As any Scot worth their tartan will tell you, Burns Night is an integral part of Scottish culture. Celebrated annually on 25 January, it honours their national poet, Robert Burns, who was born on this day in 1759.
Traditional celebrations involve feasting on haggis, a dram of whisky, ceilidh (traditional Scottish dancing) and recitations of the bard’s work.
Joining in the festivities is fun for all, regardless of your heritage, particularly as the Scots know how to put on a party.
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Happily, Burns Night falls on a Friday this year, leaving plenty of time for sore heads to recover.
Those looking to revere Rabbie in the big smoke have plenty of chances to eat, drink and be merry. The Ceilidh Club offers three hours of traditional Scottish dancing, plus a haggis, neeps and tatties buffet (vegan option available). If you’ve never danced before, don’t worry – there’s a caller who’ll talk you through the steps. The event usually sells out, so act fast if you want to be part of the action.
Saturday 19, Friday 25 and Saturday 26 January, 1 and 2 February; entry £37.50.
The Birmingham Whisky Club is a specialist tasting room in the city’s historic Jewellery Quarter. Ahead of Burns Night, the venue will host an evening of open mic poetry and spoken word, with one of the region’s most exciting spoken word performers, Ciarán Hodgers, headlining. Sip a dram or two and get inspired.
Wednesday 23 January, 7pm; pay what you can – all proceeds go to the performers.
Stylish, secret, city-centre bar The Milk Thistle is hosting a Burns Night celebration in conjunction with the Scottish whisky Chivas Regal. Famed for its excellent selection of cocktails, The Milk Thistle will be celebrating with a three-course Scottish meal in the lavish dining room, including a flight of Chivas whiskies, plus a tutored tasting from a whisky expert.
Friday 25 January, 7.30pm; tickets £45.
The Briton’s Protection pub in Manchester is famed for its extensive collection of whiskies, with over 300 to choose from. On Burns Night, dram enthusiasts can gather in the bar’s dedicated whisky lounge to sip a selection in the poet’s honour, mopped up with a half-time supper of haggis, neeps and tatties.
Friday 25 January, 7pm; tickets £32.12 (contact the bar directly to purchase).
Those seeking a traditional Burns experience should head to Glamis Castle. Located in the Angus countryside in east Scotland, this imposing building has a fascinating history spanning 1,000 years. It was the childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and inspired Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Burns Night celebrations begin with the Address to a Haggis in the medieval crypt, followed by a three-course meal with wine and whisky in the regal Victorian dining room.
Friday 25 January, 7pm; tickets £45.
West End art centre Òran Mór will be hosting a traditional Scottish celebration complete with piper, haggis and tatties. Upon arrival, guests will be piped through the Bell Tower entrance and greeted with a warming dram. A three-course meal follows in the grand auditorium, accompanied by musical performances.
Saturday 26 January, 7pm; tickets £45.
As might be expected, Edinburgh is going all out for the 260th anniversary of Rabbie, with a six-day festival dedicated to all things Burns. It kicks off with Museum of the Moon at St Giles’ Cathedral, which includes performances from Roddy Woomble, Rachel Sermanni and the St Giles’ Cathedral Choir. Family events include a free family Ceilidh and a Rabbie Ramble incorporating facts about the man himself. A Burns supper with poetry and a ceilidh, a culture trail and whisky tasting are just some of the other events on offer.
Monday 21-Saturday 26 January; costs vary, check the website for more details.
Top ceilidh band Angels of the North will be keeping guests happy at the Life Science Museum, which plays host to a traditional dinner, accompanied by a dram and plenty of dancing.
Friday 25 January, 7pm; tickets £32.50.
Whisky evangelists The Whisky Lounge are holding a series of whisky tasting events across the UK to celebrate Burns Night. In Liverpool, The Fly in the Loaf pub is hosting an event where guests can enjoy a selection of six handpicked whiskies, accompanied by a feast of haggis, neeps and tatties. Similar events are also on offer in York and Sheffield.
Wednesday 23 January, 7pm; tickets £30.
The Brighton Ceilidh Collective is hosting a “fun, not formal” Burns Night bash, which includes haggis, piper, poems and “wild ceilidh dancing”. Tickets are only available to buy until 15 January, so move quickly if you want to join the fun.
Friday 25 January, 8pm; tickets £20.