Release your inner Bard in Edinburgh!

20 Jan

Burns Night is celebrated annually in Scotland on or around 25th January. It is a feast of entertainment that commemorates the life and work of Robert Burns, the national Bard who was born on 25th January 1759. The day also celebrates Burns’ contribution to Scottish culture. If Edinburgh is your chosen city to get a full-flavoured experience while enjoying this day, keep on reading to find out about the different events and celebratory suppers which will be held at a number of venues across the city!

Edinburgh Castle celebrates Burns!

Robert Burns was one of Scotland’s literary greats, but what exactly was he talking about? Edinburgh Castle is holding a series of ‘Burns for Beginners’ events to allow you find out all about Burns and celebrate Scotland’s Immortal Bard at one of Scotland’s most iconic locations. The Burns’ events will be taking place in the surroundings of Edinburgh Castle’s Great Hall on 25, 26 and 27 January 2013.

A celebration of the Scots language: To make sure participants are fully immersed in the tongue of Burns, there will be a Children’s Quiz in Scots and all signage at the castle will be in Scots too.

Nick Finnigan,  Executive Manager of Edinburgh Castle said: “Come to Edinburgh Castle where you can get a crash course on everything Burns.  Discover the Scots language and find out what inspired some of the Bard’s greatest works.  Crowd participation is highly encouraged!”

Attendees will also have the chance to taste Scotland’s finest produce, including whisky, haggis and shortbread.

Timings: 11:15, 12:15, 14:00, 15:00

For more information, visit The Edinburgh Castle website.

Burns Unbound at the National Museum of Scotland

A fun-filled day for all the family! In celebration of Burns Day, National Museums Scotland is hosting a packed day of events at the National Museum of Scotland (Edinburgh) and the National Museum of Rural Life (East Kilbride) on Sunday 27 January 2013, as part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals. Throughout the day there will be a host of events including workshops, museum trails and craft activities.

Burns Unbound at the National Museum of Scotland will be hosted by Karen Dunbar and feature a performance by award winning singer Amy Macdonald. She is one of the most successful musicians Scotland has ever produced, having sold almost 5 million albums across her three releases

Tiree’s Skerryvore and Sutherland’s Jennifer Port will join Amy Macdonald in the National Museum of Scotland for a day showcasing the finest contemporary Scottish creative talent. Burns Unbound will culminate in a mass recital of “To a Mouse”, in the Grand Gallery, led by celebrity compere Karen Dunbar.

STV weatherman Sean Batty will lead the proceedings at the National Museum of Rural Life, including live music from Glasgow-based band Wildings. (Admission charges apply at the National Museum of Rural Life)

Burns Unbound marks the end of Scotland’s Winter Festivals, funded by the Scottish Government and managed by EventScotland, and presented in conjunction with The List.

For more information visit

BURNFEST at the Scottish Storytelling Centre 

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is one of the best places to start with for a taste of Burns and the Scottish Storytelling Centre, right in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, promises not to disappoint with an action-packed programme of seven braw events that offers ways for everyone to explore and be inspired by Scotland’s favourite son.

Described as “a feast of language, song and story for a cold January”, BURNFEST is also part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals. Events kicked off last Friday 18 January, exactly one week before the Bard’s birthday. After a successful Burns singing workshop with MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Award nominee Christine Kydd and critically acclaimed theatre, “Burns: Rough Cut”, written and Directed by Donald Smith and starring Gavin Paul; BURNFEST will conclude with a Burns Family Day of entertainment on Saturday 26 January with storytelling, puppetry and a traditional ceilidh evening that Rabbie definitely would have approved of.

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There will also be a 3-course meal Supper on 23 and 24 January accompanied by Scottish storytelling, songs and poetry from master storytellers David Campbell and Linda Bandelier , who avoid Burns kitsch with a fresh take and exciting twist on the usual Burns Supper, offering a chance to discover the real, radical spirit of the man which echoes throughout his work.

Supper with Burns
Wed 23 & Thu 24 Jan 2013 | 7pm (2hrs 30) | £25 | 12+
With David Campbell & Linda Bandelier
3 course meal and storytelling entertainment

Sat 26 Jan 2013: Burns Family Day
11am | £6/£4 | 6+: The Twa Rabbies (tales, songs and poetry)

2pm | £5/£3 | 5+: We’ll a be proud o’ Robin (by master storyteller, performer and puppeteer Sylvia Troon)

7pm | £5/£3 | 14+: Burns an’ a’ That (a traditional ceilidh event for young and old to enjoy Burns’ verse and music)

For further information, please check the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s events programme. Tickets can be booked by phone on 0131 556 9579, in person or online. More info here.

Address: 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR.

Celebrate Burns at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Edinburgh’s National Portrait Gallery pays homage to our national poet with two different events on 27 and 31 January 2013.

Sun 27 Jan: Meet the Ancestors – Robert Burns Revealed!
2pm & 3pm (45 mins) | Ages 4-12 | No booking required: free, unticketed

Join historian and author Allan Burnett as he serves up the great poet’s amazing life story.

