From 27 November to 8 December, the UK Embassy in Havana is celebrating British Culture Week and like in previous editions, they’re going all out with a series of exciting events scheduled. There’s one for every day! Whether you plan a stay in a Havana casa particular this week or the next or are already there and want to be part of the action, this is the blog to read to find out where to be when in order to make the most of British Culture Week in Havana. This year the festivities have a Scottish accent and have been aptly titled “Semana de la Cultura Británica: Con Acento Escocés.”
Scotland in Havana
This year Scotland is taking centre stage in the cultural UK-Cuba celebrations and it all started on 26th November with a Scottish bagpiper accompanied by a Scottish dancer parading down Old Havana’s colourful cobblestone streets to delight audiences of passers-by with their Celtic tunes and hypnotic sounds.
And they will be back for more throughout British culture week so if you’re staying in an Old Havana casa particular you might hear the sounds drifting through your room’s windows.
— UKinCuba (@UKinCuba) November 27, 2019
Scottish chef Gary McLean also landed in Cuba with his students to give a masterclass for Cuban chefs, introducing them to Scottish flavours and playing mix-up with some Cuban ingredients to blend two delicious culinary cultures in one spectacular cook show. The chefs who attended the event included those from private restaurants (paladares) and state-owned ones, so you can look forward to Cuban restaurants incorporating some of the Scottish flavours and cooking techniques used. Yay for cultural fusion!
The time for cultural exchange came on Friday when dance students at the Cuban National School of Arts in Havana took a master class in Scottish dancing.
There will be more to come and all themed around Scotland, for the full schedule of activities scroll down to the bottom of the post
Do pop in! Enter off-limits areas like a king or queen
The magnificent mansion that houses the British Embassy and Consulate in Cuba will open its doors to the public on 2nd December. But we don’t mean just open its doors like any regular day for consular procedures, we mean its most private, usually completely off-limits rooms, will be open to the public for one day and one hour only. Yes, the British Residence in Havana, where the future king of England and his wife recently stayed, will be open for you to peruse and look around.
Mark this date because peaking inside this historic building is a rare opportunity and you’ll only be able to do so for one hour, between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. You´ll have to sign up for it first and in advance, by emailing UKinCubaOpenHouse@gmail.com. You´ll also need to wait for confirmation giving you the green light to attend. Whether you’re a curious British tourist in Havana, this is an opportunity not to miss. Very few people, other than heads of state and prominent politicians, get to go beyond the consulate doors and explore the embassy residence in depth. It’s a beautiful place, and it can’t hurt to learn a bit of its history and its previous owners. Go for it!
British Culture Week in Havana – the full cultural calendar!
Planning a Cuba holiday in a casa particular during the first week of December? Already there and want to soak up the celebration of everything British in Havana during British Culture Week? Then this is the calendar you need to read.
Saturday 30th November
- Workshop in Muraleando at 10 a.m. Full address: Community Project: Muraleando, Calle Mercedes Muñoz, entre Céspedes y Aguilera, Lawton, 10 de Octubre, Havana
- Scottish cinema, “Trainspottting” screening at 5 p.m. at Cine 23 y 12 in Vedado, Havana.
- Scottish DJ, Denis Sulta in session at 9 p.m. Join the party mood at Parque de Linea y L, Vedado, Havana
Sunday 1st December
- Concert by traditional Scottish band “Cauldbums” at Submarino Amarillo. Full Address:Calle 17, entre 4 y 6, Vedado, Havana
Monday 2nd December
- Open doors afternoon at the British Residence (scroll up to see more details about this event). Full address: Calle 15, esquina a Paseo, Vedado, Havana
Tuesday 3rd December
- An afternoon chat with Scottish singer Marianne McGregor at the Escuela Nacional de Arte.
Thursday 5th and Friday 6th
- “Ceilidh” by Compañía Otro Lado. On at 8:30 p.m. at El Ciervo Encantado. Full address: Calle 18, entre Linea y 11, Vedado, Havana
Friday 6th, Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th December
- “Macbeth” at Teatro de la Luna in Vedado. On at 8:30 p.m. Sala Llauradó, Casona de Línea. Full Address: Calle 13, entre Gy F, Vedado Havana
Saturday 7th December
- Scottish jazzist Marianne McGreggor in concert at Fabrica de Are Cubano, Nave 4. On at 11 p.m. Full address: Calle 26, esq. a Calle 11, Vedado, Havana
Sunday 8th December
- Descarga “AMPM” with Scottish Accent at La Guanábana Mecánica. On at 6 p.m. Full address: Calle 27 entre Paseo y 2, Vedado, Havana
Where to stay during British Culture Week in Havana?
It looks like much of the action surrounding British Culture week will be taking place in the centric Vedado neighbourhood of Havana, otherwise known as downtown. We’ve got fantastic Havana casa particulares in Vedado to choose from, all within walking distance to many of the cultural week’s events, some closer, for others you might have to walk a bit longer.
As part of British Culture Week, some activities and public performances will also be taking place in Old Havana (where the bagpipers descended for their walking performance on cobblestone streets) and you might spot pop-up events in the city’s oldest part beyond those we’ve mentioned here. In Old Havana our selection of casas particulares is even bigger. You’ll be truly spoilt for choice!