Which Edinburgh City Pass is Best?

This post covers each of the discount passes currently available in Edinburgh, including information about how to use them, how much money you can save, and which attractions are included.

 

 


Overview

If you’re looking to enjoy multiple attractions or activities while you’re in Edinburgh, it might make sense to purchase a city pass in order to save a few pounds.

These passes typically require you to pay one flat price for admission to several landmarks, tours, museums, and other things to do, and they include skip-the-line entry to many popular locations.

Here are a few of the best attractions included with at least one of the tourist passes in this post:

  • Edinburgh Zoo
  • Blackness Castle
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Craigmillar Castle
  • Edinburgh Dungeon
  • Harry Potter Tour
  • Forth Boat Tours
  • Seton Collegiate Church
  • Hop on Hop off Bus Tours
  • Butterfly and Insect World
  • Palace of Holyroodhouse
  • And more!

Anyone who plans on visiting more than a few of these locations while in Edinburgh could potentially save money with one of the following passes.


All-Inclusive Pass

This type of tourist pass typically includes dozens of attractions and tours you can enjoy for a specific amount of time (1, 2, 3, 7, 14 days).

Depending on how you use these passes, you could save 40% – 60% off general admission prices for a variety of fun activities.

The all-inclusive pass is best for those who plan on enjoying as many attractions as possible while they’re visiting Edinburgh.

While you can easily save some money by using these passes for just a few things, you’ll save the most by using your pass for at least 4-5 services.

There is currently one all-inclusive pass which includes a variety of different things to see and do, while the other is more focused on providing admission to historic landmarks.

It will be important to consider which activities interest you and pick the pass that best fits your itinerary.


Prepackaged Pass

There is currently only one prepackaged service in Edinburgh and it provides access to three specific sites and one hop on hop off bus tour.

While the amount you can save is limited to just 25% off general admission prices, it might be worth considering if you’re only planning to visit these few specific locations in this city.

This pass is valid for a total of 48 hours, giving you time to take the bus tour and visit all three historic landmarks included. 

There is no time slot required at any of the attractions, so you can visit them whenever you want within the 2 days that the pass is active.

Due to its short window of validity, this is a great option for anyone who only has a few days in Edinburgh. That said, if you’re more interested in family attractions or activities, a 1 or 2-day all-inclusive pass could also be an excellent option.


Combo Package

While these aren’t tourist passes, they will allow you to save some money on a few popular activities. Most combination deals include one bus or boat tour and one attraction.

These combo packages typically won’t offer as big of a discount as an all-inclusive pass, but they’re an excellent option for anyone who doesn’t plan to spend a lot of time in Edinburgh.

Since most combo deals include at least one tour, these are also excellent options for anyone who wants to learn more about the city.

 


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All-Inclusive

This section covers both of the all-inclusive tourist passes currently available in Edinburgh. These services range from £33 – £65 per person, and they are valid for between 1 – 14 days. 

While one pass includes a lot more family-friendly activities, the other is focused almost entirely on historic sites and landmarks. We’ll provide a breakdown of price per day and how to use each pass to save money.


Edinburgh City Pass

With a total of 23 attractions and activities included, this is probably one of the best passes available in the city of Edinburgh. The pass is available for either 1, 2, or 3 days at a time.

While other services focus more on historic landmarks, the Edinburgh City Pass features a nice mixture of tours, family-friendly attractions, and popular tourist destinations.

Depending on how you use this pass, you could save 40% – 60% off general admission prices for each of the activities you choose.

Here are a few of the best attractions included with this tourist pass:

  • Hop on Hop off Bus Tours | £10
  • The Edinburgh Dungeon | £14
  • Scott Monument Museum | £8
  • Butterfly and Insect World | £8
  • Gravity Trampoline Park | £12.50
  • Nelson Monument | £6
  • Newhailes House | £5
  • Holyrood Distillery | £14
  • Harry Potter Tour | £12
  • Forth Boat Tours | £15
  • Dynamic Earth | £16
  • Edinburgh Zoo | £20
  • And more!

