Burns Night is almost here and if you’re not Scottish you’re probably wondering why or how the people of Scotland celebrate it. We’ve covered it all in this post. Plus a list of local Stirling businesses where you can celebrate this special Scottish holiday (restaurants and pubs).
Keep reading to find out how and where to join in the fun of a special Ceilidh dance as well.
Who is Robert Burns and what is a Haggis?
January 25th is an evening of great festivities in honour of the Scottish poet Robert Burns. The national poet was born in the Aryshire town of Alloway on the 25th of January 1759 and died in Dumfries on the 21st of July 1796. Famous for his composition of Auld Lang Syne, another one of Burn’s poems (and its muse) is the main event in a traditional Burns Night.
Address to a Haggis is written in Robert Burns’ linguistic stylings of Old Scots. This unique, and difficult style is brought to life in the ceremonial serving of Haggis during a traditional Burns Night Supper along with ‘Neeps and ‘Tatties (Turnips and Potatoes) and a dram of Whisky. Have a listen to Address to a Haggis performed by Gareth Morrison to admire the complexity of Burns’ writing style. Don’t worry if you can’t understand all of it, we have included a translation of Address to a Haggis.
If you are still wondering what a Haggis is and how it has become an infamous association with Scottish celebrations and cuisine, you may encounter various explanations as to what is a Haggis.
Some like to play a friendly jest with tourists and tell the story of the long-furred and lopsided-legged creature that scurries around the Scottish Highlands avoiding the nets of hunters.
As for what is served on your dinner plate during Buns Night, we can explain. Haggis, in Scottish Gaelic Taigeis (Tagish), is a savoury pudding consisting of minced sheep pluck (heart, lungs, and liver), onion, oatmeal, salt, fats, and stock. Traditionally, this mixture is then encased within a sheep’s stomach to be boiled or steam cooked. Today, it is encased within an artificial casing like sausage links. While the ingredients may sound less than pleasing, we encourage you to try Haggis and you may be surprised at the warm and rich flavours that leave you wanting more.
Now that you know more about Robert Burns and the illusive Haggis, we illustrate how you may celebrate your Burns Night either at home or within the community by listing shops and grocers within Stirling City Centre that supplies the necessities to host your own Burns Night Supper, or the restaurants and pubs that are offering Burns Night specials and activities.
Burns Night Events
The Tolbooth Café Concerts
Everyone loves a free event, so why not head over to the Tolbooth Café on Saturday, January 21st for a free cafe concert? Commencing at 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm, “An Alternative Burns Event” with Stirling Makar, Laura Fyfe.
This event is a first come, first serve event, so arrive early and enjoy listening to the life and adventures of Robert Burns.
Find the Tolbooth at Jail Wynd, Stirling FK8 1DE.
Stirling School of English Burns’ Night Supper and Ceilidh
The best way to finish off your Burns Night Supper is to join in on some good craic of a Scottish Ceilidh dance. The Stirling School of English is opening their doors to the wider community to join students and their families with their Burns Night celebration on Thursday the 26th of January, 2023.
The Stirling School of English “is a voluntary organisation that aims to provide low-cost English language tuition to all whose first language is not English, regardless of ability, ethnicity, and political or religious beliefs. We try to be as flexible as possible to meet students’ needs while maintaining a high standard of learning.”
This community connection event is to be held at Albert Halls, located at Dumbarton Rd, Stirling FK8 2QL, from 6:30 pm-9:45 pm. Tickets can be purchased at the door for £10, or in advance for £8 by emailing email@example.com. Follow Stirling School of English Facebook to learn more about the evening’s itinerary.
Eating Out and Burns Night Events
Many of Stirling’s restaurants and pubs partake in some form of a classic Burns Night. We list the participating businesses along with special events hosted in Stirling City Centre.
The Golden Lion Hotel
Walk the in the footsteps of Robern Burns himself and visit the Golden Lion Hotel. Burns stayed at the hotel in August of 1787 after a visit to Stirling Castle. The hotel is where he etched his lament over the state of the castle in the widow of his room. The words became known as the “Stirling Lines.” These words are written on a plaque outside of the hotel or you can hear them yourself if you follow Street Stories Stirling – an augmented reality art trail which also includes and artwork of Robert Burns narrating Stirling Lines, all you need to do to hear the poem is download an app called Street Stories AR.
While visiting the Golden Lion Hotel, make a reservation at Robert Burns’ Cronies Bar and Restaurant.
Enjoy either Haggis bob bons or the selection of Chicken and Haggis. But make sure you leave room enough for Sticky Toffee Pudding!
Brea Scottish Restaurant has been awarded the “Restaurant of the Year-Scotland” at the Food Awards Scotland 2022. This cosy restaurant brings a fine dining experience to traditional Scottish cuisines, including a Haggis supper.
Diners can spend an evening relaxing with delicious food, Scottish music, and a selection of Scottish drinks at Brea. For Burns Night, you can also enjoy a Poultry Balmoral wrapped in Haggis (enquire with your server if the poultry will be chicken or turkey). Book your table with Brea’s online booking services.
Nicky Tams Bar and Bothy
Nicky Tams has been a place of community gathering since 1718. With such rich community history, the bar and brothy is a perfect place to spend your Burns Night. Enjoy either Haggis Bon Bons or a supper of Veggie or regular Haggis with ‘Neeps, ‘Tatties, and whisky sauce.
