Welcome to the ultimate guide for anyone planning to celebrate Burns Night 2025 in Scotland. In this blog, we'll dive into the heartwarming festivities of Burns Night, explore the rich traditions that make it so special, and reveal the seven best places to celebrate Burns Night across Scotland. So, grab your kilt and your finest whisky, and let's get cracking on how you can make your Burns Night unforgettable!

What is Burns Night?

drink whisky on burns night
Burns Night, celebrated on January 25th, is a joyous occasion that honours the life and works of Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns. Born on January 25, 1759, Burns is renowned for his poetry and songs, many of which have become integral to Scottish culture. On the 25th, Scots and non-Scots gather to pay tribute to his memory through a traditional Burns Supper, complete with poetry readings, hearty food, and, of course, whisky.

Is Burns Night always the 25th of January?

While Burns Night indeed finds its roots on the 25th of January each year, there's a dash of flexibility in the mix. You see, celebrating Rabbie isn't confined to just that one date. Sometimes, for practical reasons, folks may choose to host their Burns Night festivities on the nearest weekend if the 25th falls on a worknight. After all, the idea is to gather, enjoy, and pay homage to the Bard of Ayrshire in a way that suits everyone involved.

What country celebrates Burns Night?

Of course, Scotland is the obvious answer to which country celebrates Burns night but did you know other parts of the world also take part? Over 2,500 global Burns night suppers take place around the world spreading as far as Dehi in India to Boston in the States.

Why did Burns night start?

Burns night started all the way back in 1801 when nine of Robbie Burns' friends had a supper in his honour to mark the anniversary of his death. The word spread over the years as more and more people attended and now it's said to be the biggest night in Scotland (aside from Hogmanany of course!)

What Are the Burns Night Traditions in Scotland?

eat haggie neeps and tatties on burns night in scotland
If you happen to be in Scotland this January 25th, you can expect to see the following Burns night traditions:

  • The Burns Supper: The centrepiece of Burns Night celebrations, the Burns Supper typically includes a welcome speech, the "Address to a Haggis" (a poem recited while a haggis is ceremoniously served), a toast to the haggis, and the recitation of Burns' poetry.
  • Whisky Tasting: No Burns Night is complete without a dram of Scotland's finest whisky. Raise your glass and toast to the Bard of Ayrshire with a wee bit of the "water of life."
  • Poetry Readings: Poems by Robert Burns are recited, and guests are encouraged to share their favourite verses. Auld Lang Syne is often sung to conclude the evening.
  • Traditional Scottish Attire: Many Scots don their kilts, tartan, and other traditional clothing for the occasion, adding to the festive atmosphere.

Can you get vegetarian haggis?

Veggies won't be left out on Burns night 2024, as more and more restaurants are offering vegetarian haggis options that taste as good if not better than the real thing - just make sure to let them know in advance to avoid any disapointment! Not going out for Burns night? Check out your local supermarkets for vegetarian haggis from trusted brands such as Macsween that provide an animal-friendly alternative to this traditional Scottish meal.

What is a Ceilidh?

a scottish fiddle on burns night
Now that we've explored the rich traditions of Burns Night, there's one more element of celebration that you're bound to come across in Scotland – the Ceilidh. A Ceilidh, pronounced "kay-lee," is a lively Scottish social event that involves traditional music, dancing, and socialising. The word "ceilidh" itself comes from the Gaelic word for "gathering" or "party," and that's precisely what it is – a gathering of people to enjoy music, dance, and each other's company. Ceilidhs have a long history in Scotland, dating back centuries. They were a way for communities to come together, celebrate special occasions, and enjoy music and dance. Traditional ceilidh music often features instruments like the fiddle, accordion, and bagpipes, creating a lively and toe-tapping atmosphere.

