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Purchasing a Historic Scotland membership and booking sites

This is more informative, rather than a question. When I went to Scotland in May, I was there for 3 weeks so it made sense (to me, anyway) to purchase a Historic Scotland membership, rather than the Explorer pass. For one thing, it wasn't that much more expensive, and for another, it supports a good cause. And lastly, because of all the HS places I went to, I actually saved money especially when you consider the 20% discount in their shops and 10% discount in cafes.

I wanted to buy it at the first place I went to, which was Stirling Castle. Because you have book ahead for Stirling (well, it's recommended), I was able to book by going to the booking page, clicking on "Historic Scotland Member" as my option, picking the date and time I wanted, then adding it to my basket. When you check out, it will ask how you want to collect the ticket, and I just chose the "Collect on Arrival" option. You will then check out (no purchase required as it has a zero balance) and will get an email confirming your date and time.

Then when you get to the site, you show them your booking info and let them know you want to purchase a membership at that time. You pay and they give you a temporary pass that is good for one month. You then use that for any other sites you see while you are there.

I assumed that they would mail me the permanent pass to my home address but when I hadn't received anything by the end of June, I emailed HS and asked them about this. I sent them my information, including the barcode number on the temporary pass. I received a quick response from HS telling me that US members must pay €10 for postage to receive a physical pass. However, he told me that they have recently implemented a digital pass, which you can access from the HS app. He then gave me my member ID number via email and I tried it on the app, and voila - I have a digital membership card that I can use until May 31, 2024.

Many travelers here will probably not worry about it if they don't have travels plans to go back to Scotland within a year. But I will be heading back next April to France and England and may take a short detour to Scotland while I'm there, so it's nice that I will be able to use this.

Posted by
81 posts

Great that you got over the mailing cost - a shame they didn't let you pick it up at a property as the cards are nice mementoes.

But you are totally correct, it is a great cause. I think Stirling is one of the best castles out there.

Incidentally, even in the UK the different member agencies can take weeks or longer to send their cards. I once got a Historic Royal Palaces card when there was only two months left on it.

Posted by
3798 posts

Good to know about the digital pass, I had asked about it when the app first came out and they said it wasn't available yet.
We had also bought the annual membership for our trip and noticed that is was a bit more expensive than the UK residents pass and I assumed because of postage. We definitely got our money's worth and we were able to use it in England with no issues.

Posted by
5813 posts

We bought the 2 seniors pass right at Edinburgh castle and definitely got our money’s worth. We didn’t need to reserve anything. We just showed our receipt and had the bar code scanned. I’ll need to remember about the digital ID in the future.

Posted by
1595 posts

@Mardee, First year memberships for Historic Scotland get half price entry into English Heritage and Cadw properties in England and Wales respectively. Free entry for first year for Manx National Heritage in the Isle of Man, and free entry across all four for renewal memberships. This is reciprocated for English Heritage and Cadw in Scotland as well, so your membership will still have benefits in England when you are there.

Posted by
5127 posts

MC, seriously? Darn, I need to check those benefits! Thank you!

Posted by
435 posts

Mardee, thanks for the digital pass update! Just as you did we reserved our admission to Stirling Castle in advance, then purchased the pass on arrival. Our membership card and booklet arrived about three weeks after being purchased. I'm not sure if we'll use the pass again before it expires, but we certainly got our money's worth out of it during our time in Scotland!

Posted by
5127 posts

Thanks, Stuart!

Den, that's interesting - maybe they charged you the higher amount for the postage, as I did not get the card or anything by mail. I also may not get that quarterly magazine either, jjgurley. 😊