This gathering of musicians and performers is held on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. We include tickets to this popular show on all tours that include an Edinburgh hotel stay during Tattoo season in August. In 2019, the Royal Tattoo will be held every night between August 2 – August 24. In 2020, it will be August 7 – August 29th.
The name “Tattoo” derives from a seventeenth-century Dutch phrase, “Doe den tap toe”, signifying the end of the day for soldiers, which evolved into a ceremonial evening entertainment performed by military musicians.
Every Tattoo is different from the last, with each embracing different themes: In the past, nature, creativity, and Scotland’s homecoming have served as inspirations. The theme for 2018 is “The Sky’s the Limit”, celebrating Scotland’s Year of Young People. Performers will include Switzerland’s Top Secret Drum Corps, The Central Band of the Czech Armed Forces and the Royal Air Forces as they mark their 100th anniversary.
The imposing Edinburgh Castle, perched high above the city on volcanic rock, serves as the background for the Tattoo. The castle originally was the home of kings and queens, such as Queen Margaret, Mary Queen of Scots, and James VI. It evolved into a military base, and held prisoners of war. Today, it houses Scotland’s crown jewels – the crown on display was first worn for the coronation of James V’s wife in 1540, and the scepter was presented to James IV by Pope Alexander VI in 1494. The castle is also home to a rock called the Stone of Destiny, which has been used in coronation ceremonies for English and British royalty since the thirteenth century; and the National War Museum of Scotland. It is also a World Heritage Site.