The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Experience


We had the opportunity to travel to Edinburgh, Scotland this summer and were fortunate to get tickets to see the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.  We have to admit that we had a definite preconceived notion about what it would be.  In our minds, the show was going to be some traditional marching bands performing some traditional music (with a heavy focus on bag-piping).  Boy were we mistaken and very pleasantly surprised (not that traditional music would have been bad), as there is so much more to the show than just traditional music!

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - Scottish Flag

The show began with many bagpipers entering and playing in unison.  It was quite the spectacle to see them moving around together in different formations.  The announcers introduced the different bands from around the world who were performing at that time, including one from Canada.    This initial performance went on for a long time and we started to wonder how they could keep going so long.  We loved hearing the countless bagpipers playing in unison!

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - Pipers

The show continued with many different things going on, including some highland dancers and some young bagpipers that performed Scottish songs that were used in the Disney movie, Brave. 

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - Highland Dancers

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - Brave Movie

There was an American Military Band stationed in Italy that performed songs from comic book cartoons and old TV shows.  It was so funny to have them come out and play these tunes from our early years!  An Australian band performed some popular songs with some wonderful singers.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - American Band

A Norwegian troop came out and performed a number of “stunts” with their rifles.  They were whipping them around and rapping them on the ground among other things.  It was quite entertaining for a while, but it did go on a bit long for us.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - Finale

Norwegian Troop are in the front.


The best part of the night was when a Swiss Group came out and performed a drum-line.  They were amazing; they moved their drumsticks so fast and were playing the drums beside them back and forth while they walked forward.  They were all in perfect unison and we were awestruck!!

The show finished with a couple more traditional songs (including some of our favourite songs played on the bagpipe) with all of the performers coming out again to finish. 

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - Finale 2

One of the best parts of the entire show for Evan was that they continued to light up the castle with different colour lights and sometimes even projecting images on to it.  It looked so cool and created the perfect setting for the performances!!

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - Castle Lit Up

The advice we can give others attending the Edinburgh Military Tattoo is to make sure to get the seats that face towards the castle.  These seats are a little bit more expensive, but it is well worth the cost. From this angle, you get to view the show with the performance in the foreground and the ever-changing castle in the background.  From the side stands, you can only see one or the other and you definitely lose some of the effect.  Also, the performers are facing this direction for the majority of the show.  Another piece of advice is to make sure to come prepared for any weather as the show will go on rain or shine.  It can get wet and the ponchos are expensive.  It can get fairly cool and breezy at night as well, so we recommend bringing layers to stay warm as it cools off.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - Bad Seats

Not as good seats.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is such a great experience!  We recommend that if you plan to travel to Edinburgh, try to plan your trip to coincide with the tattoo performances and get yourself some tickets (buy them before you go).  You will not regret it!


What is the BEST performance you have seen while on vacation?



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6 Responses to The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Experience

  1. The show really looks spectacular. How many hours did it last?
    Agness (@Agnesstramp) recently posted..Photo Gallery: Sri Lanka- the Teardrop of IndiaMy Profile

    Agness (@Agnesstramp) October 22, 2012 at 9:03 pm Reply
    • It truly was an amazing show. It was probably about an hour and half long with no intermission and in such a cool location.

      evan&tracy October 25, 2012 at 8:44 pm Reply
  2. That show looks like it was amazing. I don’t think I have ever seen a show anything like it. Too cool!
    Debbie recently posted..Vancouver’s Seedy Underbelly : The Unspoken Dark HistoryMy Profile

    Debbie November 1, 2012 at 2:01 pm Reply
    • You are absolutely right, Debbie, the show was amazing! We really didn’t expect it to be so good and were pleasantly surprised. We love when that happens while traveling!

      evan&tracy November 2, 2012 at 9:45 pm Reply
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