Celebrate Burns Night in South Scotland

by Scotland Starts Here, 19th January 2022
The Globe Inn | Dumfries
Celebrate Burns Night in South Scotland

Don your finest tartan, Burns Night is just around the corner! Celebrations in the South of Scotland and around the world are getting ready to commence.

Celebrating Robert Burns, Scotland’s National Poet, on the 25th of January every year is a tradition that is inextricably linked to the South. After all, the ploughman poet spent much of his life in and around Dumfries. First staying at Ellisland Farm and later in the town centre in what is now known as Robert Burns House. The bard even etched some verses into a window of his local watering hole, the Globe Inn.

So, as Scots and Scotland-lovers alike gather to celebrate his life and work, we have rounded up some of the events held in his honour. Whether you plan to host your own Burns Night at home are tuning in online or are going out to celebrate, read on. 

Please note: In light of the coronavirus pandemic, health and safety are of paramount importance. Stay safe and adhere to current government guidanceIf you are going for walks or exercise, always follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Closures and access restrictions may apply and will be lifted in line with government guidance. Always check with places directly and prebook where possible.

This year the Big Burns Supper, Scotland’s largest contemporary Burns celebration, is staying virtual with seven online events around the big day and a free event hosted live by Eddi Reader on Burns Night itself. Big names and local talent will take to the virtual stage on the Big Burns Supper Facebook and YouTube channels.

Comedy circuit stars Ross Leslie and Richard Pulsford join homegrown musical talent from the likes of Colonel Mustard & the Dijon 5, Amy Papiransky, Dumfries Community Choir, David Bass & Chazz, The Lucky Doves and Jack Hunter.

For fans of Le Haggis, one of the most popular events in the Big Burns Supper programme since its inception, this year’s Burns Night spectacular will unfold in a familiar fashion, with Eddi taking audiences on a cabaret-esque rollercoaster around the world. From KT Tunstall in LA to Dervish performing from lockdown in Dublin, this year’s Big Burns Supper takes Burns Night global once again.

Eddie Reader will host a live virtual Big Burns Supper on 25 January with stars big and small taking part around the globe. Credit: Big Burns Supper.

More online festivities

The online festival includes exploring how the film Pride celebrated the support of the Miners from the lesbian and gay community. And tune in for Save the Planet one Object at a time with an inspirational online talk from Dr Tara Shine, a key activist in the fight for climate change.

And for those who just can’t get enough, a new summer edition of the festival is scheduled to take place from 10-26 June at the Loreburn Hall in Dumfries.

Learn about Burns

Burns House has launched a new living history workshop for schools and other learning groups.  These workshops and special activities take place in the atmospheric setting of the home where he spent his final years. Participants will meet Robert Burns and his wife Jean and find out about life in their home, Burns’ work as an exciseman and his poems and songs. Of course you can do your very own, independent Burns tour, following his footsteps from his home and haunts around Dumfries and the surrounding countryside.

Inside Robert Burns House in Dumfries., Dumfries Museum
The interior of Burns House will play host to workshops for schools and local interest groups and activities available to visitors.

Burns Night In

If you’re planning to host your own Burns Supper, add locally prepared treats to your spread. Head to one of the local butchers in the South of Scotland for freshly prepared haggis or pick up cheese from one of our many farm shops. Perhaps the end of the evening can be celebrated with whisky, honey and oatmeal ice cream from Cream o’ Galloway. And to elevate your Address to the Haggis, make sure to serve one of the whiskies from these parts, too – Annandale, Bladnoch and the Borders Distillery all offer excellent choices for the evening. 

For a twist on a traditional Burns Night at home, pick up a bottle of Haggis Gin by Scottish Borders based DeliQuescent in specialist local shops or order online.

celebrate Burns night with haggis, neeps and tatties
Haggis, neaps & tatties are traditional Burns’ Supper fayre. Credit: VS/Luigi Di pasquale

Burns Night Out

If you prefer your haggis prepared for you, look no further than the Selkirk Arms, home of the Selkirk Grace, which Burns wrote in 1784. They are offering a three-course set Burns menu from 20-30 January. Booking essential.

Burns room, selkirarms
Raise a glass and toast the Bard at the Selkirk Arms with the Selkirk Grace, penned in Kirkcudbright.

Where better to head than the Bard’s favourite Howff? The Globe Inn’s celebratory bash on the 25th is now sold out, but don’t worry there will be celebrations for the Bard throughout the year. His passing in July will be commemorated with a similarly fantastic 8-course feast with entertainment to celebrate its most famous patron. There may even be world famous Burns expert Jane Brown on hand to lend colour to the event. For now you have the possibility of a full Burns experience by taking a guided tour topped off by sampling a new cocktail in his honour, ‘The Spirit of the Bard’. Contact the Globe directly to find out which days tours are available.

Globe Inn Entrance, Annandale Distillery Co LTD
Celebrate in true Burns style with 8 courses at Burns’ favourite Howff, The Globe, Dumfries.

The Annandale Distillery has created a special Burns birthday meal. Served from Jan 24-30th this delicious homemade Haggis, Neeps & Tattie Stack is served with creamy whisky and thyme sauce. Follow this with an old-fashioned raspberry Cranachan served with a side portion of homemade shortbread. This tasty two courses is just £12.50 and will certainly fill you after a tour of the distillery.

Why not combine a visit to The Globe Inn and Annandale Distillery with a Half Price Tour Ticket? Visit between Jan 24th and Feb 18th 2022.

Enjoy two courses including a delicious Haggis Stack at Annandale Distillery to celebrate the Bard’s birthday during the end of January.

Claire Hastings, BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2015, will be keeping diners entertained at this traditional Burns Supper. The hotel promises music, poetry & dancing and of course haggis as it offers a chance to celebrate the National Poet’s Birthday in style. Further entertainment will be provided by a drummer, an accordianist, a piper and a highland dancer.

Hotel Exterior, None
There will be haggis and Scottish entertainment on offer at the Cairnsdale Hotel & Leisure Club for the Bard’s Birthday.

Get into the Spirit of Burns

Where better to experience a play about Robert Burns than in the Theatre Royal in Dumfries where he wrote plays specifically for this very stage. This year you are in for a night of live comedy, drama and music with two of Scotland’s leading actors, along with a very unexpected ‘appearance’ from the ghost of Rabbie Burns, who offers up some very interesting insights on dating and modern love.

Jamie Quinn will be playing the Bard, Robert Burns while Nicola Roy will be playing the female lead, Emily, who is about to be visited by a ghost!

Theatre Royal Dumfries, GE Photography
See the Ghosting of Rabbie Burns on the stage he once wrote plays for at the Theatre Royal, Dumfries.