In a city world-famous for its festivals, there’s some stiff competition for Edinburgh’s most popular event, but each August over 200,000 onlookers gather in the grounds of Edinburgh Castle for the annual Military Tattoo. The most patriotic event on the Scottish calendar, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo Festival is held alongside the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the International Book Festival, presenting a 90-minute spectacular each night throughout the summer festival season.
Set in the dramatic floodlit grounds of Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is always one of the most memorable shows of the season, with thousands of musicians, pipers, drummers, singers and dancers performing along the cobbled esplanade, beneath a dazzling explosion of fireworks. Broadcast on television stations worldwide, the Tattoo aims to showcase military arts from around the globe, but local troops pull out all the stops to fly the flag for Scotland. Parades of kilted Massed Pipes and Drums and the Massed Military Bands represent the Scottish regiments, while the evening culminates in a military fly-past and the haunting solo of the Lone Piper, spot-lit atop the castle ramparts.
Largely agreed to be the ‘most spectacular show on earth’, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo Festival is a undeniable highlight of the capital’s festival season but tickets always sell out early, so be sure to snag your seats in advance or combine it with a guided tour of Scotland’s highlights.