/ The Edinburgh Guide
Edinburgh — By Andy Hayes on April 20, 2010 at 11:21 am
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Save Big Bucks this Summer: the Scottish Hertiage Pass

The folks over at Historic Scotland, the government body tasked with preserving many of the nation’s historic architecture, monuments, and buildings, has just announced a new product that certainly looks like great value for money.  It’s called the Scottish Heritage Pass, and for those visiting (or living in) Scotland and have a genuine interest in sightseeing at some of properties that Historic Scotland maintains, it looks to offer good value for money.  Let’s take a closer look.

What You Get

So this new pass is a joint offering from several tourism organisations in Scoltand: Historic Scotland, The National Trust for Scotland and selected members of The Historic Houses Association Scotland.  That means that you’re getting a lot of mileage for your pass.

The Cost
Passes are valid ONLY during the summer season: 1 April to 30 September 2010.  It is valid for 7 consecutive days.

Prices: £35 adult, £26 concession, £17.50 child
Venues Included

Wow, the list of venues included is a little insane, but in the interest of clarity (since information is hard to find about the pass), I’m including the full list here:

Aberdour Castle & Gardens, Arbroath Abbey, Argyll’s Lodging, Balvenie Castle, Bishop’s & Earl’s Palaces, Blackhouse, Arnol, Blackness Castle, Bonawe Historic Iron Furnace, Bothwell Castle, Broch of Gurness, Brough of Birsay, Caerlaverock Castle ,Cairnpapple Hill, Cardoness Castle, Castle Campbell & Gardens, Corgarff Castle, Craigmillar Castle, Craignethan Castle, Crichton Castle, Crossraguel Abbey, Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery, Dirleton Castle, Doune Castle, Dryburgh Abbey, Dumbarton Castle, Dundonald Castle, Dundrennan Abbey, Dunfermline Abbey & Palace, Dunstaffnage Castle, Edinburgh Castle, Edzell Castle & Garden, Elcho Castle, Elgin Cathedral, Fort George, Glasgow Cathedral, Glenluce Abbey, Hackness Martello Tower & Battery, Hermitage Castle, Huntingtower Castle, Huntly Castle , Inchcolm Abbey & Island, Inchmahome Priory, Iona Abbey & Nunnery, Jarlshof Prehistoric & Norse Settlement, Jedburgh Abbey, Kildrummy Castle, Kisimul Castle, Linlithgow Palace, Lochleven Castle, MacLellan’s Castle, Maeshowe Chambered Cairn, Meigle Sculptured Stone Museum, Melrose Abbey, New Abbey Corn Mill, Newark Castle, Rothesay Castle, Seton Collegiate Church, Skaill House, Skara Brae Prehistoric Village,
Smailholm Tower, Spynie Palace, St Andrews Castle, St Andrews Cathedral, St Vigeans Sculptured Stones, Stanley Mills, Stirling Castle, Sweetheart Abbey, Tantallon Castle, Threave Castle, Tolquhon Castle, Urquhart Castle, Alloa Tower, Angus Folk Museum, Arduaine Garden, Bachelors’ Club, Balmacara Estate & Lochalshm Woodland Garden, Balmerino Abbey, Bannockburn Heritage Centre, Barry Mill, Branklyn Garden,Brodick Castle (inc. Garden & Country Park), Brodie Castle, Broughton House & Garden, Burns National Heritage Park/Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Camera Obscura – Kirriemuir, Castle Fraser (inc. Garden & Estate), Craigievar Castle, Crarae Garden, Crathes Castle (inc. Garden & Estate), Culloden Battlefield, Culross Palace & Garden, Culzean Castle & Country Park, David Livingstone Centre, Drum Castle (inc. Garden & Estate), Falkland Palace & Garden, Fyvie Castle, Geilston Garden, Gladstone’s Land, Glencoe & Glencoe Visitor Centre, Glenfinnan Monument, Greenbank Garden, Haddo House (inc. Garden & Country Park), Harmony Garden, Hill of Tarvit (Garden & Estate only), Holmwood, House of Dun & Montrose Basin Nature Reserve, House of the Binns, Hugh Miller Museum & Birthplace Cottage, Inveresk
Lodge Garden, Inverewe Garden, JM Barrie’s Birthplace, Kellie Castle (inc. Garden & Estate) Killiecrankie,
Leith Hall (Garden & Estate only), Malleny Garden, Menstrie Castle, Newhailes, Pitmedden Garden, Pollok House, Preston Mill & Phantassie Doocot, Priorwood Garden & Dried Flower Shop, Robert Smail’s Printing Works, Souter Johnnie’s Cottage, The Georgian House, The Hill House, The Tenement House, Thomas Carlyle’s Birthplace, Threave Garden & Estate, Weaver’s Cottage, Drumlanrig Castle, Hopetoun House, Mount Stuart, Traquair House

Wow.  That is a monster list.

Is a Pass Right for You?

To me the decision to buy a pass seems relatively straightforward:

  • Will you be visiting during 1 April – 30 September?  If yes….
  • How many of the listed buildings will you be visiting within 7 consecutive days?  Add up the the costs…
  • Do all of the admission fees add up to more than £35?  If so, you’ve just found yourself a bargain!

Looking at this list, I’d say the average admission cost is probably around £8.  So if you’ll see 5 or more attractions, then you’ll be making a savings.  That’s a guestimate so be sure to do a little bit of checking before you buy – in particular, if you are part of a guided tour at any point, have you already paid for access to any of these sites as part of that tour?

Of course, be sure to do your homework, and I certainly wouldn’t condone buying a pass just to spend a week rushing your way through as many historic attractions as possible.  But if you are intending on some hardcore sightseeing, then this may very well save you some cold hard cash.

How To Buy a Pass

Ok, the tricky bit.  The pass is NOT for retail distribution, meaning you can’t just buy it directly – you’ll need to buy it from a travel operator themselves.  I’ve done some scouting and found your best options:

  • If you’re doing any sort of tour while in Britain (coach tour of the Highlands, organised tours of Edinburgh, etc) then your tour operator may be selling passes.  Be sure to ask.
  • Passes are also available on VisitScotland.com, VisitBritain.com, and Expedia.

Note that I didn’t mention any tourism offices – it is not on sale at any tourist office or bureau.  So be sure to plan this one in advance!  It might very well save you some big bucks this Scottish summer.

Photo by sarniebill1



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