Dancing at a Ceilidh
At a Burns Night Ceilidh, you'll have the opportunity to join in on the dancing. Don't worry if you're not familiar with the dances – that's all part of the fun! Ceilidh dances are usually easy to pick up, and there are usually experienced dancers or a "caller" who guides everyone through the steps. Some popular ceilidh dances you might encounter include the Gay Gordons, the Dashing White Sergeant, and the Strip the Willow. These traditional Scottish dances are not only great fun but also a fantastic way to immerse yourself in Scottish culture and socialise with fellow Burns night revellers. The beauty of a ceilidh is that it's all about having a good time and letting loose on the dance floor. So, whether you're a seasoned dancer or a complete beginner, don't be shy – join in, have a laugh, and embrace the spirit of the ceilidh!

So, as you celebrate Burns Night in Scotland, keep an eye out for the ceilidh invitations. It's a great chance to experience the joy of Scottish music and dance, and you'll soon find yourself swept up in the lively rhythms and cheerful atmosphere of this time-honoured tradition Now, let's dive into the seven best places in Scotland to join in on the Burns Night festivities in 2025.

The 7 Best Places to Celebrate Burns Night

1. Edinburgh

edinburgh cowgate at night
The capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh, is an obvious choice for celebrating Burns Night. Join the festivities at the Royal Mile, where you can witness captivating street performances, traditional music, and poetry readings. Head down the Royal Mile towards the Canongate and pop into The Scottish Storytelling Centre to attend lots of fun Burns-themed workshops and events like a Burns song workshop, (free) café ceilidh and more! Edinburgh also hosts various Burns Suppers, some in iconic venues like the Ghillie Dhu while some bars like the Moonwake Taproom are hosting a Burns night whisky tasting offering a lively and unforgettable Burns night experience in the Scottish capital. Those really wanting to go all out this Burns night though, should buy tickets to the Burns Supper onboard the majestic Royal Yacht Britannia where you'll be greeted by a live piper before tucking into a five-course meal, enjoying a whisky tasting and getting serenaded by traditional Scottish musicians.

2. Alloway, Ayrshire

Alloway, the birthplace of Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns, is a place where history and tradition converge to create a truly magical Burns Night.  The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, a centrepiece of the Alloway experience, stands as a tribute to the poet's life and works. As you wander through the museum's hallowed halls, you'll find yourself immersed in the very essence of Burns' creative spirit. From handwritten manuscripts to personal belongings, the museum provides a tangible connection to the man behind the poetry. And best of all, on Burns night, the museum hosts a party with a ceilidh, haggis hunting and even a caramel wafer jenga!

3. Glasgow

Glasgow offers a wide array of Burns Night events, from formal dinners at stunning venues like the Trades Hall to lively ceilidh dances at local pubs. The city's vibrant arts scene ensures there's something for everyone. If you fancy a different take on Burns night, book tickets to a Burns Supper with a twist hosted by rugby legend Andy Nicol. At the event, you'll be treated to classic Scottish songs, performances by hit Scottish comedians, a 3-course meal and drinks on arrival! Fancy a more traditional take on Burns night? Then the Celtic Connections Burns Supper hosted at the iconic Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is an excellent choice. Grab your kilt and enjoy a gourmet menu and a dram from Burns' hometown Lochlea while you listen to incredible Scottish tunes.

4. Inverness

Head to the Highlands for a unique Burns Night celebration. Inverness hosts traditional ceilidh dances and Burns Suppers that transport you back in time, allowing you to experience the very essence of Scottish culture. The sound of fiddles and bagpipes fills the air, drawing you closer to the heart of the festivities. The backdrop of stunning Scottish scenery, with its dramatic landscapes and pristine lochs, adds an extra layer of magic to your Burns Night celebration in Inverness. Whether you choose to celebrate within the walls of a cosy Highland inn or beneath the open sky, the Highland spirit and the enduring legacy of Robert Burns will capture your heart. Head to the city's oldest pubs the Gellions for a truly authentic Scottish celebration. You could even attend the Mikeysline Burns Supper where you can enjoy a 3-course meal and live entertainment while raising money for a good cause.

