The 25th January is celebrated each year to commemorate the anniversary of Scotland’s national poet and bard Robert Burns birth. And this is known as Burns Night.
Throughout Scotland you can attend a Burns Supper which is an evening on or around the 25th January celebrating Burns’ life and work, here you will have a meal of Haggis, poetry recitals and perhaps a ceilidh.
Robert Burns wrote many fantastic poems and songs, have you sang the song below at a New Years event?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And auld lang syne!
For auld lang syne, my dear, For auld lang syne. We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, For auld lang syne.
[‘Auld Lang Syne’ , 1788]
On 25th January and indeed throughout the year, you can visit Burns Cottage in Alloway, South Ayrshire, Burns Cottage was built by his father in 1757 and where Robert Burns was born on 25th January 1759 and lived until he was seven. The cottage is a simple two-roomed clay and thatched building with a stable attached. His family shared a bed and you can still see this when you visit today. When visiting Burns Cottage, you will also see the kitchen and the table where Burns received his earliest schooling.
‘Wee sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie, O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!’
[‘To a Mouse’, 1785]
The cottage is part of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, cross over the road and walk the Poets Path which connects the Cottage with the main museum site. Along the way you will spot creative ironwork signage by Timorous Beasties which depict scenes from Burns’ Tam o’ Shanter. Also look out for Look out for Kenny Hunter’s decidedly not-so ‘wee mouse’ made from cast iron and, a little further along, Jake Harvey’s larger-than-life granite haggis!
The massive building ahead of you is the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum which houses over 5,000 Burns artefacts including his handwritten manuscripts and offers a truly unique encounter with Scotland’s most famous poet. Wander around the museum at your leisure and immerse yourself in the work, life and legacy, there is also an array if audio visual aids, to help interpret the poems and songs.
Also take time to explore the beautiful village of Alloway, a Burns follower or just someone that appreciates beauty- then enjoy the following at your leisure-
After Burns’ death, a committee made up of some of his most ardent supporters began to make plans to memorialise the great poet. And the result was a 21m (70ft) high Grecian-style temple, designed by Sir Thomas Hamilton Junior and complete with nine pillars representing muses from Greek mythology. You can climb up the monument to marvel and the views of Alloway and surrounding landscape, including the landscaped gardens.
‘Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg, And win the key-stane o’ the brig;’
[Tam o’ Shanter, 1790]
From the monument and gardens, you will see the pretty 15th century cobblestone bridge Brig o’ Doon which spans the River Doon. Not only is there lovely views but actually the bridge is the setting of one of Burns’ most famous works- Tam o’ Shanter. It is the bridge that Tam o’ Shanter raced across on his horse Meg, fleeing from the witches and warlocks
‘When, glimmering thro’ the groaning trees, Kirk-Aloway seem’d in a bleeze;’
[Tam o’ Shanter, 1790]
Passing by- or stopping in at the Brig o’ Doon Hotel, cross over to the left heading back to Burns’ Cottage and stop in at Alloway Auld Kirk here you can visit the graves of Burns’ father and younger sister in this 16th-century church ruin. More of Tam
o’ Shanter features in the graveyard ‘where ghaists and houlets nightly cry ’
Address: Robert Burns Birthplace Museum Murdoch's Lane Alloway Ayr KA7 4PQ
Museum Opening Times: From 1000 daily until 1700 – 1730 (check NTS website for up to date timings)
Burns Cottage Opening Times: From 1100 daily, last admission 1630 *note that Burns Cottage is closed for conservation works from January 31st to April 2020
Price: National Trust for Scotland (NTS) members go free or £10.50 for adults
NTS joint yearly membership is £102, and there are hundreds of other sites to visit
Read: Burns Poetry before, during and after your visit. We picked up a copy of ‘The Complete Poems and Songs by Robert Burns’ at the museum gift shop!