When it comes to banishing the misery of January you can’t beat Burns Night. Poetry, whisky, haggis – the Scots know what they're doing. But if you can't experience it in Scotland on Jan 25, fear not; there are plenty of Scottish nooks and crannies down here to get you in the mood.
Sherlock Holmes and Gerry Rafferty’s 1978 song referencing the illustrious road spring to mind when I'm on Baker Street. The aloof sleuth was of course created by Edinburgh-born author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, while Gerry Rafferty hailed from Paisley. NW1.
The Cally takes its name from the former Royal Caledonian Asylum, an institution set up in 1815 to help Scottish kids orphaned by the Napoleonic Wars. The site is now covered by the Caledonian housing estate. Note the thistles – the Scottish national symbol – topping the railings outside. N7.
Caledonian Club, Halkin Street
Established in 1891, the Caledonian Club was founded to provide a base for Scots in London. Membership, as you can imagine, is pretty exclusive, but if you manage to get a peek in, they apparently have one of the finest collections of malts this side of Gretna Green. SW1X 7DR.
Crown Court Church of Scotland, Russell Street
Located in Covent Garden, this little church is believed to have been founded during the reign of James I. The current building dates back to 1711. WC2B 5E2.
Mac and Wild
This pair of Scottish restaurants (there are two, here in Fitzrovia and Devonshire Square) started life as street food favourite Wild Game Co. All the tartan isn’t just for show – the group has its base in the Scottish Highlands at Falls of Shin, just a couple of miles from Ardgay Game, the family’s butchery. It’s where the perfectly tender venison they serve comes from, and as you’d expect, the whisky cocktail selection is strong. W1W 7PS
Drummonds Bank, Charing Cross
Sitting opposite Nelson’s Column is Drummonds Bank which was founded in 1717 by Edinburgh-born Andrew Drummond. Peer around the corner to the side facing Admiralty Arch and you’ll spot a St Andrew’s cross. It may seem crazy now, but back in the 1960s the area beneath this plaque contained a window offering drive-through banking. SW1A 2DX.
Dundee Courier Building, Fleet Street
The Dundee Courier is the last building on Fleet Street to maintain a link with the printed press that once dominated the area. It’s now owned by DC Thomson – the Scottish company who gave us The Beano and The Dandy. EC4A 2AF.
The Edinboro Castle, Mornington Terrace
Back when the railway into Euston was being constructed, the fellas working on the project were a fearsome bunch known for their hard drinking and brawling. To curb trouble, bosses gave the workers segregated boozers – the Dublin Castle for the Irish, the Pembroke Castle for the Welsh and the Oxford Castle for the English (now the Cote Restaurant on Parkway). The Scottish lads were granted the Edinboro Castle (yep, that is how they spell it) and a very fine pub it is too. See also the Dundee Arms. NW1 7RV.
Eduardo Palozzi at Tottenham Court Road tube
Born in Leith to Italian parents, Eduardo Palozzi was an artist noted for his modern, mechanical-like style. His work is dotted around London, most famously the large statue of Sir Isaac Newton outside the British Library and the mosaics (or, sadly, what’s left of them) at Tottenham Court Road tube station. W1T 7AQ.
Great Scotland Yard
Home to the Met's HQ in the nineteenth century, Great Scotland Yard must surely be the most celebrated address in the history of policing. The name's believed to derive from the fact that a building once located here was used by Scottish diplomats when in London on business. Great Scotland Yard is also featured in ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ as a covert entry into the Ministry of Magic. SW1A 2HJ.
The London Scottish Regiment, Horseferry Road
Nicknamed the ‘Cockney Jocks’ and boasting one of the oldest pipe bands in the world, the London Scottish Regiment dates back to the 1850s. The HQ on Horseferry Road is home to a small museum (viewings must be pre-booked). SW1P 2DX.
Robert Burns statue, Victoria Embankment Gardens
The big man himself. You can pay homage to Scotland’s greatest poet in Victoria Embankment Gardens. This statue was created by Aberdonian sculptor Sir John Steel and is one of three – the other two can be found in Dundee and New York. WC2N 7RV.
Royal Mile Whiskies, Bloomsbury Street
If you can’t get into the Caledonian Club there’s always Royal Mile Whiskies on Bloomsbury Street. Its window display is strangely enticing. WC1B 3QE.
St Columba’s Church, Pont Street
London’s other Scottish church is St Columba’s, named after the Irish saint who helped bring Christianity to Scotland. The original church opened in 1884 but was destroyed during the Blitz. The present building was reconstructed in 1955 and is now a popular venue for Highland dance meet-ups. SW1X 0BD.
William Wallace Memorial, West Smithfield
It was at Smithfield Market in August 1305 that legendary Scotsman Sir William Wallace was hung, drawn and quartered after being accused of treason. Once dead, his severed head was dipped in tar and stuck on London Bridge for all to see. Brutal stuff. His memorial can now be viewed in a quiet corner of West Smithfield. EC1.Share the story