The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Throughout the month of August each year, the refrains of well-known military tunes can be heard on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. These amazing performances are all part of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

A tattoo or “tap toe” as it was once known, was used by a military regiment’s Pipe and Drum corps to signal pub owners that it was time to turn off the taps and send the soldiers back to their lodgings. As times changed, the tattoo became more of an end-of-day ceremony for the soldiers. Today, the military tattoo is brought to life as a display that entertains an average of over 217,000 visitors to Edinburgh every year.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo features tattoos executed by the British Armed Forces and Commonwealth military bands. It has also features International military bands from the United States, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and many other locations around the world.

Whilst the majority of performances occur on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle, there is an event called “Taste of the Tattoo” that involves summary performances held at the Ross Bandstand in Princess Street Gardens. As a charitable event, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has raised over £5 million for civilian and military charitable organisations.

In 2010, because of its long-standing popularity, six-decades of service and contributions to charity, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth awarded the Royal title to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Such an honour is befitting of an activity that celebrates Scotland’s officers and personnel of the British Armed Forces.

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