Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2011 - Fact file

This article is from 2011

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo fact file

The display of massed military viewed by 100 million people annually

1 The Edinburgh Tattoo first took place in 1950. It was first shown on colour television in 1968.

2 The word 'tattoo' comes from the old Dutch phrase 'doe den tap toe', meaning 'turn off the taps', which was a call used at closing time in 17th century bars. The stationed British army adopted the practice and it became a signal, played by a regiment's drum corps each night, that tavern owners should stop serving sweet ales so that the soldiers would return to barracks.

3 The Tattoo has never been cancelled and has always been staged outdoors at Edinburgh Castle. Take that, you soggy Scottish summertime, you.

4 Over 40 nations have been represented at the Tattoo over the years.

5 The 'Royal' part of the Tattoo's title was added by the Queen last year, in honour of the Diamond Jubilee and to celebrate 60 years of the Tattoo's existence.

6 100 million people watch the Tattoo coverage on telly each year, 70% of whom are from outside bonnie Scotland.

7 Dame Elizabeth Taylor's fourth husband, Hollywood film producer Mike Todd, made a documentary about the Edinburgh Tattoo in the 1950s.

8 Around 35 miles of cabling – the distance from Glasgow to Edinburgh – is required to power the Tattoo each year.

9 The Tattoo is a charitable organisation, donating proceeds to servicemen's charities such as the Army Benevolent Fund and arts organisations like Edinburgh International Festival.

10 In 2009, Sir Sean Connery did the voice-over for an advert promoting the DVD highlights of that year's Tattoo. Fitting, given the former James Bond and/or silver fox famously sports a 'Scotland Forever' tattoo on his arm.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Castle, 0131 225 1188, 5 Aug, 8.30pm, 6–27 Aug, Mon–Fri 9pm, Sat 7.30pm & 10.30pm, no show Sun, £23–£58. See our article on the 2011 Tattoo for more info.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - 2010

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information displayed here is accurate, always check with the venue before attending (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic).

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

This unique event draws crowds and performers from all over the world, with massed pipes and drums, military bands, display teams, dancers and the haunting lament of the Lone Piper set against the magnificent backcloth of Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh Castle

Fri 5 Aug

£25–£90 / 0131 225 1188

Sat 6 Aug

£25–£90 / 0131 225 1188

Sun 7 Aug

£25–£90 / 0131 225 1188

…and 20 more dates until 27 Aug

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