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Five reasons to visit the Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo

August is a time for celebrating in Edinburgh, throughout the month the city becomes a global hub for theatre, music, art, comedy, circus, dance, and everything in between. In fact, there’s often so much to see and do that it’s hard to cut through the noise and work out what should be on your ‘definite’ to-do list – especially if you’re working to a tight time budget.

Here are just a few reasons to make sure that the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is on that list – we promise you won’t regret it.

Photo credit, Ben Thompson

1. The setting

Edinburgh is a beautiful city steeped with fascinating, complex history, making it the perfect backdrop for the greatest show on earth, especially one that celebrates and commemorates that history and brings it to life through music and dance. Plus with buzz and bustle of the Edinburgh festivals going on below, it is a truly magical experience to be sitting in the Tattoo stands in-front of Edinburgh Castle, waiting for the first act to break the excited hush!

2. A truly Scottish experience

Let’s face it – it doesn’t get more Scottish than an evening watching a traditional Scottish performance of the massed pipes and drums, accompanied by traditional highland dancing of the Tattoo Dance Company and a light show to take your breath away. Or does it? Situated just adjacent to the Tattoo stands and the Castle Esplanade, our Amber Restaurant here at the Scotch Whisky Experience offers pre-show dining packages that showcase the best in exquisite local produce, all matched with drams of Scotch whisky that have been paired by the experts. These packages sell out fast, but make a truly spectacular gift or celebratory experience, especially if you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip to bonny Scotland.

Find out more about our whisky-themed dining for the Tattoo below:

  • The Bruce Package – a three-course Taste of Scotland menu, a guided whisky tasting from a member of our senior team, a recital from members of the Tattoo cast, and prime performance seats in the Tattoo stands
  • The Amber Package – includes a recital from members of the Tattoo cast, a three-course meal with a whisky-matched dessert, and escort to your seats for the performance
  • The Wallace Package – featuring a whisky tour, cocktails, canapes and escort to your seats for the Tattoo performance

3. A spectacle of sheer talent

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo brings groups and individuals, military and civilian, from all over the world in a display that’s unlikely to be seen on such a spectacular scale at any other time of the year. Remember this is a special breed of military performers who will be there whatever the weather – it’s worth noting that the Tattoo has never been cancelled due to the weather, not even when it rains, so bring appropriate clothing! And they always bring their A-game, despite going on stage nearly every single day for more than three weeks. Whatever day you visit, you’re in for a multi-sensory treat that will feel like that performance is just for you.

Photo credit, Ben Thompson

4. We challenge you not to get teary-eyed when Auld Lang Syne is played

One of the most iconic traditional Scottish tunes, played on the bagpipes, will have many Tattoo-goers up in their seats, hand over hand as the melody of Auld Lang Syne rings out across the stands. If you want to experience Scotland at its proudest and most heart-warming, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is the place to do it.  Another moment of sheer goosebumps in the Lone Piper on the battlements of the castle – rarely will you experience a more evocative sound and atmosphere as the evening draws towards its spectacular close.

5. The fireworks

No festival extravaganza would be complete without a firework finale, and the Tattoo holds a display every night (twice a night on Saturdays) to mark the end of the performance. If you’re not lucky enough to get a ticket, keep Edinburgh Castle in your line of sight as you travel around the city during the evening, ready to catch the fireworks from down below – or find a link to our blog post on where to watch fireworks in Edinburgh here. You’ll find that they become a useful indicator of the time, too – handy if you’ve not got your watch on!

Photo credit, Ben Thompson

Top tips for seeing the Tattoo fireworks

The fireworks start at around 22:30 each evening of the week, and at around 21:00 and 00:00 on Saturday evenings. There is no Tattoo performance on Sundays.

As a final extra bonus some guests book on the undisclosed lucky dates which are graced with a flyover to start the performance.  The Tattoo disclose the dates once the performances begin in August so it is a lottery if you will see one on your chosen evening, but a real treat if you do!

Find out where is best to watch Fireworks in Edinburgh here!

Find out more about making the most of your time in Edinburgh – take a whisky tour at the Scotch Whisky Experience, which sits just next door to Edinburgh Castle and the iconic Tattoo Stands