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Explorer Pass

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is an Historic Scotland Explorer Pass?
The Explorer Pass is a one-price admission ticket to 78 Historic Scotland properties.

What is included?
FREE entry to 78 castles, cathedrals, palaces and even a historic whisky distillery.
FREE entry to our programme of daytime events.
20% Discount on Audio tours at Edinburgh Castle

How much will I save?
As an example, the total cost of normal admission for an adult to Edinburgh, Stirling & Urquhart Castle’s is £37.90. A 3 Day (over 5 days) pass is £29.00 and saves you £8.90! If you know all the properties you plan to visit simply add up the normal admission fee for all of them and compare with the price of the pass.

Who can buy the Explorer Pass and how?
The pass is available to everyone and can be used for individuals, families or groups. It can be bought on arrival at the first Historic Scotland property or online in advance

Who do the categories cover?
Adult:16-59 year olds
Concession:        60 years and over, Students in full time education on production of a valid ID and
Unemployed in receipt of state benefits
Child:5-15 year olds (under 5s go free). Children must be accompanied by an adult
Family:2 adults and up to 6 children (aged 5-15yrs)

Why do you have a child pass when there is a family option?
The child pass is available if there are more than 6 children or if one adult and one child are visiting it is more cost effective to buy an adult and child pass. Children under five go free and do not require a pass.

How is my pass validated?
When purchasing the pass online you must select the date of your first visit. Your pass will become valid from your selected date. Multiple sites may be visited in any one day and only one visit per site is permitted.

Can I change the start date of my pass?
To change the start date of your pass, please contact +44 (0)131 668 8081 or email during office hours (Mon–Fri, 9am-5pm).

How long is it valid for and how does it work?
There are two options – 3 Day (over 5 days) and 7 Day (over 14 days).

A 3 day pass is valid over 5 days and can be used on any 3 days within that 5 day period. A 7 day pass is vaild over 14 days and can be used on any 7 days within that 14 day period. You do not have to visit on consecutive days, which allows time to travel and do other things.

I’m having difficulty ordering the passes from your website?
  • Go to our webstore
  • Enter the quantity against each category of pass and add to basket
  • You will then be taken through the checkout process

How will I receive my pass?
You will receive an email confirmation with your Print At Home Explorer Pass attached as an Adobe PDF. Please print the pass (which contains barcodes) and bring it with you.

Valid identification must be shown to match the name printed on the pass. If you are a full time student and have selected a concession pass, you will be asked to produce a valid student identification card.

If this is not suitable you can buy the pass at the first staffed Historic Scotland property you visit. Also available at Visitor Information Centres based at both Edinburgh and Glasgow Airports, as well as the main Visitor Information Centres on Princes Street in Edinburgh and George Square in Glasgow.

I have purchased Explorer Passes online but I have not received my confirmation email?
If you have not received your print at home Explorer Pass, please contact +44 (0)131 668 8081 or email during office hours (Mon–Fri, 9am-5pm).

Do I still have to pay an admission to each property?
You only pay once for your pass and you then gain free entry to Historic Scotland properties for the validity of the pass.

Does the Explorer Pass give fast track entry?
The Explorer Pass has a barcode on the front which enables you to beat the queues and be scanned straight in at Edinburgh & Stirling Castles. At all other sites you must show your pass at the ticket office for entry.

Are the properties open all year?
The majority of our properties are open year round, Summer (Apr-Sept), 9.30am to 5.30pm and Winter (Oct-Mar), 9.30am to 4.30pm. Some of our smaller properties may close for a short period over lunch, please telephone to check.  

Edinburgh & Stirling Castles are open all year round apart from Christmas Day & Boxing Day (25 & 26 December), with reduced hours provided on 1st January (confirmed times will be provided on our website nearer the time).

All other Historic Scotland attractions will be closed for the festive period on 25th & 26th December and 1st & 2nd January. Opening dates may vary seasonally and some sites may close in winter.

Full opening times for each property can be found on the Places to Visit section of our website.

What happens if I can't make it or my pass is lost or stolen?
Explorer Passes cannot be refunded or exchanged once an order is made. The pass is not transferable, refundable or replaceable when lost or stolen.

Some of my questions have not been answered?
Please email us at or telephone +44 (0)131 668 8999 and a member of the team will reply during normal working hours (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).

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Contact us

Historic Scotland
Longmore House
Salisbury Place
Tel: +44(0) 131 668 8999