Tartan at the ready — the 261st birthday of Scotland's national poet is fast approaching. 25 January is on a Saturday this year, so you can expect some pretty lively parties going on until the wee hours. We've compiled the very best places to raise a dram and otherwise pay tribute to good old Rabbie Burns on Burns Night in London this year.
Burns Night at The Ceilidh Club
Eating, drinking, dancing, piping and poetry are all promised at The Ceilidh Club's Burns Night celebrations, spread across three weekends.
Traditional Scottish fare is served up, buffet-style throughout the evening to keep your energy up for twirling. There's the traditional Address to a Haggis and Robert Burns buffs can even apply to perform a poem or song. Best brush up on your Selkirk Grace, then. The event finished with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne.
18/24/25/31 January and 1 February
Burns Night Hootenanny at Boisdale of Canary Wharf
With a menu featuring Dunkeld oak smoked salmon and Buccleuch fillet steak, Boisdale of Canary Wharf ('Scotland's unofficial embassy in London') brings the flavours of the country south of the border for homesick Scots and curious Sassenachs alike. The meal is accompanied by entertainment from The Rat Pack, who will perform swing classics, classic pop and a few Scottish surprises. An Address to a Haggis is part of the evening too.
The Whisky and Live Blues Burns Night party
Musical duo The Rhythm and Booze Project (see what they did there?) offer up three of the most blessed words in the English language: open whisky bar. Chances are you've already stopped reading and popped off to buy your tickets, but if not, here's what you need to know: live music, premium Scottish single malts, other whiskies from around the world, vegetarian haggis canapés.
Burns Night Ceilidh at Cutty Sark
Where better to celebrate Burns Night than an historic tea clipper which got its name from poem, Tam o' Shanter? Clamber aboard the Cutty Sark for a proper ceilidh, with live music from the esteemed Highland Pipers and a poetry performance. Your ticket includes a complimentary dram of whisky on arrival, and a traditional meal of haggis or vegan haggis, neaps and tatties.
Burns Night dinner at Rex Whistler Restaurant at Tate Britain
Tate Britain's Rex Whistler Restaurants hosts a Burns Night Celebration Dinner. Begin the evening with a guided tour of the gallery, shining a spotlight on some of the Scottish artworks in the collection. Then enjoy a performance by Scottish piper Rob McFarlane as the haggis course is served (with a reading of An Ode To A Haggis, naturally). From then on, it's a feast of whisky and Scottish cuisine, including Cullen Skink and venison wellington.
Bourne & Hollingsworth Burns Night Party
Bourne & Hollingsworth's Clerkenwell townhouse hosts one heck of a Burns Night party. Celebrate the life of Robert Burns with a sophisticated night of whisky cocktails, ceilidh dancing and banqueting. Begin with a whisky cocktail, accompanied by a piper, before tucking into a five-course meal of Cullen Skink, gin cured salmon, haggis, and other delicacies from north of the border, finished off with a deep-fried Mars bar.
Burns Night Bash at Skylight
Rooftop party venue Skylight brings its winter season to a close with a Burns Night Bash, in association with Scotch Whisky brand Monkey Shoulder. Cocktails, live bagpipers, Highland dancing performances, whisky tastings and poem performances are all part of the fun. For an extra charge, you can take to the ice rink to practice your twirls.
Burns Family Ceilidh (25 January)
Looking for somewhere to celebrate with the whole family? The Nest Collective's Burns Family Ceilidh is open to all ages, whether you know what you're doing on the dance floor or not. The Ceilidh Liberation Front perform live as you grasp the steps. It's a relaxed dress code too.
Other Burns Night events in London:
- Chef James Cochran teams up with bestselling author Candace Carty-Williams for a Burns Night tasting menu at 12:51 in Islington. Cochran cooks up five courses, while Carty-Williams offers her own version of the Address to the Haggis.
- Roast in Borough Market brings in some live bagpipers to keep things interesting for its Burns Night supper — complete with haggis doughnuts.
- Unsurprisingly, Scottish restaurant Mac & Wild has a whole week of Burns events, including whiskey blending, a haggis masterclass, a Burns brunch, and a five-course Burns Night supper. There's also a shop where you can buy everything you need to host your own Burns Night party.
- Indian barbecue restaurant Brigadiers serves a special feast menu for three nights, blending the two cuisines. Items on the menu include a Haggis Nargisi Kofta, and a Scottish Highlands Venison Biryani served with Neeps Korma.
- The Spice of Life in Soho holds a special Burns Night edition of Country Soul, with live music, poetry readings and a traditional Burns Night meal.
- For the eighth consecutive year, Vauxhall's Tea House Theatre hosts a Burns Night supper, with a veggie option available.
- Join in with a community ceilidh Burns Night event at Cody Dock near Canning Town and enjoy live music, a complimentary whiskey, a hot buffet dinner, plenty of dancing, and an after party.
- Burns on the Barge is exactly what it sounds like — a Burns Night party on board east London's floating bar, Barge East. Tuck into a four-course feast, a dram of whiskey and live music over the course of the evening.
- Vegans are catered for at Headway East London's Burns Night supper. The regular supper club has gone vegan this year, and offers a three-course seasonal feast, special music and readings, and booze from Five Points Brewery.
- Mr Fogg's Residence hosts a Burns Night Hurrah in collaboration with Glenfiddich whisky. You're encouraged to dress in traditional Scottich attire — yes, that means kilts — for an evening of live Ceilidh music, traditional poetry recitals and Scottish fare.
- Whisky, wellingtons (the haggis kind) and wonderful poetry are promised for Burns Night at Sussex bar and restaurant in Soho.
- Bethnal Green cocktail bar The Sun Tavern hosts a daytime whisky tasting, followed by an evening of Scottish-inspired cocktails.