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Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo: ticket purchase advice

I will be attending the Royal Tattoo next August and I was wondering about how and when I should purchase tickets for the event. Tickets go on sale Dec. 1, I planned on purchasing 4 tickets online, or is a phone purchase a better idea? I noticed that if you join the Friends of the Tattoo for £25, tickets can be purchased a few weeks earlier than Dec. 1. Do tickets sell out quickly or would waiting until Dec. 1st or shortly there after be soon enough to get good seats.

I heard that section 6 is a good location. Any other seating advice?
Thank you!

Posted by
93 posts

Hi Sue,
Not speaking from experience as we're booking for 2017 also, but here are my thoughts on it from my research.
-If you're going to an early show, the seats in 1-7 should be better than their opposite numbers as you won't be looking directly at the setting sun.
-A later show, then it doesn't matter, but I still like the background viewpoint across to the castle background on the left better than looking across to the right side of the castle from 11-17.
-did join the Friends to get the jump in November; not sure how many tour companies book blocks of tickets and when, so we wanted to be assured of a decent selection.
-section 7 gets more of a head on view of the participants coming out from the castle, but the middle sections will probably be closer to more of the action, even if some of it is side-on and will see all the way to both ends of the formation rather than just the front rank. Price difference is £48-52 for prime seats in the middle(blues)and £70-74 for s.7.
-there is a utube video out that takes you into the venue and you get an idea of seating; google "Edinburgh Tattoo Standard Seating". If you freeze the video at about the 1:25 mark you'll see what I mean about the castle background on the left and the open space where the sun usually sets on the right. To my mind the whole venue is more intimate than most north american stadiums and all seats will be pretty good or better.
-common advice is to dress warmly in layers & bring a hooded raincoat(no umbrellas allowed). Also look at renting a seat cushion there to keep your seat warm & dry. My two cents worth anyway!

Posted by
9897 posts

There was another thread on this about good sections etc. last year. If you look through the archives or do a search, you should be able to find it.

Posted by
3994 posts

We've been to the Tattoo 3 times, all for the late show with fireworks. The first time we sat high up in the end. We sat one row in front of an important person who was introduced at the beginning of the evening. He stood up, a spotlight was shone in our direction and he waved to the audience. The next time we didn't have such "special" seats but I liked them a lot better. The other 2 times we sat about mid-high in section 4. I liked this perspective of sitting closer to the entrance from which all that great sound and energy emerges. I liked sitting at the half way point so we could get a broad view of when the whole grounds fills up with musicians, dancers and whatever else they will have in store for you. From the end seats where we sat that first year the perspective was looking through a denser mass of performers.

Posted by
11294 posts
Posted by
32269 posts


A few thoughts on seeing the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.....

  • SEATING - I found that a seat in the "blue zone" of sections 3 /4 (or 13 / 14) was about perfect. That seemed to provide a good viewing point both for watching the performance as well as getting pictures. A lot of the performance takes place in the mid-field area so IMO, that's a better location than the posh seats at the end. Have a look at the seating map -
  • COMFORT - Even in August, I'd suggest taking a sweater or something (especially for the last performance of the night), as it can get chilly. I had a light coat but it wasn't enough. Some light rain gear would also be prudent (they've never cancelled a performance due to rain, so the show will go on regardless).
  • OTHER - If your buget will allow, you might consider buying one of the William Wallace / Robert the Bruce premium ticket packages (whatever they're calling them now - can't remember the names) as those provide faster entry to the venue without waiting in a long queue. As I recall, some provide dinner with some of the Tattoo performers or a Scotch Whiskey tasting or whatever. Have a look at the options when the tickets become available.

To answer one of your questions, I'd probably just buy on Dec. 1st. I doubt that tickets would sell out that quickly. Before you hit the "Buy" button, BE SURE to check all the details on your purchase, especially the dates.

Posted by
4 posts

I attended in 2015 and bought more expensive tickets in section 7 as I thought watching the event head-on with the castle straight in the background would be good. It was not. All the action happened at what would be the 40 or 60 yard line in a football stadium. THe only time anything came down close to where I was sitting was if a group exited out of the stadium that way. My other disappointment was the content of the show. Advertised as a "military tattoo" so I thought Scotland and bagpipe bands. Again, not. There was more international band (non-bagpipe) and weird Asian dance stuff. So if you plan to go, buy the cheaper tickets on the 40 or 50 yard line.

Posted by
9897 posts

Thanks to advice on this board last year, we did as Ken mentioned above and got tickets in section 14. I thought that was pretty perfect. It was roughly at the mid-point of the "football field" and gave us a good perspective of all that happened. Everybody in our party from age 7 to 78 enjoyed it absolutely thoroughly and it was a highlight of our trip. We went on a fireworks night - that's normally only weekend nights, but there are one or two weeknights when they're recording for the BBC production, and so they do the fireworks then as well. This was just a lucky coincidence for our purchase, but would be worth making an effort to look for.

Posted by
1450 posts

COMFORT : i agree. It was a warm day in sept when we set out, but towards the end of the show i was glad id listened to whoever had told me to take a neck scarf & light gloves