As you can see, most of the tickets included are between €5-€15 on their own, so it’ll be important to use your pass for at least 4-5 attractions per day to save the most money possible.

Here are the prices for each Edinburgh City Pass:

  • 1-Day Pass: £45/Adults | £20/Children
  • 2-Day Pass: £55/Adults | £26/Children
    • Price per day: £27.50/Adults | £13/Children
  • 3-Day Pass: £65/Adults | £30/Children
    • Price per day: £21.66/Adults | £10/Children

Purchase the Edinburgh City Pass.

Needless to say, you’ll save more money per day by purchasing a 2 or 3-day pass. These options also give you the benefit of being able to use your pass for even more activities, allowing you to get the most out of it.

Here’s an example of how you could use this pass to save a few pounds using the 3-day pass:

Day 1

  • Hop on Hop off Bus Tour | £10
  • Nelson Monument | £6
  • Newhailes House | £5
  • Dynamic Earth | £16

Day 2

  • Forth Boat Tour | £15
  • Edinburgh Zoo | £20
  • The Edinburgh Dungeon | £14
  • Harry Potter Tour | £12

Day 3

  • Butterfly and Insect World | £8
  • Scott Monument Museum | £8
  • Holyrood Distillery | £14
  • Gravity Trampoline Park | £12.50

Total Value: £140.50

Total Price: £65

Total Savings: £75.50 (54% off)

One of the main differences between this discount pass and others is that the Edinburgh City Pass doesn’t include admission to the Edinburgh Castle.

If you’re interested in visiting this landmark, you’ll either have to purchase individual tickets or consider another tourist pass instead.

Another notable difference is that this pass gives you complete control over how much money you save; the more you use it, the bigger your discount will be!

As if that weren’t enough, with admission to sites such as the Edinburgh Zoo, the Butterfly Insect World and the Gravity Trampoline Park, this is an excellent pass for families visiting Edinburgh.

That said, if you’re looking to visit more historic landmarks, you may want to consider one of the alternatives on this post in addition to this pass.

For less than £80 total, you could enjoy admission to almost every popular attraction in the city!

 


Edinburgh Explorer Pass

Unlike the Edinburgh City Pass, this all-inclusive option focuses on historic sites all over Scotland and includes almost a dozen attractions in or around the city.

Although there aren’t as many activities or tours included with this service, it’s definitely a great deal if you plan to travel around Scotland and see more than just what Edinburgh has to offer, as there are more than 70 Scottish attractions included with the Explorer Pass.

In addition to providing free entry to dozens of historic landmarks, this pass also provides admission to some daytime events and a 20% discount on audio tours at Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, and Glasgow Cathedral.

Since this pass can be used all over Scotland, it is also available for longer periods of time – 3, 7, or 14 days. Needless to say, the longer your pass lasts, the more time you’ll have to take advantage of its benefits!

Here are the best historic attractions near Edinburgh which are included with this tourist pass:

  • Edinburgh Castle | £19.50
  • Craigmillar Castle | £6
  • Blackness Castle | £6
  • Crichton Castle | £6
  • Tantallon Castle | £6
  • Dirleton Castle & Garden | £6
  • Seton Collegiate Church | £6
  • Cairnpapple Hill | £6
  • Linlithgow Palace | £9
  • Inchcolm Abbey & Island | £6

If you’re interested in traveling a bit further outside of Edinburgh, this pass can also be used for admission to the following locations:

  • St. Andrew’s Castle | £9
  • St. Andrew’s Cathedral | £6
  • Aberdour Castle | £6
  • Stirling Castle | £15
  • Urquhart Castle | £12
  • Newark Castle | £6
  • Castle Campbell & Gardens | £6
  • Doune Castle | £9
  • Inchmahome Priory | £9
  • Iona Abbey & Nunnery | £9
  • And many more!

Although tickets are already pretty affordable, this pass is still a great way to save money if you plan to visit at least 4-5 of the locations included per day.

