It might be quite a distance from Scotland but Essex still likes to mark the annual tribute to one of its most famous sons.

Burns’ Night celebrates the life of the Scottish poet Robert Burns and is usually held around his birthday, January 25.

Despite being a major event in Scotland, it has enjoyed a surge in celebrations in the UK and across Essex where a number of events are held.

As well as the traditional haggis, the menu usually includes a host of Scottish dishes such as Cock-a-leekie soup, smoked salmon, neeps and tatties, cranachan and clootie pudding, so named after a type of material used in its creation.

Traditional events almost always include the piping in of the haggis and the reciting of Burns’s poetry.

Wivenhoe House Hotel, in Colchester, is among those in North Essex digging out its Tartan and putting on an event to mark the occasion.

Theirs will include a traditional three-course feast and a host of traditions carried out as part of the popular occasion.

The Burns’ Night Supper is on Saturday from 7pm and will begin by diners being greeted by a piper before enjoying three courses of Scottish fare intertwined with traditional Burns night ceremonies.

It is the second year the hotel has run the event.

Diners will get the choice of traditional cock-a-leekie soup or smoked salmon to start and haggis, neeps and tatties or ballotine of chicken for their main course.

Desserts will continue the traditional theme with clootie dumpling and drambuie custard or Cranachan, usually made from a mixture of whipped cream, whisky, honey and fresh raspberries with toasted oatmeal soaked overnight in a little bit of whisky.

Oliver Brown, general manager at Wivenhoe House Hotel says Burns Night is a chance to celebrate when spirits might be a bit low after Christmas.

“We all need something to lift our spirits in January and Burns’ Night is a fantastic opportunity to get together and celebrate.

“This is the second year Wivenhoe House has hosted a Burns’ Night dinner and we honour all the traditions that make this event so special, whether you have Scottish roots or not.”

Whisky is an important ingredient of a Burns’ Night event, featuring in much of its dishes and also as an accompaniment.

The Clootie, a type of material which is wrapped around the fruit pudding when it is made, does not make an appearance on the Yew Tree at Great Horkesley’s menu this year.

The popular village pub holds an annual event in honour of Burns’ birthday and this year the four-course tribute will be on the actual date, January 25, which is on Monday.

Instead of Clootie, diners will be able to choose between their take on Cranachan, spotted dick or salted caramel apple crumble.

Their starter options are Cullen Skink, a creamy fish soup made with smoked haddock and fresh cream, pork duck and orange pate or eggs royale, featuring oak-smoked Scottish Salmon from the award-winning St James Smokehouse.

The traditional haggis neeps and tatties, also known as swede and potatoes, forms the second course all on its own before a choice of braised ham hock in an orange and whisky sauce, wild Scottish venison or chicken supreme are the choice for main course.

* The Three course dinner at Wivenhoe House cost £39.95 per person. Tickets are available via Wivenhoe House reception on 01206 863666 or via

* The Yew Tree, Great Horkesley’s Burns Night supper is £19.99 per person.Contact them on 01206 273450 to book.


A BUMPER number of Burns Nights will also be taking place across south Essex too so dig out your tartan and get set for whisky galore...

* The Pipe of Port in the heart of Southend will be hosting a Burns Night supper with Steve Jones on Monday January 25. Entertainment, including a piper, will be laid on during the evening while the menu will include Scotch Broth or Kipper Pate to start with followed by Haggis, of course plus plenty more with a wee dram to toast the wee beastie. Tickets are £35. Call for availability on 01702 614606

*The Crooked Billet, in High Street, Leigh, will be hosting a Burns Night supper special, with traditional dinner, a wee dram and poetry from January 21-25. Diners can tuck into a two course meal from £12.95 or three courses for £15.95 including a 25ml dram of Glenfiddich whisky.

Of course you’ll be served haggis with neeps and tatties and it wouldn’t be a proper Burns Night meal without a delicious cranachan dessert to finish. 01702 480289 ý The Bear Inn at Stock, near Billericay is hosting a Burns Night event on Sunday January 24. The evening will kick off with a traditional Scotsman to pipe in the haggis. Tickets are £40 per person. Call 01277 829 100 to book.

* Billericay Lawn Tennis Club is having a Burns Night single malt whisky tasting event this Saturday (January 23) at 7pm at their clubhouse in Blunts Wall Road, Billericay. There will be a selection of 10 single malt whiskies to be enjoyed as well as haggis, neeps and tatties of course. Tickets cost £30 per person to include food and whiskey tasting or £10 for a food only ticket. Email or jlewis@wardellarmstrong.

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