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Scotland Sightseeing Passes--which is best?

Looking for advice on various Scotland passes. I have seen on the internet (a) National Trust for Scotland Discover Ticket ($88.50 for a family pass covering 14 days), which I found on the VisitBritain Shop online, (b) Scottish Heritage Pass (7 consecutive days but only seems to be for sale to travel agents), and (c) Discover Ticket from National Trust of Scotland (14 out of 30 days for family ticket of 73 pounds), and (d) Historic Scotland Explorer Pass (use 7 out of 14 days, for family pass price of 80 pounds). Maybe there are others. Anyone have advice/recommendations on which is best? We will be in Scotland for a family of 4 for about 3 weeks this summer, and will be in a car and traveling all over Scotland.

Posted by
5678 posts

Hi Craig, I would suggest that you figure out where you want to go first. Historic Scotland properties include Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Park (not the Palace), Stirling Castle, Doune Castle, Glasgow Cathedral, the Abbey's--Melrose, Dryburgh, Jedburgh--Culross Abbey (the National Trust of Scotland covers more), Dunfermline Abbey, St. Andrews Castle and Cathedral, Elgin Cathedral, and more. A lot of Historic Scotland sites don't require a fee--the standing stones, the stone circles etc. They also have a lot of the Roman sites. This map helps you search. You can also see what fees are applicable. Other than Edinburgh and Stirling the castles tend not to be restored and are often ruins.

Here's the map for the National Trust for Scotland. Here are some of their sites that I've visited and thought were worthwhile: Gladstone's Land, Georgian House, The Royal Burgh of Culross, Falkland Palace and Gardens, Tenement House, Glasgow, Culloden.

I advise that you do the math. :)

Pam

Posted by
4 posts

I am asking the same question but only have 7 days in which to visit? which pass offers the best value. My daughter and I are not interested in whiskey distilleries - mostly historic sites.

Posted by
3122 posts

Seconding Pam's advice to first figure out which places you really want to visit. I found the array of passes a bit overwhelming. When I set it aside and examined our route and which sights along the way were important to us, we actually were better off with individual tickets.

Also, we didn't know this ahead of time, but we got a discount on Glamis Castle entry by buying our tickets in the Tourist Info office in the (sort of) nearby town of Blairgowrie. We'd only stopped there to use public restrooms and thought we might as well verify the driving directions by stopping in the TI. The very nice woman in the TI gave good directions and then said, "BTW, if you're sure you want to take the castle tour, buy your tickets here and you'll save."

I don't remember if it was 10% or more. I'm guessing the same discount may be available at other TI offices near various castles & other properties.

Posted by
5678 posts

One other thing to look at since you're a family is possible membership. I bought a Historic Scotland membership when I was in Scotland as when I added everything up it made sense. Here's a link to their prices for membership. You get a magazine too. :) It's only six pound more and there would be no restrictions on times etc. So, you have to do your math.

Posted by
3122 posts

What you don't want is to invest in a pass and then find yourself exhausted and cranky, yet feeling obligated to rush from one destination to another to get your money's worth. Be realistic about how many hours of driving you can do in a day without getting overstressed, taking into account the fact that many of the roads in Scotland are narrow, winding, and often steep.

Posted by
33332 posts

The original poster here, craig anderson the lawyer, asked his questions between January and April, and traveled in July and August.

I'm guessing that he and his family are back by now.

This thread was woken up today by another poster - it would have probably been better if they had started their own thread so their answers would be together.

Just to point out to answerers that the question is now different.