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  • Writer's pictureClaire

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Updated: Nov 25, 2023

Ever since I was very young, I can remember watching with great delight the Edinburgh Military Tattoo with a Great Aunt of mine, and my Grandmother. I absolutely loved it, the bag pipes, the Military bands and most of all the Royal Navy Field Gun Race. If you’ve never seen it, try this to see what you’ve been missing!

Hubby has been before but for me it was a first time, and as far as I was concerned, long overdue thank you very much!

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo runs through the month of August in the Castle, Wheelchair tickets were purchased over the phone, and a carer goes free. Also included is a parking permit. This was awesome. It meant avoiding the cobbles and incline up to the castle, thus saving My poor Mr’s legs and back, bless him! All that was required for it was the registration number of the vehicle and occupants. Simples.

This done we needed accommodation, as the Ediniburgh Fringe was on, we suspected that the hotels would be pretty booked up in the city itself so elected to stay in which I booked through as I get reward nights. (post to come on this)

Being just over the Queensferry Bridge it was 15 – 20 minutes’ drive from Edinburgh City Centre and the traffic was kind to us! The hotel itself was a real gem and very comfortable. From the outside it looks a bit tired, but you walk in the door its fabulous. Light clean and airy decorated in subtle greys and creams. The room was spacious enough for Mildred, and the bathroom had a shower cubicle which is all I was focused on. It also had the obligatory toilet and sink, but I was more interested in the shower. Long drive and my needs are warmth warmth and more warmth! Nicely decorated and spotlessly clean. You can smell the washing powder on the sheets … Yummy!

The Hotel receptionist was lovely and incredibly helpful, gave us some good advice about what time to leave the hotel to make sure we got there in good time. The Hill Park Hotel offers bed and breakfast which we opted for and evening meals which we booked and paid for separately. The bar menu was very nice, large portion sizes and piping hot. It was served very quickly and with a smile, something I love!

We left for The Edinburgh Military Tattoo in plenty of time. So much so we arrived in the St. Giles Street temporary car park so early we were able to park right at the front and take in some of the Fringe festival that was still going on. Marshalls cleared the streets from St. Giles Street to the Esplanade and once pedestrians were off the roads, we commenced our short trip to the castle. Being at the front, meant we were second in the convoy. I got an attack of the giggles driving up, people were videoing the cars as we went by. As soon as I spotted that, I started doing the queenie wave, it’s amazing the things people will video!

On our arrival at the Esplanade, we were unloaded, and I was taken by a happy smiley steward to my parking spot. My Mr had to take the car back down and park it up (I doubt anyone waved at him … after all the princess and her chariot had been ditched!) and then walk back up. The stewards in our section were mainly students and they were great fun, really entering into the spirit of things.

The wheelchair parking spot at the tattoo

The wheelchair parking was right at the front, so we had an unobstructed view (apart from the railings) of the proceedings. At the back of the seating there were toilets including disabled toilets and strangely, they all had this sign on them. I found it hilarious! Apparently, it was for the cast of The Tattoo to remind them to be quiet … I’m not so sure. I heard some very loud trumpeting in there, and they weren’t mine!

The disabled toilet at the tattoo

The Military Tattoo sells the usual merchandise, with a programme being 10 pounds. I tucked one into my worm to keep it warm. I have to add at this point that I had on 3 coats, a cwtchy blankie, and was sat in my worm (adult cosy toes). I was in Scotland, a notoriously chilly place, even in summer. I was in fact very grateful for it, as the evening drew on it grew cooler and a mist of rain settled in. Not on me though, nope, I was well wrapped up against the elements. Planning see!

Plenty of Layers

The Royal Military Tattoo invites Forces from around the world to perform. Each year it is different, and oh my do they ever deliver! It is absolutely fantastic. My face hurt from smiling for the whole duration. Each year also has a different theme, and this year was kaleidoscope. Which is another reason I loved it …. It was so colourful and happy. Military bands performing from New Zealand, France, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago it was an evening of what I would describe as universal pleasure. My only disappointment was that the Field gun race is no more. It stopped in 2011! That’s what you get for not doing enough research and assuming things. Don’t do it peeps, it makes an ass out of you and me both! I was slightly mollified by the very beautiful bag pipes and the spectacular Scottish dancing. I believe there is a DVD coming soon of the Edinburgh Tattoo, as you would guess, I’ve got to have it!

Once the display was over, the Esplanade was cleared very quickly and the cars could then be bought up to collect us. In theory. There was a small technical glitch in this when an ambulance was attending someone and subsequently blocked the road to the cars coming back to pick up wheelchair users. Other than that, I couldn’t believe how smoothly it was all run, although I suspect they’ve perfected it over the years!

Our return journey to The Hill Park Hotel was smooth and once again traffic free so we were back there by midnight. There was a night porter, I’m guessing he’s there all the time but don’t quote me on that one and he let us in locking the door behind us. Nice and secure boys, nice and secure.

We’d booked an early breakfast as we had a long drive the next day. Breakfast was full Scottish along with cereals toast, tea and coffee. It will set you up for the day if you decide to pay a visit.

So, to summarise, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is fantastic, value for money and an incredible experience for all ages and all mobilities.

I recommend staying just outside the city if you have a car and are attending the Military Tattoo as it will be a bit cheaper. Also quieter as the fringe is one hell of a festival and Edinburgh knows how to party.

That’s all for now folks, thanks for reading and as always, much love. Flairey. X

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