Wednesday nights are also Open Mic Night after 9 pm, which is perfect if you are wanting to practice your rendition of a Burns poem!
Find Nicky Tams at 29 Baker St, Stirling FK8 1BJ.
Nooch Bar & Kitchen
Stirling’s first fully vegan restaurant is hosting a week of Scottish Specials to celebrate Robert Burns.
The Crossed Peels – JD Wetherspoons
The Crossed Peels offers locals and tourists the opportunity to relax and watch the world pass by on both Baker Street and Spittal Street. This spacious restaurant is perfect for a community gathering such as Burns Night.
For the week of Burns Night, The Crossed Peels will be serving a Burns Supper menu. On the 25th of January, the restaurant will be hosting a Whisky Tasting to debut the new line of Johnnie Walker Blue whisky along with other Scotch. The tasting will commence at 6 pm.
Pop into 8 Spittal St, Stirling FK8 1AT to enjoy a lively evening with friends and fellow whisky lovers.
The Kilted Kangaroo
Stirling’s local Aussie pub is joining in the festivities of Burns Night with a Burns Supper menu served before 8:30pm and a Pub-Quiz following at 9pm.
Kilted Kangaroo is located at 9 Upper Craigs, Stirling FK8 2DG.
Oscar’s Wine Bar
Join Oscar’s Wine Bar on Sunday, January 29th , 2023, for an evening of Scottish fun with their “Big Scottish Knees Up” event.
Enjoy Scottish Dancers, traditional Scottish music, games, and of course, amazing food and drinks.
Oscar’s Wine Bar is located in the heart of Stirling’s historical Arcade building at 22-28, Arcade, Stirling FK8 1AX.
The Curly Coo Bar
Established in Stirling in 2013, the Curly Coo Bar has been expanding its collection of over 130 malt whiskies and is a must-see pub in Stirling. I mean, how much more Scottish can you get for Burns Night then at a pub with a name like Curly Coo that specialises in whisky?!
The Curly Coo has spent the last 9 years building an amazing clientele creating a real community feeling within the pub. Mandy, the pub owner, is more than happy to share her passion for whiskies and help you pick out the perfect dram. Follow the Curly Coo Facebook to stay up to date with special events held at the Coo. Clear your calendar for Saturday the 11th of March for the “Wee Whisky Fest.”
The Curly Coo is located at 51 Barnton St, Stirling FK8 1HH.
Creating your own Burns Night Supper
Hugh Black and Sons Quality Butchers
For the main component of your Burns Night Supper, purchase your Haggis from Hugh Black and Sons Quality Butchers. This independent and family-owned butcher has been supplying customers with locally sourced, quality meat since 1987.
Alexander Gray Butcher
Alexander Gray is a family-operated butcher in Stirling City Centre. The shop has recently received the honour of being nominated as one of “Alyn’s (Alyn Snith MP for Stirling) Local Heroes.”
The nomination was brought forward by one of the shops’ faithful patrons with recognition for Alexander Gray’s employees going the extra mile for their customers.
For your Burns Night Supper, pop in for your Haggis. The shop currently has a selection of smaller Haggis but will also have prepared 2-pound packages for larger entertaining numbers.
If you are looking for a vegetarian option, Veggie-Haggis can be found at larger supermarkets so everyone can enjoy the meal.
Alongside the Haggis, ‘Neeps and ‘Tatties are essential for your Burns Night Supper. Head over to Stirling’s local greengrocers Ginger Roots for locally sourced produce.
Ginger Roots is open at 79 Port St, Stirling FK8 2ER where owner Mark is ready to supply your home with fresh, seasonal fruits and veg. You can shop Ginger Roots’ website for next-day collection with orders placed before 5 pm, or for home delivery services that go out on Fridays.
Read more about the shop in our Welcome Ginger Roots blog post.
The Scottish Gantry
Address to a Haggis is traditionally completed with a toast of fine Scottish Whisky and what better place to purchase a bottle for the occasion than at the Scottish Gantry. The Gantry has been open in Stirling since 2017 and supplies over 170 whiskies along with hundreds of other beverages.
The Scottish Gantry conveniently stocks a Robert Burns Single Malt Whisky available at Stirling Arcade, 1, Murray Pl, Stirling FK8 1AX. You can browse the options on the Scottish Gantry website and stay connected with any new products by following the Scottish Gantry Facebook and Scottish Gantry Instagram.
If you are looking for some sweet treats to serve with your evening teas and coffee, then head over to Clan Artisan at 56 Port St, Stirling FK8 2LJ. Clan Artisan, along with their lovely staff, opened their doors in Stirling City Centre in the Autumn of 2022 and have been welcoming people into their giftshop ever since.
The shop offers locally sourced products such as shortbread, Scottish tablet, coffee, chocolates and so much more. For this January 25th, Clan Artisan has brought together their “Burns Collection” to assist you and your family in the festivities.
If you are spending the night in with friends or an evening in the city, help make sure everyone arrives home safely by not driving under the influence and book in your taxi.
Stirling Alba Cabs: 01786 595025
Stirling Taxis: 01786 816236
Riverside Taxis: 01786 500123