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How to organise Burns Supper on a budget

Posted 22 January 2013

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Burns Night is a time for merriment and celebration for Scots all around the world. We've put together this guide to help you host your own Burns Supper without spending a fortune.

Burns Night is a time for merriment and celebration for Scots all around the world. There's haggis, tartan, dancing, poetry, neeps, tatties and (just maybe) a bit of whisky.

If you've offered (or been chosen) to host a traditional Burns Supper at your home on 25th January, you'll have a lot to organise - and potentially a lot to pay for!

So how can you host a great Burns Supper that everyone will enjoy, without breaking the bank? Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you*.

The food

The food is obviously the centrepiece of a good Burns Supper - and the main event is the haggis.

Now, you may be perfectly able to find all the ingredients and make your own haggis - and more power to you if this is true. Some, however, may find this too difficult or time consuming.

These Hall's haggises from ASDA are two for £3. If you're catering for a larger group of people, buying more than one of these haggises can work out a lot cheaper than buying a bigger haggis from a speciality butcher.

But if you want to buy directly from a Scottish business with a long history of haggises, MacLay's Master Butcher has a range of different haggises on this page - and offers free shipping around the UK. There's even vegetarian haggis available.

Over at Tesco, you can pick up four tins of Baxter's cock-a-leekie soup for £3 for your starter (offer valid until 12.02.13).

Your mashed neeps and tatties (i.e. turnips and potatoes) can be bought relatively cheaply from your local supermarket or grocers - we're sure you won't need any help there.

For afters, this clootie dumpling from Davidsons specialist Scottish butcher serves 3 and costs £2.99. If you're serving a larger group you can always buy more than one - pretty useful, as it works out as under £1 per person.

The drink

Where would Burns Night be without the taste of Scotch whisky?

At ASDA, there's 70cl of Whyte & Mackay Scotch Whisky for £12. Of course, you can encourage your guests to bring their own Scotch of choice, especially if they're a bit particular about it.

And what could be more Scottish than some good old Irn Bru for the designated drivers? Especially when you can get two 2-litre bottles for £3.


With the food and drink flowing, your guests will need entertaining - often, with some traditional Burns Night songs, poems, music and speeches. has a timetable for the evening - including links to all the poems and speeches that are traditionally read out. However, if you want your speakers/poets/singers to read from an actual book, the Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns is just £4.99 from Sainsbury's.

And while you're at Sainsbury's, the Rough Guide to Scottish Music is only £5.99. You could have it playing throughout the festivities for a real Scottish feel. Alternatively, if you're lucky enough to know a real-life bagpipe player, you could ask them to do the honours…

To find out more about budgeting, why not have a look at our 5 tips for spotting super supermarket deals.

*All prices and offers in this article were correct on 17.01.13, but are subject to change or removal at any time at the retailer's discretion. Cost is based on online prices, so it may be different in-store.

by Kyri Levendi

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