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Scottish Tattoo

Going to Scotland in August. I wondered if the location of seats during the performance made a big difference. I'm going to purchase tickets online ahead of time from their website.

Posted by
2515 posts

all seats give a great view but in my opinion those in the East stand are best because that is the stand that actually faces the Castle, maybe slightly more expensive but worth it I think.

Posted by
1291 posts

Unclegus beat me to it, but the east stand gets the full view. The Tattoo is designed to be seen from that angle and the east stand is where the VIP seats tend to be.

Posted by
2515 posts

As a child I went to the Tattoo every year, my late father worked for the part of the council that was involved with the Tattoo and we always got free tickets for the dress rehearsals, loved it.

Posted by
448 posts

Hi zandeb:

I went to the Royal Tattoo this past summer. On Friday I sat in Section 9 which directly faces Edinburgh Castle and which was the most expensive ticket, and on Saturday I sat in section 4 along the side which was less expensive. I had my video camera with me and wanted to record the performance. If I had to select between the two I would chose section 4 for the following reason: some of the guest groups do not have a large number of performers who can fill the entire parade grounds. As a result they stay in the first 1/3rd of the parade ground (the esplanade) near the castle so you will have a hard time seeing them if you are at the far end of the ground (ie sections 9 and 10). If you are there primarily to see the massed pipes and drums you will have a better view of that part of the performance by sitting in 9 or 10. The venue is small, maybe 10,000 people, so there are not any really terrible seats.

Here is a link to my blog describing the first performance:

http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/georgelondon/2/1408248731/tpod.html

Take a look at video captioned "Tattoo cast" This was filmed from about row H in Section 9. You can see the length of the esplanade. This will give you an idea of how far away the smaller groups will look, and how the massed pipes and drums will look.

Enjoy the show. BTW: you know that the can see the entire performances of the most recent years on youtube, right?

George

Posted by
31290 posts

zandeb,

I assume you're referring to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo? That's an awesome event and well worth seeing (IMO).

In terms of the best seating location, I tend to agree with Geor and would suggest a mid-field location in Sections 2/3/4 or 13/14/15. As a photographer, I found those locations provided the best views. Although the performers often start by marching to the end where all the posh seats are located (closest to Sections 8/9/10), many of the performances take place in the mid-field location as that provides the groups with a bit more room to move. If you sit in the end section, you might want to take a pair of Binoculars as you'll be farther from the performers.

One other tip to mention..... Even in August, the evenings can be chilly, so a light coat would be worthwhile. Be sure to check the weather as you might want a Rain Poncho as well (they have NEVER cancelled a performance due to weather).

Posted by
2515 posts

and if it is pouring of rain you can't use umberellas , so make sure you have a waterproof

Posted by
95 posts

We went many years ago and agree that the East view is the absolute best. One other thing to note is that the seats seemed to be smaller than US baseball or football stadiums. There were no arms and they were right up against each other. But you have NO knee room. My DH is average width but 6'6 and he could NOT sit straight down in the seat. He was going to have to stand at the end of the row in the aisle, but thankfully, the ONE person who didn't show up for the Tattoo had the seat right next to him. So he sat in one seat almost sideways to make his long legs fit. Sooo, if either of you is tall or larger, get an aisle seat!!!

It was an awesome show and one we'll never forget. So worth it.

Posted by
25749 posts

and here from the title of the question I was ready to see you ask for advice on an inking of a thistle.....

Posted by
5561 posts

Hah hah, Nigel! Maybe that's why Labor lost. The English feared forced thistle tattoos. ;)

Pam

Posted by
37 posts

Thank you for sharing your blog, George. It made me even more excited than I was already! I will also be attending the Tattoo in August and have 2 questions:

1) If I do choose a seat in section 4, will I mostly be looking at the side of the people who are performing? It appears as though they are marching with their fronts primarily toward section 9. I understand that they turn at times and that there are different types of performers, as well. But, being a military drill nerd AND a drum and bugle corps nerd, it makes me happy to look down the rows and see the precision of their movements. If I was looking mostly at their sides, I might not like it as much.
2) Do you get to watch the warm up only if you do the behind the scenes tour? Not sure I want to see the control booth, etc, but would LOVE to be at the warm up! Did you do one of the dinners in the castle before the Tattoo, or speak with anyone who did? Oops, I guess that was 3 questions!

Posted by
78 posts

Last August we did the dinner in the castle before the tattoo - Jacobite Package. While it was expensive, we felt it was worth the money for the experience. Eating in the castle was amazing. The food was good, entertainment enjoyable, and the ability to see the behind the scenes preparations was special. Our seats were excellent - we were in section 11, close to section 10. It was a once in a lifetime experience for us. This was all that was described in the package on the website.

By the way, we highly recommend you visit the Royal Yacht Britannia while in Edinburgh. An excellent tour and our second favorite visit (after the tattoo).

Posted by
37 posts

Thank you Bonnie. I thought the dinners sounded nice, but they are quite expensive, so it is good to know that they are as advertised. I will look at them again.

