Best places to go for Burns Night
Robert Burns is Scotland’s much-loved national bard, and what better way to spend Burns Night on 25 January than by attending a traditional Burns supper, complete with haggis, whisky, dancing and a rousing performance of his famous poetry.
If you can, head north for an authentic Scottish Burns Night experience: the scots go all- out to pay tribute to their ‘favourite son’. But don’t worry if you can’t make it that far: there are plenty Burns Night suppers in England worth attending. Dig out your finest tartan togs, polish your sporran, practice your most dramatic reading of Tam o’ Shanter and read our guide to the best Burns Night suppers in preparation…
1. Dumfries: a Burns Night extravaganza
Dumfries, Robert Burns’ final resting place, is hosting a three-day festival to commemorate Burns’ life. The Big Burns Supper is a large-scale celebration across the whole town and features a 1920s style Spiegeltent, dancing, music, art, poetry, theatre and all the haggis you could hope to eat.
Don’t miss: If you’re thirsty, follow in Burns’ steps by having a wee dram at the Globe Inn, one of his favourite haunts and the place where the first ever Burns Supper was held in his honour in 1819. The very seat Burns sat in, along with other fascinating period details, still survive.
Get there: Get a train direct to Dumfries with First ScotRail and follow the signs to the town centre where you’ll find the Globe Inn opposite Marks & Spencer and Robert Burns themed events around every corner.
A visit to Ayrshire (Burns’ birthplace) and its rolling hills and charming towns will make you understand what brought out Burns’ romantic side.
And where to take supper? The Burns Supper at the Studio Theatre promises to be a ‘barn-storming’ affair, complete with songs and readings of Burn’s work by professionals as well as the compulsory haggis and all the trimmings.
Never really ‘got’ Burns’ work? This talented and passionate group of performers will do his poetry justice and get you blushing at his saucy songs, laughing at his cheeky sense of humour and welling up at his most emotive poems.
Get there: Get the train to any one of Ayrshire’s train stations, including: Ayr, Prestwick, Prestwick Airport and Kilmarnock
Glasgow gets into the spirit of things on 25 January, and the Òran Mór Burns Night is the hottest ticket in town. You’ll be treated to a dram of whisky to warm you up, a slap-up meal and an evening of entertainment from the Sirens of Titan Choir, Sandy Nelson and Susan Nisbet.
The most special and moving part of Òran Mór’s Burns Night is always the Immortal Memory, a very personal speech about why Burns’ poetry is so timeless and a reflection on his principles.
For the discerning foodies: If you groan at the thought of watery neeps and tatties and aren’t keen on haggis, popular West End eatery the Ubiquitous Chip’s twist on the Burns Supper should please. Their menu includes roast pheasant with Hendricks gravy, oatmeal ice cream and the intriguing-sounding stag’s heid broth.
Get there: Take a train to Glasgow arriving at either Central or Queen Street Station and either take a taxi to the West End or hop on the subway at nearby Buchanan Street and – after a five minute subway ride – get off at Hillhead subway station. Both Oran Mor and the Ubiquitous Chip are just a short walk away.
Hop on a train to Edinburgh,Scotland’s charming capital, and make a beeline for the National Museum of Scotland to take part in a mass recital of Burns’ famous poem: To a Mouse. Start practicing now!
For a traditional Burns Supper meal, the Whiski Rooms promises a magical night with all the components of a good Burns Supper: haggis, neeps and tatties, cranachan (a traditional Scottish dessert made with oats, cream and whisky) and a delectable selection of Scottish whiskies (their whisky shop stocks over 500 different whiskies to please every palate).
When you’re not listening to the sound of bagpipes, you’ll hear speeches and recitals of Burns’ most famous poems. If you’re looking for an enchanting, traditional (and whisky-soaked) evening, this is the place to go.
Get there: Jump on a train to Edinburgh Waverley to get to the heart of the city centre near the National Museum of Scotland and the Whiski Rooms on North Bank Street (just round the corner from the Royal Mile).
5. Outside Scotland
If you can’t get to Scotland, there are lots of festivities in England to help you get your annual haggis and whisky fix.
• Cadbury House in Bristol is hosting a Burns Night Supper which will see their haggis ceremoniously brought out accompanied by bagpipers before being ‘addressed’ and cut
• The Ceilidh Club’s Burns Night ceilidhs in London will have everyone off their seats and dancing to traditional Scottish favourites like the Gay Gordons and Strip the Willow
• Burns was fond of his whisky, and would approve of the whisky masterclass being given by Vinopolis in the capital
Where are you heading to for Burns Night this year? We’d love to hear from you if you’re hosting or attending a Burns Supper, so let us know on our Facebook or Twitter page, or leave a comment below.This entry was posted in Days Out, Travel and tagged Burns Night, Burns Supper, ceilidh, haggis, Robert Burns, train, trains to Ayrshire, trains to Dumfries, trains to Edinburgh, trains to Glasgow, trains to Scotland. Bookmark the permalink.