Who is Robert Burns?
Born in Ayrshire in 1759, Robert Burns is Scotland's national bard. Affectionately known as 'the Ploughman Poet', his verses stand as a fitting testament to Scotland's proud literary history.
Scotland celebrate the life and work of Robert Burns on the 25th January, which is marked as the anniversary of Robert Burns’ death. A traditional Burns supper began when family and friends had a yearly memorial meal to commemorate their lost companion. Burns was a poet and lyricist who is now known as a national poet of Scotland. As a pioneer of romantic poetry, Burns is well regarded not only in Scotland but worldwide.
This yearly celebration is an institution of Scottish life and can be celebrated either as an informal gathering or as a formal dinner party, with all the traditional elements of the night adhered to down to the minutest details!
So, whether you are staying in this year or you are desperate to get out, the Iggy & Burt team have you covered:
How to Celebrate
Reading Burns poems and singing is a must. A traditional Burns Night begins with a welcome from the host which is followed by reciting the Selkirh Grace. The poem is in Lowland Scots Dialect and marks the beginning of the Burns supper:
During the recital, the dinner is presented to the guests. Then the entertainment starts. Usually guests recite the songs and poetry of Robert Burns with favourites being ‘My Luve is Like a Red Red Rose’ or the narrative poem, ‘Tam O’ Shanter.’ From here, the night turns to the Immortal Memory, which is a tribute to Burns’ nationalism, politics, talent and heritage.
The night usually ends with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, which was written by Burns in 1788 and is now a part of our New Year’s traditions. We love Burns Night because you can follow as much or as little of the traditional supper as you like and however you celebrate, it’s a wonderful opportunity to create your own traditions with your family and friends.
What to Eat
A must is haggis.
There are many variations on the traditional haggis depending on your preference. You can forgo the sheep offal filling…
Traditionally, it tastes like a crumbly sausage, with a coarse oaty texture and a warm peppery flavour. It is most commonly served with tatties (mashed potatoes) or neeps (mashed turnips).
‘To a Haggis’ is a poem by Burns which is recited as a toast to the haggis. After this, it’s time to get stuck into a hearty meal!
What to Drink
A Burns Night tradition is to toast the haggis with a glass of whisky.
What to Wear
La Fromagerie Menu Kit
La Fromagerie is offering a Burns Night menu kit for home delivery, allowing you to prepare your Burns Night feast yourself with very little fuss.
It includes cock-a-leekie soup with whisky-laced prunes, whisky-cured salmon & Caboc (a Scottish cheese), haggis, neeps & tatties, Scottish cheese plate & oatcake, and Typsy Laird (a Scottish trifle).
All in a Box
All In a Box can deliver straight to your door, a special Burns Night Box. Teaming up with Dewar’s whisky for a boozy twist.
If you don’t feel like hosting, there are also some brilliant events you can attend around the country to celebrate the night. If you are local to us, we have a shortlist of what is happening in the capital this year.
Fortum & Mason Burns Night
Tuesday 25th January, 7pm – 10pm
Burns Night is one of Fortnum and Mason’s favourite evenings, where they serve a four course meal, complete with wines and whiskies from Lindores Abbey.
Tickets £90 per person
Book ahead to tuck in and enjoy the special Burns Night Menu with, of course plenty of Whisky and Scottish bagpipes to address the haggis.
Burns Night Caberet Show & Supper in London’s West End
Celebrate with the Phoenix Arts Club, featuring performance from Scotland’s very best caberet performers and a three course traditional Scottish supper served throughout the night. With the option of a vegan menu.
Tuesday 25th January
£45- £60 per ticket
7pm till late
St Mary’s Marylebone
21, 22, 28 and 29th January
£43 per person
Spread across two weekends, a traditional Scottish fare is served up and because this is London, a vegan and vegetarian option is available.
East Dulwich Tavern, Burns Night: Premium Whisky Tasting
Tuesday 25th January, 7.30pm – 9pm
Bourne & Hollingsworth Burns Night Banquet
Tuesday 25th January, £90 per Ticket
Enjoy a night of whisky cocktails, ceilidh dancing and banqueting on Bourne & Hollingsworth Clerkenwell townhouse. With a five course meal, Auld Lang Syne and a beautiful setting you are in for a great night.