Is it worth it to buy a pass, or is it better to go to each place and purchase tickets as you go
I assume you are talking about a "rail pass". Every case is different. There are probably some cases where a pass would save, but I don't think that is common. There are so many discounted tickets. But you have to do the math.
Of course, some of those savings are realized using advance purchase tickets, so if you can't plan ahead, you can't get the savings. But people who can't plan ahead spend more money several ways.
I bought my last pass, German Rail, in 2000. Shortly after the trip, having learned a little more about the German Rail fare system while I was there, I realized I just about broke even for the trains I used, but I could have picked some different trains and saved money.
thank you for answering, but I am talking about the passes for historical sites, etc.
It probably depends on how long you plan to stay, how many locations you wish to see and how many of them are owned/managed by one or other of the historic bodies. Historic Scotland has good value memberships as does the National Trust for Scotland but they are not interchangeable.
We considered the various Historic Scotland (www.historic-scotland.gov.uk) passes MC mentions for our trip last summer, but in the end decided we wouldn't be visiting long enough, or in the parts of Scotland where the majority of covered attractions were located, to warrant purchasing them. Your time and interests may be different.
For a devoted visitor, note there's a full-blown membership available, which gets you admissions, special events, and a subscription to their magazine - not a bad deal if you're so inclined.
Also note that many museums in Edinburgh (and in other cities, too, but I'm not positive) are free, so no pass would be needed to get the best deal.
You need to figure out where you are likely to go an d do the math. Then, calculate the benefit of not waiting in line etc. I decided to buy a membership in Historic Scotland. It got me in to several sites and I enjoyed the quarterly journal. If you go to the Historic Scotland website you can see which sites they represent.
Elaborating on Pam's response, here is how the math worked for us.
We bought the 7-day Explorer Pass for our family of four adults and were given a slight discount since several sites were closed during our recent trip - I think the closed sites will be open after 1 April. The price for our passes was ~121 pounds. We visited Caerlaverock Castle (standard admission=5.50), Urquhart Castle (7.90 ), Stirling Castle (14), and Edinburgh Castle (16). I knew we were not planning to visit many locations but Stirling and Edinburgh Castles are the big ticket items and pretty much anything we visited beyond them was 'free' using the pass.
It does seem like if you go to both Edinburgh and Stirling Castles the pass is usually worth it. Nice to see that confirmed.