Seven places to celebrate Burns Night in Ipswich, Colchester, Gestingthorpe and Elveden

A traditional Burns Night meal of haggis, neeps and tatties

A traditional Burns Night meal of haggis, neeps and tatties - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Burns Night – a celebration of the life and poetry of Scottish bard Robert Burns – takes place on his birthday, January 25.

A traditional Burns Night supper includes a number of customs, beginning with the piping in of the guests and a welcome speech by the host.

The Selkirk grace is said before guests enjoy the soup course – usually Scotch broth, potato soup, cullen skink or cock-a-leekie.

There is then much ceremony as the haggis is piped in and then the Burns poem Address to a Haggis is read out.

Following a whisky toast to the foodstuff, everyone sits down to a dish of haggis with neeps and tatties.

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Dessert may be a traditional Scottish dish of cranachan or tipsy laird, followed by oatcakes and cheese, washed down by some more whisky, of course.

The meal is general brought to a close by some speeches.

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Of course you could prepare your own Scottish feast at home. Soup is relatively easy to prepare. Perhaps buy a ready made haggis (unless you fancy stuffing a sheep’s stomach…), and serve with neeps (mashed turnip) and tatties (mashed potato).

The dessert cranachan is a combination of raspberries, whipped cream, honey, whisky and toasted oatmeal, while tipsy laird is a whisky trifle.

Alternatively, you could book a table at a local pub, restaurant or hotel, as many venues are holding special lunches and dinners to celebrate the bard’s birthday over the next week. See below for details on just some of them.

Wild Man, Sproughton

To celebrate the life of Robert Burns, the Wild Man in Sproughton will be serving traditional Scottish haggis, neeps and tatties all week from Monday, January 23.

Call 01473 742102 to book a table.

Elveden Inn

The restaurant will be holding a Burns Night themed three-course meal on Tuesday, January 24 from 7.30pm, with Stan Hebborn addressing the haggis.

The event costs £23.95 and the special menu includes dishes such as haggis Scotch egg, poached smoked haddock with Stornoway black pudding mash and a trio of desserts – Irn-bru Jaffa, tea cake and whisky parfait.

Book by calling 01842 890876.

Colchester Institute

Join the local mayor for a Burns Night celebration at the Balkerne Restaurant at Colchester Institute on Wednesday, January 25, from 7pm.

The evening includes a four-course menu, a master of ceremonies and bagpipe players. Tartan-wearing is welcome, but not compulsory!

Tickets cost £30, including a welcome drink. Go to to book.

Chapters Restaurant, Ipswich

Chapters Restaurant, at the Ipswich Institute, is holding a Burns Night supper on Wednesday, January 25, starting at 7pm.

Enjoy the traditional piping in and address to the haggis, before a two-course meal of haggis (vegetarian option available), neeps and tatties, and dessert, plus a ‘wee dram’ for the toast. There will be Scottish music and verse to round off the evening.

Tickets cost £18 and members may bring non-member guests. Call the restaurant on 01473 287721 to book.

The Swan, Westerfield

Head to The Swan at Westerfield for dinner on Burns Night, Wednesday, January 25, for a three-course menu of traditional Scottish dishes.

Booking is essential – reserve your table on 01473 251447.

The Pheasant Pub with Rooms

The Pheasant Pub with Rooms in Gestingthorpe is holding its annual Burns Night supper on Friday, January 27, when you can expect haggis, neeps, tatties and a wee dram. A full menu with a Scottish theme will be available on the night.

Call 01787 465010 to book.

Wivenhoe House

Guests are invited to wear evening dress – or their finest tartan! – for Wivenhoe House’s Burns Night supper on Saturday, January 28, at 7pm.

After being welcomed by a piper, you can enjoy a four-course feast and all of the traditional ceremonies.

Dishes on the menu include Orkney crab and salmon roulade with avocado crème fraiche, haggis, neeps and tatties, roast fillet of Highland beef with rumbledethumps and whisky sauce and to tipsy laird.

Tickets cost £39.95 and can be booked by calling 01206 863666.

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