Is Scotland Explorer Pass worth it – find out how much money you can save in this Historic Scotland Explorer Pass review.
I love castles. I knew that Scotland is full of castles, so when I was planning my trip I tried to add to the itinerary as many of them as I can.
Unfortunately, the castles are not free as most of the museums in Scotland are. To visit a large castle (like Stirling or Edinburgh Castle) you have to pay around £15, for a small one – around £7. If you have a few castles on your list, this can be quite a big part of your vacation budget.
Historic Scotland Explorer Pass Review
Is Scotland Explorer Pass worth it? What’s included? From where to buy it? Find all the information you need in this detailed Historic Scotland Explorer pass review.
What’s included in Historic Scotland Pass
- free entry to 77 sites in Scotland (plus a fast track entry to Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle)
- 20% discount on audio tours at Edinburgh Castle
Free entry to 77 sites in Scotland
You get a free entry to the most popular castles and abbeys in all Scotland. This includes Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, Melrose Abbey, Glasgow Cathedral, Doune Castle and many more. See the full Scotland Explorer Pass list at the end of the article.
And the best part is that you also get a fast track entry to the two most famous castles in Scotland – in Edinburgh and Stirling.
20% discount on audio tours at Edinburgh Castle
You can tour the Edinburgh Castle by joining a walking tour (included in its entry fee) or renting an audio guide.
The meeting point of the walking tour is through the Portcullis Gate past the audio booth by the clock.
If you prefer to explore the castle on your own pace, get the audio guide. It costs £3.50 but with the card, you’ll get a 20% discount.
Explorer Pass types
There are two main types: a 5-day card and 5-day card. Additionally, each of them has a family option (for 2 adults and up to 6 kids).
The 5-day card is valid for 5 consecutive days. During the buying process select the date on which you will use the card for the first time (for example 1 August). Your card will be valid until 5 August. You can use it to visit multiple sites in one day, but every site can be visited only once.
The same applies to the 14-day card.
Scotland Explorer Pass Price 2019
- 5-Day Card – £35
- 14-Day Card – £45
- 5-Day Family Card – £70
- 14-Day Family Card – £90
How much money did I save using the Scottish Explorer Pass
I found the Scotland Explorer Pass by accident while researching for some information about Stirling Castle. I planned to visit Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, Linlithgow Palace and Craigmillar Castle (didn’t make it to the last one). All this would cost me £45.5. Using the 5-day Historic Scotland Pass I saved £10.5. I also got a 20% discount on the audio tour at the Edinburgh Castle.
- Edinburgh Castle – £18.50
- Stirling Castle – £15
- Linlithgow Palace – £6
- Craigmillar Castle -£6
Total without the card – £45.5, with it – £35
Total savings £10.5
Is the Scotland Explorer Pass worth it after all
If you plan to visit more than 2 castles, the Scotland Explorer Pass is worth it in all cases. Moreover, there will be no need to wait in line for tickets at Edinburgh and Stirling Castles.
Where to buy Explorer Pass Scotland
You can buy it in person at the first visited site. However, in this case, you’ll lose time waiting in line.
Then just redeem the voucher at the first attraction you visit.
Scotland Explorer Pass list
Using the card you’ll have free entry to all sites listed below. Please note that this information is current as of the date of publication (January 2019).
You can find here a map of the Historic Scotland Explorer Pass.
Edinburgh and the Lothians
- 1 Blackness Castle
- 2 Cairnpapple Hill
- 3 Craigmillar Castle
- 4 Crichton Castle
- 5 Dirleton Castle and Gardens
- 6 Edinburgh Castle
- 7 Linlithgow Palace
- 8 Seton Collegiate Church
- 9 Tantallon Castle
- 10 Trinity House Maritime Museum
The Scottish Borders
- 11 Dryburgh Abbey
- 12 Hermitage Castle
- 13 Jedburgh Abbey
- 14 Melrose Abbey
- 15 Smailholm Tower
Dumfries and Galloway
- 16 Caerlaverock Castle
- 17 Cardoness Castle
- 18 Dundrennan Abbey
- 19 Glenluce Abbey
- 20 MacLellan’s Castle
- 21 New Abbey Corn Mill
- 22 Sweetheart Abbey
- 23 Threave Castle
- 24 Whithorn Priory and Museum
Glasgow, Clyde and Ayrshire
- 25 Bothwell Castle
- 26 Craignethan Castle
- 27 Crossraguel Abbey
- 28 Dumbarton Castle
- 29 Dundonald Castle
- 30 Glasgow Cathedral
- 31 Newark Castle
- 32 Rothesay Castle
Central and West
- 33 Argyll’s Lodging
- 34 Bonawe Historic Iron Furnace
- 35 Castle Campbell and Gardens
- 36 Doune Castle
- 37 Dunblane Cathedral
- 38 Dunstaffnage Castle and Chapel
- 39 Inchmahome Priory
- 40 Iona Abbey and Nunnery
- 41 Stirling Castle
The Kingdom of Fife
- 42 Aberdour Castle and Gardens
- 43 Dunfermline Abbey and Palace
- 44 Inchcolm Abbey and Island
- 45 St Andrews Castle
- 46 St Andrews Cathedral
Perthshire, Kinross and Angus
- 47 Arbroath Abbey
- 48 Edzell Castle and Garden
- 49 Elcho Castle
- 50 Huntingtower Castle
- 51 Lochleven Castle
- 52 Meigle Sculptured Stone Museum
- 53 St Serf’s Church and Dupplin Cross
- 54 St Vigeans Sculptured Stones
- 55 Stanley Mills
North and Grampian
- 56 Balvenie Castle
- 57 Corgarff Castle
- 58 Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery
- 59 Duff House
- 60 Elgin Cathedral
- 61 Fort George
- 62 Huntly Castle
- 63 Kildrummy Castle
- 64 Kinnaird Head Castle Lighthouse and The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses
- 65 Spynie Palace
- 66 Tolquhon Castle
- 67 Urquhart Castle
The Western Isles
- 68 The Blackhouse, Arnol
- 69 Calanais Standing Stones
- 70 Kisimul Castle
- 71 The Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces, Kirkwall
- 72 Broch of Gurness
- 73 Brough of Birsay
- 74 Hackness Martello Tower and Battery
- 76 Maeshowe Chambered Cairn
- 77 Skara Brae Prehistoric Village
- 75 Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement
Take a whisky tasting tour in Glasgow.
Discover the beauty of the Scottish Highlands on a day tour to Loch Ness from Glasgow.
Reveal the dark history of the city in this night tour of Edinburgh.
Explore the most picturesque region of Scotland on a day tour to Highlands from Edinburgh.
Find more must-see sites in Scotland in DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Scotland.
Most popular cities to visit in Scotland are Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Edinburgh is a charming medieval city and the capital of the country. Find out how to spend a long weekend in Edinburgh.
Glasgow is the biggest city in Scotland and it’s well known for its music and culture. Check out what to do in Glasgow for a day.
If you’re planning to rent a car, compare the car rental prices in Europe.