Thu 31 Jan: The Burns Ensemble
6-6.30pm | Adults | No booking required: free, unticketed

Featuring baritone, Richard Morrison, Alina Bzhezhinska on harp and Karin Leitner on flute, The Burns Ensemble perform arrangements of Scottish songs by Robert Burns and original compositions.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery. 1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JD.

Sin in the City Burns Dinner with Mercat Tours

To celebrate a different Burns Night, book in your place at The Bonham which, in association with Mercat Tours, will offer an alternative Burns Supper where guests will enjoy an evening of entertainment hearing tales of the other side of Edinburgh’s noble character.

Johanne Falconer, General Manager at The Bonham, said: “Some think our ancestors were straight-laced and demure – certainly not!  This is history rarely explored.  Burns night is the perfect time to hear more about Edinburgh’s tales of love, lust and passions which will surprise, shock and entertain. Our chef has created a traditional Burns menu to be enjoyed as we see and hear tales of Edinburgh’s history brought to life by a unique storytelling performance”.

Priced £49 per person, the evening includes:

A glass of fizz on arrival
4 course Burns dinner (to view the menu, click here)
1/2 a bottle of wine
Mercat Tours story telling performance

For further information or to book tickets, please contact the Events Manager Alice Beeby on or call 0131 274 7404. Address: 35 Drumsheugh Gardens, EH3 7RN.

Burns Supper at Steak

Steak restaurant, at No.12 Picardy Place, will be offering a set 3-course menu for £30, which comes with a complimentary dram of Scotch whisky and a glass of red or white wine. After the dinner, you will have the chance to join the free Burns Supper Ceilidh with their live band from 9pm to 1am. Steak’s Burns Supper Menu includes:

Haggis, Neeps & Tatties

Port Braised Daube of Beef with Wild Mushroom & Barely Risotto,
Roast Salsify & Parsnip Crisps


25 January 2013 at 7:30 pm. All bookings must be made in advance. For more information, call them on 0131 556 1289 or visit their website.

Burns Supper at The Scotsman Hotel

The Scotsman Hotel is presenting an evening of Burns Night celebrations in the North Bridge Brasserie. Executive Head Chef Paul Hart has put his own contemporary twist on a traditional Burns Night classic and will be serving up an innovative Burns Night Supper on 25 January between 5.30 pm and 10:00 pm. Booking details can be found here.

The Scotsman’s Bruns Supper Menu (£35)

“Cock a leekie”
Terrine of roasted chicken and leeks
With a prune and Armagnac puree and pickled onions

Smoked flat iron steak with haggis and tatties
And a whisky sauce

Cranachan and crowdie cheesecake
With poached rhubarb and raspberry sorbert

Selection of artisan Scottish cheese’s
Orkney oatcakes and Arran chutney

A wide variety of whiskies will also be available on the evening, including some very rare malts.

Even though this is a set 4-course menu, dietary requirements can be catered for. A gluten free version and a vegetarian version can also be done to satisfy the attendees’ personal needs.

More info here: / 0131 622 2900

Burns Supper at The Balmoral Hotel

The Balmoral Hotel will be serving a traditional 4-course Burns Supper in its chic and stylish Hadrian’s Brasserie to celebrate the life and poetry of the National Bard on 25 January 2013. The evening will include a whisky tasting and an address to the “great chieftain o’ the puddin’ race” by Pipe Major Iain Grant

Hadrian’s Burns Supper Menu (£30)

Smoked Haddock and Leek soup, “Cullen Skink”

Traditional Haggis, Neeps & Tatties with Whisky Cream

Breast of Letham Chicken, “Stovies”, Glenmorangie Glaze

Cranachan, Honey, Raspberries, Oats, Drambuie Drizzle

Butter Shortbread

To make a reservation for Burns Supper at Hadrian’s, call 0131 557 5000 or email

Whiski Rooms’ Burns Night Supper

Join the Whiski Rooms, at No. 4-7 North Bank Street, for a traditional Burns Night Supper with bagpipes, speeches, haggis and whisky. A set 3-course menu will be served in this well-known world heritage location on 25 January 2013.  The Burns Night Supper evening begins at 7 for 7:30PM start.

Whiski Rooms’s Burns Supper Menu (£35)

Cock-a-Leekie Soup

Award winning MacSweens Haggis, Neeps & Tatties with whisky cream sauce
(Traditional or Vegetarian Haggis)


 All bookings must be made in advance. A £10 pp non-refundable deposit is required to confirm the booking. For more information, call them on 0131 225 7224 or visit their website.

Article originally written for The Edinburgh Reporter and first published on 19 January 2013. Link

One Response to “Release your inner Bard in Edinburgh!”

  1. Sam Khan-McIntyre January 24, 2013 at 19:50 #

    Well done sweetie! I really wanted a wee bit of help with my website and you don’t seem to have replied… Sometime next week? We’ve just been on Orkney, it was brilliant! I’d love to. Show you the photos- get my diss result tommorow, a bit scared!!

    Sent from my iPad

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