Bringing Burns Night to London

Burns Night in London

If you like drinking, eating and dancing, then you’ll love celebrating Burns Night on 25 January. This annual Scottish tradition celebrates poet and songwriter Robert Burns, who strongly endorsed food, fun and frivolity. Here are the five best ways to celebrate in London…

1. Go to a ceilidh
Get into the Scottish spirit by going to a traditional ceilidh – Burns himself would probably argue there’s no better fun. You’ll take part in dances such as Strip the Willow, Dashing White Sergeant and the Highland Barn Dance. It’s a great chance to try something a bit different and make new friends along the way. Remember to don your best tartan and prepare to be amazed by the live bands that make these occasions so special.

There are lots of ceilidhs in London, especially at this time of year. Check out the  Ceilidh Club for upcoming dates and to buy your tickets.

2. Host a Burns Supper
Haggis, the national dish of Scotland, is a staple of any Burns Night. It even inspired a poem by Burns (Address to a Haggis) and should always be eaten with ‘neeps and tatties’ (mashed parsnips and potatoes). It’s a meal that divides opinion – probably because of the often unusual ingredients – but today it’s possible to get various types alongside the traditional, including vegetarian or hot and spicy. If you want to make your own, you can find a range of recipes here.

3. Enjoy a dram
It is a solid tradition in Scotland for a dram of whisky to accompany any special event, including birthdays, weddings and, of course, Burns Night. It’s a drink for which Scotland is famed, and with more than 120 distilleries in the country, there’s plenty of brands to choose from. Remember to drink responsibly – whisky is best enjoyed in moderation!

4. Indulge in poetry
Burns captured the nuances and traditions of Scottish life in the 18th century in his poems and lyrics, and was regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement. You may have heard of Auld Lang Syne, the popular song sung at Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve), or the love poem A Red, Red Rose. This Burns Night, try writing your own poem to a loved one, or recite a favourite at your Burns Night supper.

5. Wear tartan
A Scottish family name and ancestral heritage will often dictate which tartan you ought to wear; Burns probably wore one of black, white and brown check. Traditional Scottish clothing worn for a ceilidh, a wedding, or any formal event usually involves tartan, whether on a kilt, troos (trousers) or a scarf. So why not wear your favourite piece of tartan to mark Burns Night?