Here are the Edinburgh Explorer pass prices and options:

3-Day Pass: £33/Adults | £21/Kids | £26.50/Students

  • Family Pass (2 Adults + up to 6 Kids): £66
    • Price per day: £11/Adults | £7/Kids | £8.83/Students

7-Day Pass: £40/Adults | £26/Kids | £32/Students

  • Family Pass (2 Adults + up to 6 Kids): £80
    • Price per day: £5.71/Adults | £3.71/Kids | £4.57/Students

14-Day Pass: £45/Adults | £29/Kids | £36/Students

  • Family Pass (2 Adults + up to 6 Kids): £90
    • Price per day: £3.21/Adults | £2.07/Kids | £2.57/Students

Purchase the Edinburgh Explorer Pass.

Even if you’re only planning to visit some of the locations in or around Edinburgh, chances are you’ll still be able to save a few pounds using this pass. 

Here’s an example of how you could use the 3-day option to get a discount:

Day 1

  • Edinburgh Castle | £19.50
  • Craigmillar Castle | £6

Day 2

  • Linlithgow Palace | £9
  • Blackness Castle | £6

Day 3

  • Dirleton Castle & Garden | £6
  • Tantallon Castle | £6

Total Value: £52.50

Total Price: £33

Total Savings: £19.50 (38% off)

While you won’t save as much with this pass as you can with others, it does include several historic landmarks outside of the city that aren’t provided with either the Edinburgh City Pass or the Royal Edinburgh Ticket.

Even if you’re planning to get another tourist pass, this one is a no brainer for anyone interested in visiting multiple historic sites in and around the city. 

Another thing to consider is how long you’re going to be in Scotland. If you plan to visit for more than a week, you could visit just one new heritage site every day and still pay less per day for the 7-day pass than you would for individual tickets.

 


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Prepackaged Pass

The following section will cover any prepackaged passes in Edinburgh.

While you can’t save as much using this option as you can with other services, it’s a great choice for anyone with limited time who is more interested in historic sites and tours.


The Royal Edinburgh Ticket

This prepackaged pass includes admission to 3 popular historic attractions and one hop on hop off bus tour throughout the city of Edinburgh.

Although the amount you can save is limited to just 25% off, this is still a great deal for anyone who wants to visit the landmarks included.

Here are all of the services you’ll be able to enjoy with the Royal Edinburgh Ticket:

  • Edinburgh Castle | £19.50
  • The Palace of Holyroodhouse | £16.50
  • The Royal Yacht Britannia | £17
  • 48-Hour Hop on Hop off Bus Tour | £24

Total Value: £77

Total Price: £57.75

Total Savings: £19.25 (25% off)

Purchase the Royal Edinburgh Ticket or learn more.

If you’re not interested in the Edinburgh Explorer Pass, this could be an excellent alternative.

In addition to including admission to Edinburgh Castle, this is the only pass that provides tickets for the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Royal Yacht Britannia.

As if that weren’t enough, no other pass includes the 48-hour hop on hop off bus ticket, and this service covers three different bus tours: City Sightseeing, the Edinburgh Tour and the Majestic Tour.

Of course, if you don’t need a 48-hour bus tour ticket, the Edinburgh City Pass includes a 24-hour hop on hop off bus tour which may better suit your needs.

For more details about these services, please read our post covering Edinburgh hop on hop off bus tours.

While you won’t save as much with this pass as you will with others, it’s easy to see how this could be a preferable option for anyone who is more interested in seeing historic landmarks. 

Since the Royal Edinburgh Ticket is valid for 48 hours, this is also a great choice for anyone who will only be in the city for a few days.

 


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Combo Packages

This section covers some of the best combo deals available in Edinburgh, including discounts for hop on hop off bus tours, historic landmarks, and other fun activities & attractions.

48-Hour Hop on Hop off Bus Tour

  • Includes 24 hour City Sightseeing tour
  • Includes Edinburgh Bus tour
  • Includes Majestic bus tour

48-Hour Hop on Hop off Bus Tour + Firth of Forth Cruise

  • Includes 48-Hour Hop on Hop off Bus Tour Ticket
  • Includes Firth of Forth Cruise

Edinburgh Walking Tour + Edinburgh Castle

  • Includes a historical walking tour of the city.
  • Includes admission to Edinburgh Castle.

 


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