Posted by
4974 posts

We were there last August (not to be missed!) and reserved seats back in December 2013 for the next-to-the-most-expensive seats, in Section 7. That was a compromise between the high-end VIP seats and the cheaper, less head-on seats. Interestingly, before the performance started, the announcer asked if there were spectators from certain parts of the world, calling out one country or region one at a time. Australians seemed to be bunched up in the "cheaper" seats in sections 15 and 16. Canadians were somewhere else, and eastern Indians and Italians bunched yet somewhere else. Based on the response, Americans were in Sections 7 & 8, although the 2 of us hadn't coordinated that with anyone else! I doubt they somehow set aside certain sections of the stands for certain nationalities -- maybe the demographics of certain countries seem to seek out certain seating areas!?!

Agree that some of the performing groups were back alongside Sections 3/4 & 14/13 while they danced or played, but for an overall view. especially when hundreds of pipers were massed at the finale, seeing them from the bottom of the horseshoe "U" would be the most impressive view, and the seats are priced accordingly. No truly bad seats, and hope for fair weather!

Posted by
31290 posts

"By the way, we highly recommend you visit the Royal Yacht Britannia while in Edinburgh."

I'd also highly recommend visiting Brittania. I found it to be enormously interesting and I spent several hours wandering about the ship.

Posted by
448 posts

Brooke: I did the behind the scenes tour without having to purchase one of the expensive dinner packages. What I did was join the Friends of the Royal Tattoo which cost about 25 pounds. This gave me a one week advantage for buying tickets when they went on sale in November (I believe). The behind the scenes tour was somewhere in the 25 pound range. It lasted about two hours during which time we saw many of the control booths, then we watched the beautiful ballet of the buses bringing into the esplanade and unloading the performers. Then we walked into the area where the bands practiced. You could walk up and talk to folks. Then we went to the officer's club for a drink. They made all of the men wear coats and ties so I brought a blazer, dress shirt, tie, dress slacks, and dress shoes from the USA just to participate in the tour. They would not let me skip this and leave because I would be wandering unescorted through the castle grounds. They do tours only on Monday and Friday, and the group size was about ten people. I don't recall seeing any of the dinner folks at the warm up/practice sessions.

If you want to see neatly lined up columns of marchers and musicians you should get a ticket in high price seating area since they march from the castle to section 9/10... and march back.

Have a good trip.

Posted by
37 posts

Thank you Cyn, Ken and Geor! I could not find the behind the scenes tour, probably because I was not looking on a Monday or Friday (hopefully not because they are sold out!!!). My last questions: 1) how long is the show? Can't find that anywhere on the website. 2) any feedback regarding whether to do the 9PM show during the weeknights or the 7:30PM or 10:30PM on Saturday? It says the Sat late performances have extended fireworks, which sounds nice, but do the others have some fireworks?

Posted by
448 posts

Hi Brooke:

Here are some answers to your questions. Information about the Behind the Scenes tour is not readily apparent on the web site. You have to go to the page that pertains to joining the Friends of the Royal Tattoo where this tour is mentioned; it is only available to Friends (I joined the organization to get a one week jump over everyone else to buy tickets to the tattoo itself). If you are talking about attending the tattoo this year I think the odds are against you when it comes to the backstage tour. About 50,000 people attend the tattoo each week, and only about 20 participate in the backstage tour. If you are thinking about this year I would call the ticket office to see if any spots are available on a tour.

I believe that the program is about two hours long. I know youtube hosts the entire 2013 performance, and maybe the 2014 show, so you can click to see the video which will have information about its length. You might even want to sit through the entire two hours to see what the performance will be like.

As I wrote earlier I attended both a Friday performance at 9:00 and the Saturday performance at 10:30. I was looking forward to the extended fireworks show on Saturday but was denied this pleasure because of Scottish weather. When the first rocket was launched and detonated some ambers blew into the spectator section so the fireworks show as cancelled. The Friday 9:00 show did have fireworks that were nice, but I wanted to see the full show on Saturday

If you do attend the 10:30 show please have your plan for getting back to your hotel worked out. Hopefully you will be within reasonable walking distance from Edinburgh Castle. In my case I was staying at Pollock Hall dorm, U of E, from where I typically took a bus to the Royal Mile area. However, the buses stopped running before the show was over, and it was impossible to find a cab in the center of town so I walked back to the dorm. I did not feel unsafe during this half hour walk and stopped at a pie shop to buy a late dinner.

Posted by
37 posts

Thank you Geor. Yes, you DID mention about joining as a Friends member, but I forgot about that by time I wrote my post. Finally located the information on their website, show is about 1.5 hours. The pie shop sounds wonderful - everything happens for a reason, eh? Looking forward to all of it!

Posted by
4974 posts

For our weeknight performance in 2014, there was a bit of a breeze at times, but we lucked out with no rain or heavy gusts. By the time the stands emptied out and we walked down the Royal Mile back towards our apartment, it was past 11:30 PM. There were fireworks at the finale, plus bonfires up on the ramparts at the front of the castle, which makes for a spectacular backdrop.