5. Stirling
stirling castle in scotland

The historic city of Stirling, home to Stirling Castle, provides an enchanting setting for Burns Night celebrations. As you step into the charming city of Stirling, you can't help but be transported back in time. The cobbled streets, the ancient stone buildings, and the imposing Stirling Castle looming overhead create an atmosphere that feels almost otherworldly. It's the perfect setting for a Burns Night celebration that pays homage to Scotland's past. One of the highlights of celebrating Burns Night in Stirling is the opportunity to enjoy a traditional Burns night supper at the castle itself.

6. Dundee

celebrate burns night in scotland
Dundee, often referred to as the City of Discovery, is not only known for its rich maritime history but also for its warm hospitality and lively Burns Night celebrations. Located on the east coast of Scotland, this vibrant city is a fantastic choice for those seeking a memorable Burns Night experience that combines tradition with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Dundee's Burns Night celebrations are renowned for their warmth and inclusivity. The city's local venues often play host to traditional Burns Suppers, where you can indulge in a feast of haggis, neeps, and tatties, all accompanied by the smooth notes of Scotch whisky. It's a culinary journey that will tantalise your taste buds and leave you with a deep appreciation for Scottish cuisine. What truly sets Dundee apart is its vibrant atmosphere. The city comes alive on Burns Night, with locals and visitors alike joining in the festivities.

7. Aberdeen

men dancing in kilts on burns night
For a truly unique Burns night experience, head to bonnie Aberdeen for a Polish-Scottish mini ceilidh. This unique Burns night event fuses the rich traditions of Scotland with a Polish twist, creating an unforgettable experience that celebrates the spirit of Robert Burns in a truly international fashion. Aberdeen's all-girl Danse McCabre ceilidh band sets the stage with an enchanting blend of Scottish and Polish songs and dances. One of the highlights of this festival is the delicious blend of Scottish and Polish food. Your taste buds will be treated to a symphony of flavors as you indulge in traditional Polish delights such as bigos, pierogi, and barszcz, while also savouring the iconic Scottish fare of haggis, neeps, and tatties.

Where will you celebrate Burns Night 2025?

These Burns Night events and locations offer a diverse range of fun Scottish activities, allowing you to choose the Burns Night celebration that best suits your preferences, from elegant formal dinners to lively ceilidh dances and serene island getaways. Whichever destination you choose, you're sure to have an authentic and memorable Burns night while rubbing shoulders with the locals.

Gift a Burns Night Experience with Hotel Vouchers

eat haggis on burns night in scotland
If you know someone who has longed to celebrate Burns Night in Scotland, there's no better way to make their dream come true than by gifting them a hotel voucher. Hotelgift offers a hassle-free and thoughtful way to gift a hotel stay at some of the finest hotels in Scotland. Here's why our hotel vouchers are the perfect choice for a travel gift:

  • Flexibility: With Hotelgift, your recipient has the flexibility to choose from a wide range of hotels in various Scottish cities, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Stirling and Dundee, but also tons of incredible hotels worldwide. They can select the perfect hotel that suits their preferences and travel plans.
  • Personalisation: You can customise the gift voucher by adding a personal message, making it even more special and heartfelt.
  • Ease of Use: Our hotel vouchers are super easy to redeem. Your recipient simply visits the Hotelgift website, browses our hotels, and then enters their unique hotel voucher code at checkout to book their hotel stay!
  • Variety of Pricing Options: Hotelgift offers a range of voucher values, allowing you to find the best hotel gift within your budget. Whether you want to cover a night's stay or contribute to a longer Scottish adventure, there's an option for you.

By gifting a hotel voucher, you're not only fulfilling someone's dream of celebrating Burns Night in Scotland, but you're also giving them the freedom to plan their trip according to their preferences. It's a thoughtful way to share the joy of this cherished Scottish tradition with a loved one - perhaps someone with Scottish roots that's always dreamed of visiting? So, go ahead and make someone's Burns Night dreams a reality with Hotelgift.

But if your loved one would rather venture somewhere more exotic, they can! Our hotel vouchers can be redeemed on over 750,000 hotels worldwide. Meaning if your loved one wants to treat themselves to a hotel stay in New York, Paris or Rome, everything is possible with our hotel gifts.