Is there a worthwhile historic sites card to buy for Scotland that includes entry into a host of historic sites? If yes, make economic sense? Does it cover enough sites?
I found that the Historic Scotland was the one for me. I bought a membership which let me into many of the sites I was visiting and then I got a magazine for the rest of the year--it was quarterly.
There is also the National Trust for Scotland which has a different set of properties. Really it depends which sites you fancy seeing, and where you are going. There used to be a scheme that some of the privately owned sites operated that seems to have disappeared.
The Historic Scotland explorer pass saves you money if you will see two castles and an abbey within a five day period. Plus, you can bypass the ticket booth and go straight to the entrance. Obviously, the more sites you see - the more you save. Keep in mind - not all sites are included in the explorer pass (historic trust of Scotland). Different historic sites are maintained by different financial foundations. There are different passes based on time periods as well.
Go to www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/explorer for updated details and included sites.
The Explorer Pass also has a longer-term card if you're seeing more sights or want it for a longer time span than the 5-day version. On our trip (just returned last night) we split our time between locations in Scotland, some with lots of pass-covered sights and others with no covered sights nearby, so we wouldn't have gotten the most out of either card version. We considered the full-year membership Pam described to give us complete time flexibility but didn't wind up with that, either, and only wound up at a couple of sights anyway that would've been covered by the pass. You may have different interests or timeframe that would make the pass a good deal.
One more card question, please. How about the Edinburgh Pass? Does that cover most of the sites to see in the city? And does it offer travel on the bus system? Anyone use it?
Personally, I would not get the Edinburgh pass. It does not include the biggies - castle, St. Gile's, Brittania, Holyrood Palace. It includes a few " cheesy" tourist type attractions. The few quality attractions - you can just pay for. Buses around Edinburgh are not expensive. We just paid per ride. There is no cost to visit the National Museum or the National Art Gallery unless there is a special exhibit.
Thank you Barb