For more than 200 years, on or around January 25, people have celebrated the life of Robert Burns – regarded as Scotland's national poet, and a pioneer of British Romanticism.
Burns suppers, complete with impressive pomp and ceremony, have followed Scots around the world, and in London there are plenty of places to get your haggis fix ("We hae meat, and we can eat," according to Burns' Selkirk Grace). Don your tartan, expect 'water of life' in your glass and party like it's Hogmanay all over again...
Follow Braveheart's epic battles at The Curtain
This first European property by New York hotelier Michael Achenbaum is right in the centre of Shoreditch revelry. This month sees the return of The Curtain's pop-up rooftop cinema, and to mark Burns Night they're showing – and what else do you expect – Mel Gibson's Braveheart, which follows Scottish rebel William Wallace and clan as they set out to battle England's King Edward I. Expect to be serenaded by a bagpiper with London’s glittering skyline in sight as you sip some fine Scottish whisky, and then settle down for the film.
Read the full review: The Curtain
Sat 25th, 6pm-10pm. Tickets £20
Black Rock Lodge takes a booze-filled journey
The first 'whisky hotel' in London makes for an obvious Burns Night haunt. Last year, the Black Rock bar expanded from its basement on Christopher Street to take over the five floors above, resulting in a blending room, tavern and three bedrooms. To mark the life of Robert Burns, the bar is offering five different drams from five very different distilleries. With expert Matthew Hastings as host, the boozy journey travels from windswept Orkney, through the picturesque Highlands and down to Campbeltown and Islay – the original homes of whisky in Scotland.
For more information, visit blackrock.bar/london
Sun 25th, 7pm-9pm. Tickets £25
Classic Burns supper done right at The Stafford
The Game Bird restaurant, under the watchful chef's eye of the impressive Ben Tish, is at the very heart of The Stafford, and has been lauded for championing (and adding flair) to British food. For the Bard of Ayrshire's birthday things are being kept relatively traditional with a three-course affair of classic Burns supper fare. Start with Isle of Harris Gin-cured parfait with horseradish crème fraîche and oat milk bread, followed by homemade haggis, buttered leeks, neeps, tatties and whisky gravy. End on a sweet note with white chocolate and whisky crème brûlée, raspberry sorbet and shortbread. If you want to linger, there's more whisky in the American Bar or the space for a cigar in the cobbled courtyard.
Read the full review: The Stafford
Jan 25th, from 6pm. Three courses £49.50
A lesson in cask character at the Ham Yard
The Windmill Room at the Ham Yard Hotel – where Kit Kemp’s Firmdale-cool interiors casually espouse Soho’s lustrous character, according to Telegraph Travel's Charlotte Johnstone – is where the Scottish celebration gets going in Soho, courtesy of a collaboration with the Dalmore distillery. Begin the evening with a whisky cocktail and canapés before settling in for an indulgent five-course dinner of warming Scots classics paired with the Highlands spirit. Dalmore's Daryl Haldane will guide guests through the taste profiles of each whisky, explaining the processes and unusual distillation regimes behind Dalmore’s distinctive character: densely fruity with a cereal background.
Read the full review: Ham Yard Hotel
Jan 24th, 6.30pm. Tickets £70
Belmond Cadogan's Scottish chef serves his heritage
Robert Burns is a Scottish poetry rock star, so it's fitting that Belmond Cadogan Hotel, once a haunt of London's creatives – Oscar Wilde, Lillie Langtry – is marking the occasion. What's more, the namesake chef-patron of the Adam Handling Chelsea restaurant hails from north of the border. If you're dining here on Burns Night, look out for haggis Wellington alongside crispy neeps and tatties, served with Craigellachie whisky sauce. And of course, there's a large selection of whisky in the adjoining bar so there's no danger that you'll go thirsty.
Read the full review: Belmond Cadogan Hotel
Jan 25th. Main course £30
The Devonshire Club pairs piping with poetry
The shriek from bag to chanter isn’t loved by everyone, but the bellow of bagpipes shout Scotland in a way unmatched by anything else. And if you are going to listen to the distinctive sound on Burns Night (which of course you should do, through muffled ears or not), you need a decent supper to follow. The private members club, which oozes 1950s glamour, is open to the public for this event, and menus (with vegetarian option available) are as north of the border as they come: smoked salmon, haggis with whisky gravy, cranachan – and a deep-fried Mars Bar to finish.
Read the full review: Devonshire Club
Jan 24th, from 7pm. Two courses for £28; three for £35
Haggis, neaps, tatties (and beer) at South Place Hotel
South Place Hotel might be among the dour streets of the City but it provides a vibrant place to stay, with specks of colour among monochrome interiors and a little quirk (keep eyes peeled for a mannequin rocking a mohawk). This sense of fun reverberates throughout the hotel’s Burns Night celebrations. Of course there’s whisky, but this Scottish feast – haggis, cullen skink – is paired with beers from Harviestoun Brewery, based in Clackmannanshire. End the meal with golden ale as you tuck into Sotch whisky trifle and get ready for a jolly singalong to Auld Lang Syne.
Read the full review: South Place Hotel
Jan 25th, 5pm-10pm. Three courses for £35 with optional beer flight for £12