It’s no wonder Burns Night is such a popular celebration. At the end of a cold, dark month, everyone’s looking for a bit of a knees-up, and a tribute to Scotland’s first bard is just the tonic.
Traditionally featuring bagpipes, haggis, the Immortal Memory and the Toast to the Lasses, Burns Night is a feast for the ears and eyes as well as the appetite. But there’s more than one way to stuff a sheep’s stomach, so here’s our pick of destinations and celebrations to honour the life of the great poet, farmer and tax man, ‘Rabbie’ Burns this January 25th...
It’s not all about haggis
Burns may have written an ode to the haggis, but it’s fair to say that, while many agree it’s a spicy delicacy, it isn’t everyone’s idea of food heaven. If you fancy something different for your Burns Night supper, head to the granite marvel that is Aberdeen, as visited by the bard on his Highland Tour in 1797, and try Scotland’s famous Aberdeen Angus beef.
Our tip is IX restaurant at the Chester Hotel, a restaurant boasting awards such as two AA rosettes for fine dining. Choose from a range of locally produced fish and meat and have it cooked to perfection on the Josper grill, giving a unique flavour due to the charcoal embers. Yes, my mouth is waterring too!
Go to Aberdeen
Your kind of ceilidh
A firm favourite with Burns, Edinburgh is the city where one of his 12 children was born, as well as being home to many pipers whose repertoires include his Auld Lang Syne. If bagpipes aren’t music to your ears, Edinburgh’s thriving entertainment scene and bustling busker community offer plenty of alternatives.
Go to Edinburgh
Raise a glass to Rabbie
To really savour a wee dram in Glasgow, the nearby Auchentoshan distillery is well worth a visit. There’s no need to stick to whisky for your celebrations, though – Burns was renowned for his liking of a variety of libations (he was, after all, the first ever person to feature on a commemorative bottle of Coca Cola). And where better to mix it up than in one of Glasgow’s many cool cocktail bars?
Go to Glasgow
Get some new glad rags
Tartan is the order of the day, but the Scots don’t get it all their own way. The traditional method of kilt wearing may be a tad chilly for those not used to it, but London’s hipster community has brought tartan to a wider, and some would say more seemly, array of clothing.
So if you’re spending Burns Night down south, hop to Hackney for the choicest cuts in tartan trews. It’s a look that certainly wouldn’t be out of place at tartan-clad Boisdale, a group of Scottish restaurants in Canary Wharf, Belgravia and Bishopsgate.
Go to London
Recover with Dundee’s finest
And the day after the revelry? It has to be Dundee, Scotland’s fourth largest city and home of the aspirin. Yes, it was here that Dr Thomas John MacLogan invented the famous aid to the morning after the night before.
If you’re still feeling monstrous, you wouldn’t be alone – take heart in the fact that the first lines of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein were written here. To feel more human again, try a reviving cuppa and a slice of the city’s famous cake – it’s still made in the traditional style by members of the Baker Trade of Dundee
Go to Dundee
Travel the MegabusGold way
All these cities can be visited in the comfort of an overnight trip on one of MegabusGold’s sleeper coaches. Why not book your Burns Night destination now?