A Guide to Burns Night

A Guide to Burns Night


Burns Night one of the first dates in the diary for any Scot – not least because it takes place in January. But how much do you really know about this important celebration? What do you really know about Burns himself and the historical relevance of this national treasure? Read on to find out more about the man, the menu and the events held in his memory on the date of his birth.


What is Burns Night?

Taking place on Wednesday 25th January, Burns Night is an annual celebration that pays tribute to poet Robert Burns. Burns is the national poet of Scotland, a visionary who created a number of renowned works during his lifetime, including Scottish folk song and official New Year anthem Auld Lang Syne.


When did Burns Night begin?

Burns Night has snowballed into a globally famous celebration but it originally began as a simple supper held in memory of the poet by a group of his friends. Following his death in 1796, a number of Burns’ acquaintances congregated on the date of his death (21st July) to enjoy a Burns Supper of haggis, neeps and tatties. Over the course of several years, the gathering grew bigger and bigger, eventually moving to the date of his birth – where it has been celebrated ever since.

Traditionally, Burns Night is celebrated with a Burns Night Supper, poetry recitals, Scottish dancing and the drinking of whisky. If you are fortunate enough to live in Edinburgh, venues across the city offer you the chance to celebrate in style – whether it’s the food, the drink, the dancing or all of the above that you crave. In fact, there’s even a Robert Burns app now to keep you clued up.


While the Burns Night menu originally involved a traditional Scottish broth to start and lots (and lots) of haggis with the usual serving of neeps and tatties for main course, nowadays there is a varied offering to cater to traditionalists, vegetarians and those looking for modern twists on classic dishes.


How should I celebrate Burns Night?

While there are numerous Burns Night events going on around the world, there’s simply no better place to celebrate the birthday of Scotland’s national poet than right here in Edinburgh. Too many venues to mention will be hosting events on the 25th January, and here are just some of the highlights.

Taking place a little earlier than most, Prestonfield House has got Burns Night celebrations organised down to the finest of detail. It’s the ideal venue if your idea of a party includes great food, wine and entertainment in stunning surroundings. Priced at £50 per head, the evening begins with a drinks reception before moving onto a delicious three course meal and finishing with coffee and a dram. The Scottish Café and Restaurant is also high on the list of popular destinations for fans of Burns Night celebrations. Held a little late on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th January, it’s a great opportunity to not only toast the great poet but let your hair down with the promise of a weekend lie-in the next day! As well as being able to enjoy supper made from the finest and freshest local ingredients, the Scottish Café and Restaurant will lay on the best entertainment in the city with their ceilidh offering a fun-filled night of traditional dancing, great music and even better company.

Edinburgh Castle will host Burns for Beginners from Saturday 21st to Wednesday 25th January 2017. The perfect introduction to Burns Night, Burns for Beginners gives visitors and locals alike a chance to walk through history in an iconic location and discover more about Robert Burns and his celebrated poems and songs. For those looking for an even funnier side to Burns Night, The Stand Comedy Club is running a Burns Night Special from 7.30pm on Sunday 29th January. Already a famous venue in the comedy world, The Stand will host an evening of comedy and traditional Scottish fayre all washed down with veggie and meat haggis meals, which are available on the night for just £6.

Wish you lived close to all the Burns Night action? Why not take a tour of Quartermile this week? Simply call 0845 000 2525.

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