Robert Burns travelled far and wide in Scotland during his lifetime. As we approach the annual celebration of his birthday, here are just a few spots around the country where you can pay homage to the man

The distance between the birthplace of Robert Burns in Alloway and his resting place in St Michael’s Churchyard in Dumfries is a relatively short drive of 90 minutes today. 
The journey took Burns a lifetime, but what a lifetime. His 37 years took him around his beloved Scotland and the work took him into immortality. If Burns was to take off around the country he would find almost 30 monuments, statues and memorials to him – from the north to south and east to west.

It’s true to say that the most significant stop in his life was Mauchline in East Ayrshire where he made a home. No Burns pilgrimage is complete without a visit to the town,
Burns wrote many of his best-loved poems here and it was also in Mauchline that he met Jean Armour, daughter of a town stonemason, known as the Belle of Mauchline, and his great love. A cottage in Castle Street where Burns lived is now the Burns House Museum, where there are manuscripts by the Bard’s hand, as well as other objects and publications that tell the story of his time in the town.
Showing the continuing fascination with the man and the impact he still has on the culture there are also contemporary artworks by the likes of Timorous Beasties and Calum Colvin. Of course there will be a celebration of the anniversary of his birth in January, the Burns Birthday, but there are events throughout the year.


Mauchline is also home to one of the most active and community-focused Burns Clubs. Apart from meeting twice a month, the Burns Club initiated the ongoing Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme. This will make Mauchline an even more attractive stop on the great Burns tour.
Heading north in East Ayrshire, the Burns Monument Centre in Kilmarnock has been the location of many romantic weddings in the dedicated room or a boardwalk overlooking Kay Park. This is also the place to find out about the history of the area, from the biggest event to the most local characters, from the family history collections, which have newspapers, maps, historic photographs, books and many other resources that bring the area’s history to life.


Aside from the towering statue in George Square (main picture, above) that has watched over Glasgow’s cultural renaissance since 1877, there are several connections in the city with Burns. Burns is reported to have visited the city on five  occasions. Two of those stays are commemorated on a plaque on the Marks & Spencer store on Argyle Street. This was the Black Bull Inn and Burns is known to have been a guest there on at least two of his five 
stays in the city. So where else did he stay? It’s thought that he stopped over, at least once, at the Saracen’s Head, which still stands on Gallowgate (then the Gallow’s Gate).


Burns spent time in Edinburgh when we was being lauded by high society. He was first published here and met some of Scotland’s great thinkers.
There’s a plaque on the wall in Sciennes House Place to mark the only meeting of Burns and Sir Walter Scott, even though Scott was only a boy of 15 at the time. Also in attendance at the house of Professor Adam Fergusson, were Adam Smith, Dugald Stewart and Joseph Black.
Another haunt of Burns was another place to set the world to rights, the White Hart Inn in the Grassmarket. Of course there is a monument to the national bard here, a classic circular building on Regent Road near Calton Hill but the most enduring image of the bard found in the city. The visualisation of Burns that has gone around the world, Naysmyth’s portrait for the opening papers of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (Edinburgh Edition) is also in the city, at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.



This backdrop to this monument to Burns is perhaps unparalleled. Burns sits surveying this glorious Perthshire location, notepad in hand and composing his song lyric, written to a pre-existing melody, The Birks of Aberfeldy. He visited as part of his tour of the Highlands with his friend William Nicoll. Burns sits at the beginning of the walk up the steep gorge of the Moness burn, which is best seen in autumn and winter in some ways, to see the waterfalls thunder. Obviously the beauty of the scenery attracts walkers but the association with Burns and the song brings even more walkers to see what the Bard saw.


Another essential stop on the Burns tour. Apart from the mausoleum in St Michael’s Churchyard, some of the final years of Burns can be experienced at Ellisland Farm and Museum, open from Spring each year. He and Jean moved here in 1788 and it seems this was his time to settle down as a family man with a job and children, Still, from the choice of three farms offered, he chose Ellisland as “the poet’s choice”.
From Ellisland the family moved into the town of Dumfries and at the Robert Burns House in Burns Street, we can see where the final years of his life were spent and where he died on 1796. The most dedicated can log on to to follow self-guided trails in and around the town with downloadable leaflets that mean you don’t miss a thing.

Even though Burns only made one visit to the city in 1787, almost 100 years later in 1880 around 100,000 Dundonians gathered on Meadowside to witness the unveiling of a statue, (inset above), to the Bard by Scotland’s leading sculptor of the time, Sir John Steell. It sits outside what was then the relatively new building, The Albert Institute, which is now The McManus Galleries. 
It shows him looking up, thinking of his lost love Mary Campbell, or Highland Mary.
Now it seems he’s looking up at the DC Thomson building, home of The Beano and behind him a statue of Oor Wullie appears to be aiming his pea shooter at Burns.