The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo -All You Need to Know!

Held every year in the grounds of Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo attracts some 220,000 spectators over its three-week run, around 38% of which are international visitors from 69 countries.
So, what’s all the song and dance about? Here’s all you need to know about this popular military spectacular.

About the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

What is the Tattoo?
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has been going since 1950 and is currently in the Top 20 of TripAdvisor’s attractions in Edinburgh. The performance features nearly 1,000 performers and is a 90-minute long military spectacular involving pipes, drums, dancing, visual lights, fireworks and cannon fire. The show famously culminates in a lone piper playing from the castle ramparts, followed by a heart-felt mass chorus of Auld Lang Syne. The night normally finishes with fireworks, however, further details about the show will be released nearer the time.

Where does it take place?
The performance of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place every year on the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade, Castle Hill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NG.

When does it take place?
The Tattoo takes place every August. This year there are 25 performances from 4 -26th August 2023.

When are the performances?
Performances start at 9.30pm Monday to Friday, with two performances at 6.15pm and 9.30pm on Saturdays.

Do I select the Tattoo tickets?
If you are purchasing Tattoo tickets directly then you will be able to select where you are seating. When on a coach tour, the ticket will be included in the package. The most cost-effective tickets are situated in Blocks 1 and 17, closest to the castle and the further you are to the centre of the ‘horseshoe’, the more you can expect to pay.

Accessibility to Edinburgh Castle

Is access to the Edinburgh Tattoo easy?
There is a short but steeply inclined walk of 80 metres up Castlehill, the old, cobbled approach to the Esplanade. There is then a further 60-metre walk on average, followed by steps up to the spectator stands where generally, the seating is quite steeply tiered. You will have plenty of time to make your way to and from the Esplanade and will be able to go at your own pace.

What if I have mobility issues?
It is best to get in contact with us if you are looking to join a coach tour and we can check the tour is suitable for your requirements. If you are booking your own tickets, then please contact the Tattoo Ticket Office directly.

Hints & Tips about the Tattoo

Can children attend the Tattoo?
There are no age limits on the Tattoo so children can attend. Parents and carers are however, advised to use their discretion when it comes to young children and babies due to loud bangs and firing cannons.

What about the weather?
The Tattoo is entirely open-air and goes ahead whatever the weather. There has never been a cancelled performance due to the weather, so dress warmly and bring your rain coat. As one TripAdvisor traveller says “A bit chilly, but then it is Scotland!”

Can you purchase Merchandise?
Yes you can certainly get your souvenirs, there are pop-up kiosks under the stands on both sides of the Esplanade. You can also visit the official website, which has everything from CDs to t-shirts and other tartan-clad products.

What can I bring into the venue with me?
A bag can be brought into the Tattoo with you, but it needs to be under 20 litres and will be searched on arrival. As for drinks, you can bring in unopened bottles of less than 500ml (see restrictions below).

What items are prohibited to bring into Edinburgh Castle ?
You cannot bring the following items into the venue:
– Umbrellas
– Bottles more than 500ml, cans or glass containers.
– Alcohol purchased outside the venue
– Illegal substances
– Laser pens
– Sharp objects
Please note you cannot vape or smoke within the venue.

Transport to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

How can I get there?
Coach tours to the 2023 Edinburgh Tattoo are already on sale and are a great way of experiencing the Tattoo hassle-free. Packages start from as little as £299 for 3 days going up to £756 for a 4-day air break. Trips include coach travel, accommodation, ticket to the Tattoo and some include excursions. If you’re not keen on travelling by coach, there is also an air break incorporating Loch Lomond which departs from major regional airports.

To secure your place at this year’s event, visit our Edinburgh Tattoo coach breaks page.

All images are credited to The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.