiers classics to create an exclusive menu with dishes like Saunfia Scottish Salmon Tikka, Original BBQ Butter Chicken Wings , and Shahi Highlands Venison Biryani Feast. You can also get your hands on a Johnnie Walker whisky tasting flight for an additional £15. Now if that doesn’t whet your whistle, we don’t know what will!
9. Dine on a Scottish themed supper fit for Bruce Wayne himself
Yes, as in the Bruce Wayne that is Batman’s alter-ego. Did you know that he can trace his lineage to his ancestral home of Castle Wayne located in the town of Inishtree, Scotland? So it’s fitting that London’s DC-themed restaurant (but in, like, a sophisticated adult way, not in a ‘comic-books-wallpapering-the-dining-room’ way), Park Row, is mashing up the comic book universe and Scottish tradition. As part of the Castle Wayne Burns Supper they’ll also have pours available from a rare and exclusive bottling of Inishtree whisky – of which only 25 bottles are left – from the now-closed Imperial distillery. The meal will also be accompanied by prestige Glenfiddich pairings.
10. Try out an all-new dram for the occasion
There’s no better time to try out a new whisky release than the most whisky-y of nights. And Glenmorangie’s latest release is just the dram for celebrating Burns Night. Notes of pine, juniper, and wood smoke make A Tale of the Forest the perfect complement to a cosy night of poem-reciting and haggis-devouring (or polite chewing).
11. Or try out a new whisky brand entirely!
Coachbuilt Whisky launched in 2022, the result of a collaboration between renowned whisky expert George Koutsakis and Formula 1 Champion Jenson Button. The whisky is hyper-experimental, blending all five of the iconic whisky-producing regions of Scotland: Islay, Speyside, Campbeltown, Highlands and Lowlands. The combination of each region’s distinctive character makes for a super-characterful whisky, further balanced by time spent aging in premium sherry casks. It’s a proper conversation starter of a whisky, perfect for Burns Night revelry!
12. Celebrate by the riverside
Head on down to Sam’s Riverside for a three-course Scottish extravaganza. It all kicks off with canapes (so, that makes four or even five courses if you can nab enough of them!) before guests settle in for a night of delectable food and plenty of bagpipe-ry. A special cocktail will also be available on the night, the Highland Laddie, with a mix of Badachro Highland Gin, Pomegranate Liqueur, Hibiscus Grenadine, and Lavender Bitters. Perfect for the whisky averse since almost everyone else is focusing on that spirit for the night!
13. Dive on in to the whisky experience
Want the ultimate whisky experience for the whisky-fuelled night? Then Glenfiddich’s collaborative terrace with Rosewood London, the Glenfiddich Time:Capsule, is the place to be. They’ll be hosting a Burns Night celebration with Scottish-themed dishes, whisky tastings with Glenfiddich ambassador Alex Walker, and poetry recitals.
14. Party the house down for the occasion
Sometimes you just need to take advantage of any event, and let your hair down and go a little wild. Well, The Little Orange Door in Clapham and sister venue The Little Blue Door in Fulham have you sorted. Both venues are throwing special Burns Night parties, with a three course Scottish-themed supper club and tableside entertainment, followed by the ultimate house party, Little Door & C0-style. The two venues will be hosting Burn Nights festivities on January 26 and 27, respectively. Perfect if you can’t make the Wednesday celebrations and have a terrible case of FOMO!
15. Tuck into a home-style Burns Night supper in the heart of Camden
For one night only, Camden’s The Farrier are rustling up a home-style, Burns Night celebration dinner. Expect a four-course supper featuring dishes ranging from Cullen Skink Soup to Haggis Croquettes and even Salted Caramel Bread And Butter Pudding served with Whisky Custard. Tickets are just £30, so be sure to make your booking so you don’t miss out!
16. Follow the whisky around the city
Aberfeldy isn’t stopping at just hosting one event for Burns Night. Instead they’re partnering with a bunch of venues around London for a week-long Burns Night celebration. They’ll also be taking the chance to highlight the newest edition to their Red Wine Cask Collection, the Aberfeldy 15 Year Old finished in Cabernet Sauvignon wine casks from the Napa Valley. From January 23-29 they’ll be hosting nights of Scottish feasting, whisky tasting, and cocktail drinking. Check out one of the events at the following venues:
🥃 Sun Tavern will host a night of music, bespoke Aberfeldy whisky cocktails, and complementary haggis-bites from Broadway Market stalwarts, Deeney’s. (January 25)
🍸 Boisdale Belgravia and Boisdale Canary Wharf are both hosting multiple nights of live music, Scottish scran, and plenty of celebration from January 23-28.
🍽️ The Berkeley’s exclusive pub pop-up, The Bishop, will be hosting a supper club, co-hosted by Aberfeldy. Expect top-notch food and drams for one night only on January 25.
17. Tuck in to a five-course feast at a Fitzrovia pub
At The Arber Garden, a monthly supper club explores a different occasion, theme, or cuisine each month, and for January’s they’re doing – what else? Burns night, of course. On January 25, they’ll be serving up a five-course menu paired with some very special whiskies from East London Liquor Company. Expect traditional dishes, like the requisite haggis, alongside contemporary fare, such as Irn-Bru sorbet and Arbroath Smokie Velouté as well as 6 year-old unreleased whisky casks. Be sure to book your spot, as this may be your only chance to try some of these drams!
18. Mix things up with Monkey Shoulder
Monkey Shoulder will be landing at East London cocktail bar and liquor store, TT Liquor, for a FREE Burns Night event. It’s set to be a night of dancing, delicious whisky cocktails, and Scottish-inspired street food with a twist. DJs will keep the vibes going, and the Monkey Shoulder and TT Liquor teams will be keeping everyone in merry good spirits. Head down from 6:30pm onwards on January 25 to join in the fun.
19. Sip on scotch from other shores
Knightsbridge’s luxury Japanese restaurant and late night Izakaya, The Aubrey, is celebrating Burns Night with a showcase of both Scottish and Japanese whisky. A special drinks menu of Burns Night specials will be available from January 25, through to the end of January. The special meny will allow guests to compare and contrast the whiskies from the two countries, across multiple distilleries. Head to the Mandarin Oriental website to learn more.
20. Transport yourself with opulence
A one-off traditional Scottish menu, with warming whisky, live bagpipe performances, and poetry, from Michelin-starred chefs? Count us in. Okay, so they (probably) won’t be doing the bagpiping, but they will most certainly be offering up some meomorable food in the decadent 100-cover dining room of the Kimpton Fitzroy London Hotel at the Galvin Bar & Grill. Expect Scottish delicacies made with the finest seasonal produce, a choice of whiskies highlighting all the Scotland has to offer.
21. Grab a Burns-inspired Fish and Chips
London fish and chip shop, Sutton and Sons, has partnered up with Old Pulteney Whisky to offer Londoners a very special chippy-turned-Burns Supper to celebrate Burns Night. At their Stoke Newington restaurant, they’ll be serving their fish and chips with haggis bon bons and a dram Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky to wash it all down. Grab the limited edition meal from January 25 until stocks last. Which will be around half an hour after it starts, depending on how long it takes me to get there!