The Edinburgh Military Tattoo – A Spectacle Not To Be Missed!

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Image c/o Edinburgh Blog

The modern, vibrant event known as the Edinburgh Military Tattoo has been in existence since 1949. In this context, the word, ‘tattoo’ is derived from the Dutch for ‘last orders’. Adopted by the British Army, it became a signal for tavern keepers to stop serving so that soldiers could return at a reasonable hour. From the 18th century, it became synonymous with the last call of the day and then, subsequently, a form of ceremonial entertainment involving military musicians.

It’s Festival Time

It has come a long way since then and, as it takes place during the month of August, it is now seen as part of the wider Edinburgh Festival. Every year well over 200,000 people view the proceedings from the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle and it has sold out consistently over the last decade. Only the ‘Fringe’ is a bigger part of the Festival and with just under a third of the visitors from Scotland, just over a third from the rest of the United Kingdom and the rest from overseas, the Tattoo is a truly continental experience.

Edinburgh is a tourist destination in its own right and the capital city and custodian of art, culture, history, and sense of duty. It is popular all year round, but in August especially so. Therefore it is important when considering accommodation to carefully choose one of the many Edinburgh hotels that are so welcoming to its visitors. The Royal Military Tattoo is at the focal point of the summer’s entertainment.

Getting Ready

The Tattoo is broadcast in over 30 countries to an audience of more than 100 million. Edinburgh Castle provides the stunning backdrop for this grand spectacle. It has moved with the times too. Fully ‘state of the art’ sound and graphics, subtle yet imaginative lighting, and a spectacular 90-minute fireworks show are all planned.

A Celebration for the Commonwealth

There will be military displays and colorful tradition with music from the Massed Military Bands and the Combined Services. The Commonwealth is well represented with pipe bands and performers from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada adding their own particular talents to this rich extravaganza.

The sheer scale of the event really needs to be experienced. Across the 25 shows that make up the Tattoo, more than 1,000 performers and musicians from around the world bring sound, color, and theatre to this unique city, touching hearts and minds along the way.

In addition, what better way to finish each day than by the haunting tones of a lone piper, set high up in the castle ramparts playing a suitable lament? Scotland has proven that it knows how to present an occasion with pageantry and pomp and to do it exceptionally well.

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Francesca B

by Francesca B

Francesca is a freelance writer who loves to write about her travel experiences and share her knowledge of great destinations around the world. She currently writes on behalf of Lodging World, who specialize in Edinburgh hotels.

One Response to “The Edinburgh Military Tattoo – A Spectacle Not To Be Missed!”



What a great article, and not what I was expecting. Will have to work around a visit to Scotland during the Tattoo.

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