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Highland Games

We're in the initial stages of planning a lengthy trip to Europe in 2016. On the list are the Tattoo and International and Fringe Festivals in Edinburgh, which are listed as opening on August 5th. We'd probably go more toward the beginning of said festivities, as I assume the weather might be better then. We also plan to visit Glasgow, although no timing for that has been discussed yet. We'd like to go to a Highland Games while we're in Scotland. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated, as there seem to be plenty from which to choose. Thanks.

Posted by
5089 posts

Hi - I presume you're reserving your Tattoo tickets plenty early, as seats will sell out long before that night's event.

We were there in August 2013, also arriving on the 5th! It basically rained every other day, so even though one year may differ from another, I'm not sure the weather will be substantially different at the start of the month.

The Fringe was great (we didn't attend any of the "regular" Festival events), but we didn't go to any Highland Games that trip. I'm sure others will have info on those. Have a great time!

Posted by
823 posts


We were in Edinburgh in late August/early September a few years ago and the weather was actually quite pleasant. Only rained a little...

The closing of the Tattoo and the closing of the International Festival are the real highlights. The fireworks over the castle are spectacular. I would adjust the timeline to the right if possible. Just keep in mind that August is the highest of the high seasons in Edinburgh.

Another reason to wait until late August is that the royal family's Highlands Games at Braemar are always the first Saturday in September. The drive can be a challenge but you can find escorted day-tours to take you out there from Edinburgh. It was the highlight of our Scotland trip.

Good Luck,

Posted by
5564 posts

I have not really noticed a difference in the weather between the beginning of August and the beginning of September. I would really hesitate to make the deciding factor on when you're in Scotland. I've found better heather in the middle of August vs the beginning or the beginning of September, but I bet M.C. will jump in here and say, that I was just in the wrong place as different heathers bloom at different times. :)

The granddaddy games are the ones at Braemer. Have you found these websites? VisitScotland and the Scottish Highland Games Association website.


Posted by
1294 posts

Nah, not going to say that! Heather will be most like plants, and start closing down form winter in the autumn. Especially given its being a highland plant, so summer is the best time to see it whilst it still has insects to seduce.

Posted by
662 posts

We attended the Highland Military Tattoo this year at Historic Fort George near Inverness. It takes place next year Sept 9-11. Although I've not attended the Edinburgh Tattoo, from many comments that we heard...the Highland version is much more Scottish oriented whereas the Edinburgh Tattoo is more internationally focused. We thought the Highland Tattoo was nothing short of fabulous. Lots of kilts on men and women; lots of bagpipes and drums, some military demonstrations, beautiful lighting, a Typhoon fighter jet flyover, the solo bagpiper at the end followed by unbelievably gorgeous fireworks. You can go to their website or YouTube to see videos and decide for yourself.

Posted by
5564 posts

Hey Kay, that's great to hear! Way back when I had my first trip to Scotland, my sister and I went to a small show on Ness Bank somewhere. I have never really figured out where we went. Our B&B hostess shooed us out to see it. From what you are saying the Tattoo at Fort George is that show and way more. I have to put it on my calendar!

Posted by
14 posts

We were in Scotland for a month in the Fall, arriving just in time for the finale of the International Festival (London Symphony Orchestra at Usher Hall), and the fireworks, which were absolutely amazing. We stood for 2 hours in the drizzle, along with many thousands of locals, enthralled by the most amazing pyrotechnic display we've ever seen.

We purchased tix for the Braemar Gathering as soon as they went on sale. An incredible experience, definitely worth the effort. We stayed at Osborne House, a wonderful B & B in Ballater, which we loved. Hosts Neil and Heather are amazing, as are their garden and breakfasts...gorgeous house, very clean, comfortable, and tastefully furnished.

Enjoy your trip!