Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Instagram LinkedIn
Amend Booking

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The Edinburgh Tattoo is a military tattoo, which is performed by the British Armed Forces and International military and artistic groups, for three weeks every August. The show takes place on weekdays and Saturdays on the forecourt of Edinburgh Castle. Over 200,000 people will see this amazing spectacle over the course of a summer.

What is a Military Tattoo?

A tattoo is a military display or musical performance. The name has no connection with the ink tattoo you might get on your skin. It actually comes from “tap toe”, an old Dutch term meaning “tap off”, which was a sound signal that instructed innkeepers to switch off their beer taps when it was time for drinking soldiers to return to their barracks. The same signal would be used in a military display and eventually became the name for the whole thing. 

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is held in front of Edinburgh Castle and it is one of the most famous military tattoos in the world. Featuring traditional Scottish performances such as Highland Dancers, Massed Pipes and Drums, Top Secret Drum Corps and the Lone Piper. Also with entertainment from military groups from all over the world.

Edinburgh Tattoo History

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo started back in 1950, inspired by a small show called “Something About A Soldier” performed in Princes Street Gardens the previous year. The Tattoo aimed to include the military in Edinburgh’s annual summer celebrations, which began in 1947 with the Edinburgh International and Edinburgh Fringe festivals.

Supporting Charities

The Tattoo is a not-for-profit organisation. It supports a number of military and arts charities by giving donations every year. Such as national charities for the British Army, Royal Navy and Marines and the Royal Air Force.

Shop for Souvenirs

You can buy a variety of gifts from the store to remember your Tattoo experience. Such as T-shirts, DVDs and badges. 

Edinburgh Tattoo Tickets and Accommodation

You can order your tickets by phone, box office or online booking. Remember, they sell out quickly. 

If you’re looking for accommodation, our central hotel is a 15-minute walk from the venue at Edinburgh Castle. Located at the foot of Calton Hill, just off Waterloo Place, you’ll be close to all the summer festival action during your stay with us. But hurry! Just like the Tattoo tickets, our festival accommodation books up fast!

  • Newsletter Signup

    Sign up to our mailing list and be the first to find out about our exclusive offers, competitions and voucher codes all in our hotel newsletter.

    Amend Booking