£25m revamp could see Edinburgh Tattoo and other big events beamed to Princes St Gardens

Footage from the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and major sporting events like Wimbledon, the World Cup, the Six Nations and the Olympics could beamed into Edinburgh’s new open air concert arena in Princes Street Gardens in future.

Major events like the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo or Wimbledon could be screened in Princes Street Gardens. Picture: Laurence Griffiths/Getty
Major events like the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo or Wimbledon could be screened in Princes Street Gardens. Picture: Laurence Griffiths/Getty

Tattoo organisers have also suggested that regular daytime and evening concerts featuring star performers could be staged once a £25 million makeover is complete.

The charitable trust leading The Quaich Project has also revealed that live sporting events could also be staged there. Other ideas published on its website include hosting spectacular light shows like The Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry, the staging of “Shakespeare in the Gardens” productions, like those at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, and even a “Bark in the Park” event for dog-lovers.

The Ross Development Trust, which was set up by hotel developer Norman Springford to pursue The Quaich Project, has revealed some of its ambitions ahead of an official planning application next year.

The new “world-class” arena would replace an existing concrete bowl, which is currently host a series of Summer Sessions concerts by acts including Lewis Capaldi, Florence and the Machine, Primal Scream and Madness.

A global design competition was won two years ago by an American-led consortium after the city council agreed to work with Springford, who has pledged £5 million of his own money to try to breathe new life into the gardens as an events arena.

Tattoo producer and chief executive Brigadier David Allfrey said: “There is a real opportunity to showcase this extraordinary valley in the middle of Edinburgh with all its history and to make it accessible and very exciting as a cultural and recreational space.


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“I’m really excited about the project. Shouldn’t we
be streaming the fireworks and the pageantry from the castle straight into the gardens? And perhaps giving small concerts during the daytime or in the evenings and at other times of the year?”

Writing on The Quaich Project’s website, managing director David Ellis said it was an opportunity for the gardens to become “a world leader in free to access, public, green spaces.”

He added: “I’d love to see some form of live sport if appropriate in terms of size and scale or screenings of major sporting events in the gardens. Sport is a great way to bring people together and you would enjoy it with a wonderful backdrop and experience a match-like atmosphere without 
having to attend the event in person.”

Development director Jules Haston said: “I’d love to see a light display in the gardens – either projected on to the castle or a sound and light display similar to ‘The Enchanted Forest.’ I’d also love the gardens to be open on summer evenings – to bring along a picnic blanket and a bottle of wine for ‘Shakespeare in the Gardens’.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The Quaich Project is in its design development stage, building towards a planning application in 2020, and we are all committed to delivering improvements which are supported by the people of Edinburgh. ”