August - the festival season in Scotland and while comedy shows and theatre performances are in abundance due to the Fringe Festival, the one thing that marks August to me is the Royal Military Tattoo.

You can always tell when festival season is near, as they start to set up the city for the millions of people that seem to make their way to Edinburgh and of course there is also the change in the castle view, as the Esplanade is now home to a stadium.

What is the Edinburgh Military tattoo?

A performance, filled with performers from all around the world (6 continents and over 45 countries participate) by the armed forces with its roots dating back to the 17th / 18th-century tradition of sending soldiers back to the barracks with the close of the pubs with bagpipes and drums. While there are other military tattoos all around the world, the most famous one is in Edinburgh and just called 'the Tattoo'.

The start of it all...

The Tattoo had its first performance back in 1950 with over 6000 people attending the show held in the Esplanade at the Castle. To this day the show has gone on, without missing one performance (even with the Scottish weather). Now over 200,000 people see the show in person, with MILLIONS also watching it on TV (or online). 

Each year the theme is changed, which means that if you are lucky enough to go more multiple years, you won't see the same show! 

Tips and Tickets

If you are in Edinburgh (or really anywhere nearby) around the time of the Tattoo and are interested in going, I suggest that you buy tickets sooner rather than later. The performances run (just about) the entirety of August, with shows at 9pm from Monday – Friday and 7.30pm and 10.30pm on Saturdays. 

Tickets can be bought online through the Edinburgh Tattoo website. 

As for where to sit - I personally waited a bit too long to buy my tickets (add in the fact that I am a poor grad student) so we ended up closer to the castle than I would have liked. They project different scenes on the castle throughout the show, so the more towards the middle you sit, the better the view. Even though we were closer to the castle, the show was still absolutely amazing and I have no complaints about anything.


If you want to see a fireworks show (even though there are some after every evening show), I suggest you go on a Saturday! There is an extended fireworks show every Saturday! 

Was it worth it?

Tickets to the Tattoo can get pricey ( I am talking over £300) but we paid close to £100(ish) in total for our two tickets for a Saturday night performance! If you are there and have the cash, I would 100% suggest that you see it at least once, even the BF enjoyed it and he is a hard-to-please guy when it comes to shows!