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Burns Night

14th January 2019

The end of January each year marks the moment when we remember Robert Burns – an 18th century poet who has left a lasting impression on society even today. Still celebrated more than 200 years after his death, just who is Robert Burns and why is he so revered around the world?

Robert Burns is widely considered to be the national poet of Scotland, writing poems and songs about everything from love to politics during the 1700s. A lyricist with a huge repertoire, he is best known for Auld Lang Syne – a poem that was turned into the song we still sing on New Year’s Eve each year. His words resonated so much with his followers that five years after his death, a group of Burns’ friends decided to host a Burns Supper to remember their dear friend. This meal was such a success that a Burns Club was soon formed and Burns Night celebrations became an annual occurrence, hosted on the poet’s birthday – 25 January – each year.



The most traditional Burns Night events follow a very specific order of rituals, poetry, food and toasts. After guests are greeted, the host makes a welcoming speech before a traditional Scottish thanksgiving grace is recited. A soup course is then served, before the haggis is brought into the dining room while someone recites a poem by Burns – Address to Haggis. The haggis is then served as the main course, typically along with Scottish stalwarts such as potato and leeks. Afterwards, there is dessert, cheese, coffee and a whole series of whisky toasts. The evening comes to an end with all guests singing Auld Lang Syne.


Marking this amazing Scottish tradition is a little like stepping back in time while celebrating the life and works of one of the world’s literary greats. That’s exactly why we love to celebrate Burns Night at Galvin at The Athenaeum, our restaurant by Michelin-star chefs the Galvin brothers. We’ve created a very special Scottish-inspired menu for the occasion, which includes Orkney scallops, Loch Linnhe prawn bisque, haggis, neeps and tatties, with a warm Dundee cake served for dessert. Each course will be paired with small batch whiskies hailing from Scotland, while the Brand Ambassador from Elements of Islay will be hosting the evening.

And of course, if you feel like one last drink for the road at the end of the evening, we invite you to peruse our collection of 100 whisky bottlings in our bar. To keep the whisky tradition going for a few days longer, we’re also running a Drink Up London event from 25 to 27 January. Simply purchase a wristband for an ‘Elements of a Cocktail’ whisky drink at The BAR at The Athenaeum.

Join us and raise a glass to Robert Burns!


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Following the latest government advice, we have made the decision to introduce temporary restrictions at The Athenaeum. Please click here to read more.