Beginners Guide to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2014

by Jules on August 6, 2012

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an event held in Scotland every summer and this year is held on 1 – 23 August 2014. A Military Tattoo is a series of drum or band performances and were originally used in military life but have grown to become a form of entertainment for military personnel and civilians alike. The entertainment is part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe celebrations which are held simultaneously.

History of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo began as the final duty call of the night for the Military’s drum band. It began as a way of informing pub owners to turn off their taps so that the soldier would return to their lodging accommodations at a reasonable hour. As military housing an onsite monitoring took over the military forces the band began performing nightly as a form of entertainment for the soldiers. In the mid-1900s the band began playing for civilian spectators and in royal events and services. From there the festivities grew into an event to be seen by many visitors and spectators around the world. Grandstands were constructed on the castle’s lawn to accommodate growing hordes of spectators. Today the event is a form of entertainment for hundreds of thousands of spectators each year.


Over 200,000 people travel to the Edinburgh Castle each year to take part in the live festivities and Tattoo. The events have sold out, in advance, every year for the last decade. The spectators come from all over the world with nearly 70,000 visitors coming from overseas locations on vacations. The rest of the audience is generally made up of Scottish natives and residents of the United Kingdom. The military Tattoos are held every weekday evening and Saturday in August on the castle esplanade.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has raised money, each year, for charitable causes; most notably the Army Benevolent Fund. It is estimated that the Tattoo events manage to raise £5 million towards military causes. The event also is believed to bring in about £88 million in revenue for the city of Edinburgh.

Present Day Festivities

Originally developing from the last duty call of the evening into evening entertainment performed by the military band Military Tattoo events have grown and altered over the years in a spectacular festival including pyrotechnics, fireworks displays and lighting spectacles. Each August a temporary grandstand is constructed to hold almost 9000 ticket holders. During the show spectators are treated to music by the British Armed Forces as well as a lights and sound show projected onto the wall of the castle. The event is also broadcast on television in 30 countries and viewed by 100 million people on television each year.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Information

Tickets for the event are available through the Tattoo Office located in Edinburgh, Scotland. They can also be purchased, in advance, online. Ticket prices range from £120, for advanced packages and VIP seating; to £26 for standard seating. There are many price levels in between and spectators are given the option to choose their seating at the time of the purchase. The castle is accessible by public transportation as well as car and tour buses.

In 2012 the events will take place every weekday during august with two performances on Saturday. The Tattoo begins every evening at 9pm during the week and takes place at 7:30pm and 10:00pm on Saturdays with fireworks accompanying the later Saturday show. The first of the shows will take place on Friday, August 3rd. The final show will take place on Thursday, August 23rd. Pub owners and local businesses will be offering special promotions during the month of August in conjunction with that Military Tattoos.

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