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Our Guide To The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2019

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is back for another awesome year! Here’s everything you need to know about this spectacular event. 

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 on the forecourt 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. Along with entertainment from military groups from all over the world.

2019 Programme

This year, Edinburgh Castle is hosting its 69th Tattoo and it’s set to be another dazzling show. The theme is Kaleidoscope, which is all about movement, colour and symmetry. A fitting theme, as the kaleidoscope instrument was actually a Scottish invention!

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. These include 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. 

Purchasing Tickets

Tickets are on sale right now! You can order your tickets by phone, box office or online booking. Remember, they sell out quickly. 

Edinburgh Tattoo Accommodation

Looking for accommodation for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo? 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!

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