Here are the best Scottish Burns Night shindigs London has to offer, featuring an abundance of haggis, neeps & tatties, poetry readings, whisky and jaunty pipers…
What is Burns Night?
Burns Night is a celebration of the life of 18th century Scottish poet Robert Burns, who is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland. It was initially organised as a memorial by family and friends after he died back in 1796, but over the years it has merged into a nationwide affair, taking place on his birthday, 25 January, each year.
Burns is considered to be a pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism. His iconic poem and song, ‘Auld Lang Syne’, is sung at Hogmanay, while ‘Scots Wha Hae’ was considered Scotland’s unofficial national anthem for many years.
Where to celebrate Burns Night in London…
Burns Night with Bateaux London
For an alternative take on the Burns Night celebrations, sail away with Bateaux London for a five-course Scottish feast enjoyed upon the River Thames. The 2 hour and 45-minute voyage will transport guests to an array of iconic London sights, accompanied by Scottish music, delicious dishes – from seared salmon and haggis to whisky-infused raspberry cranachan trifle – and of course, whisky cocktails on arrival.
When? 25 January
Where? Embark from Embankment Pier, Victoria Embankment, London WC2N 6NU
How? Tickets from £79 per person, bateauxlondon.com
Galvin at Windows
Islay’s Bruichladdich Distillery, which produces renowned spirits such as Port Charlotte Whisky and The Botanist Gin, will be celebrating its Sottish heritage this Burns Night at a range of iconic London restaurants, from Wilder and The Conduit to The Bloomsbury Club. Head to rooftop restaurant Galvin at Windows to trial the distillery’s limited edition Burns Night menu at resident 10 Degrees Bar, featuring the likes of Classic Laddie, Port Charlotte 10 and Octomore 10.1, along with a range of delicious Bruichladdich-inspired cocktails.
When? 20 – 25 January
Where? Galvin at Windows, 22 Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K 1BE
How? £19 to try the limited edition drinks menu, galvinatwindows.com
If baked hand-dived Orkney scallops and Aberdeen Angus beef wellington sounds good to you, Richard Corrigan’s Mayfair restaurant is your place to be this Burns Night. Indulge in a delectable Scottish themed five course meal featuring all the classics, from haggis to neeps and tatties, and a touch of traditional Scottish music from doorman Paddy on the bagpipes.
When? 25 January
Where? Corrigan’s Mayfair, 28 Upper Grosvenor St, Mayfair, London W1K 7EH
How? £75 per person for five courses plus £35 for the whisky flight (or wine alternative), corrigansmayfair.co.uk
Rex Whistler at Tate Britain
Head to the Tate Britain’s artsy Rex Whistler restaurant for a special Burns Night supper comprising Scottish artworks, champagne, delicious helpings of haggis and much more. There will be music from Scottish piper, Rob McFarlane, poetry readings, whisky drinking and of course, a spectacular Scottish-inspired four-course feast; think Cullen skink, haggis, neeps and tatties, venison wellington and plenty more to fill your boots with.
When? Saturday 25th January, 6.30pm – 11pm
Where? Rex Whistler Restaurant, Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG
How? £120 for tour, dinner and wine pairing, or £75 for the tour and dinner only, tate.org.uk
Head just outside of London for an unforgettable evening at The Grove hotel, Hertfordshire. The hotel’s renowned restaurant, The Glasshouse, which overlooks the glorious gardens, is putting on a traditional Scottish feast featuring the likes of Scottish langoustines, Scottish haggis and highland rib of beef (with a delicious whisky cream sauce) and classic raspberry cranachan. Escape the city for Talisker hot toddies or Roe & Co hot chocolates by the fire, live music and beautiful countryside views, all just 18 miles from London.
When? 25 January
Where? The Grove, Chandler’s Cross, Watford WD3 4TG
How? Bookings from£68 per person. Note: anyone wearing tartan will be given a free dram of whisky! thegrove.co.uk
The Little Blue Door
Mac & Wild haggis, burgers topped with whisky chilli sauce and Scottish spiked house punch; we’re already sold. Celebrate Burns Night at Fulham’s cosy tartan-adorned bar, The Little Blue Door and indulge in delicious tipples from the likes of Balvenie and Glenfiddich, the Scottish sound of bagpipes (plus a DJ from 9.30pm) and gloriously hearty food. Kilts and tartan attire is encouraged.
When? Saturday 25th January, 6 until late
Where? The Little Blue Door, 871-873 Fulham Rd, Fulham, London SW6 5HP
How? Entry is free but we recommend getting in touch beforehand via [email protected]
Mac & Wild
Scottish at heart, Mac & Wild are marking the occasion with an entire week filled with Scottish-inspired brunches, masterclasses, cocktails, meals and more. From their Burns pop-up in collaboration with Scotch whisky specialists Copper Dog, to a bottomless whisky brunch and a Highland Park haggis making masterclass (in a Land Rover!), there’s plenty to get involved with. Visit macandwild.com for a list of events and details.
When? 21 – 25 January
Where? Mac & Wild Devonshire Square, Mac & Wild Fitzrovia | Mac & Wild pop-up, 1 Devonshire Square, Spitalfields, EC2M 4YP
Monkey Shoulder’s Skylight Rooftop Takeover
It wouldn’t be Burns Night without whiskey, so where better to celebrate than Monkey Shoulder’s whiskey takeover at Skylight at Tobacco Dock? Delight in Scottish bag-pipers, a traditional highland dance, poetry, delicious street food and, of course, plenty of whiskey-infused drinks. There will even be a chance to skate at the venue’s rooftop ice rink, cosy up in a rooftop igloo, and snuggle under a heated pergola with a hot toddy in hand.
When? Saturday 25th January, 5pm – 11pm
Where? Skylight at Tobacco Dock, Tobacco Dock, Pennington St entrance, St Katharine’s & Wapping, London E1W 2SF
How? £8 – £16 including welcome drink. Ice skating is £12 and can be purchased on the night, skylight.designmynight.com
The Sun Tavern
East London’s The Sun Tavern has teamed up with Craigellachie Whisky for a Burns Night celebration to remember. Enjoy a Craigellachie whisky tasting experience with Scotch aficionado Andrea Montaqu before sipping on Scotch beverages with Iain McPherson – owner of Edinburgh’s award-winning cocktail bar, Panda & Sons– including Craigellachie 13-infused hot chocolate punch. There will also be a series of Robert Burns renditions, as well as a DJ set, and be sure to work up an appetite; Broadway Market’s Deeney’s will be serving up complimentary haggis balls all night.
When? Saturday 25th January, 6pm – 2am
Where? The Sun Tavern, 441 Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 0AN
Galvin at the Altheneum
A Burns Night event for fine-dining enthusiasts, Galvin at the Athenaeum is honouring Robert Burns with a delicious five-course supper incorporating traditional Scottish cuisine, from Cullen skink to Lock Duart salmon, tasty haggis and tatties.
When? Saturday 25th January
Where? Galvin at the Athenaeum, 16 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7BJ
How? Visit athenaeumhotel.com or call 020 7640 3333 to make a reservation