Edinburgh City Pass
What’s the Edinburgh City Pass?
The Edinburgh City Pass is your ticket to 22 hand-picked attractions in Edinburgh. However, unlike other city passes, it does not include the standard attractions you may want to see on your first visit to a city.
Instead, the Edinburgh City Pass offers somewhat off-the-path attractions that are not featured in every top 10 list. This product is true to the official motto: “Edinburgh. But not as you know it.” In addition, the Edinburgh City Pass includes a free tram transfer from the airport to the city (round trip) and 24 hours on the Hop-on Hop-off bus.
You can buy this city pass online and download it to your smartphone or have it sent to your home by mail. When you use it at the first attraction, the pass is activated. From that moment on it is valid for 1, 2 or 3 consecutive calendar days – depending on which option you choose.
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How Much Does the Edinburgh Pass Cost?
The following table gives an overview of the prices:
For children under 5 years of age, admission to the attractions is free of charge.
What’s Included in the Edinburgh Pass?
The Edinburgh City Pass includes 22 free attractions as well as the airport transfer by tram (round trip) and the Hop-on Hop-off bus. The table below contains all the benefits of the city pass.
Last updated: 08/2020Edinburgh City Passes (UK) - Edinburgh City Pass
All attractions as well as information about the sights can also be found in the official manual, which you can download even before you buy the pass.
Our Assessment of the Included Attractions
The Edinburgh City Pass does what it’s supposed to do. It includes many attractions that are not in every top 10 list. However, this means that Edinburgh’s main attractions are missing: the Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Royal Yacht Britannia. Nevertheless, the city pass includes some classic attractions, including the Scott Monument Museum, the Nelson Monument, the Zoo and the Edinburgh Dungeon.
You should know that the Edinburgh City Pass does not give you fast track admission. As a pass holder you will have to queue at the box office like other visitors. In high season you may have to wait in line at some sights while the city pass clock is running. By the way, some attractions or tours require prior registration by e-mail or telephone. Please check the official website for details.
Not all attractions included in the city pass are located in the city centre. Some of them can still be reached by public transport, even if it takes a while. Others can only be reached by car or taxi. Often it is not worth using the Edinburgh City Pass for these inconveniently located attractions. The affected locations are marked with an asterisk in the table above.
Note on Airport Transfer
The Edinburgh City Pass includes a free tram transfer from the airport to the city centre and back. To use the tram you will need to enter the first day of travel online after purchasing your city pass. From that day onwards your ticket is activated. You can start your return journey at any time later (even after the city pass has expired).
Remember, however, that the first tram ride will activate the entire Edinburgh City Pass. This means that you should start your sightseeing tour immediately after arriving in the city. Accordingly, the tram ride from the airport to the city is only worthwhile if you arrive in Edinburgh in the morning and have time for sightseeing afterwards.
Validity of the Edinburgh City Pass
The Edinburgh City Pass comes in three versions: it is valid for 1, 2 or 3 consecutive calendar days. Time starts running out the first time you use the pass at an attraction or on the tram.
To get the most value out of your pass you should start your sightseeing early in the morning. If you activate it in the afternoon, there won’t be much of your first day left.
Keep in mind that many sights do not open until 10 am and close in the afternoon. For opening hours, please refer to the enclosed manual.
Is the Edinburgh Pass Worth it?
The Edinburgh City Pass is suitable for travellers who have been to Edinburgh before and have already visited the major attractions. Visitors who are not interested in castles and palaces but would like to immerse themselves in the city’s culture can also benefit from this city pass.
The longer the pass is valid, the more it is worthwhile, as the purchase price per day of use decreases with increasing duration:
- 1-day pass: £45.00
- 2-day pass: £55.00 = £27.50 per day
- 3 day pass: £65.00 = £21.67 per day
The city pass for one day can still be worthwhile if you are interested in attractions that are expensive and centrally located in Edinburgh: Rabbie’s Edinburgh City Bus Tour, Edinburgh Dungeon and Dynamic Earth together cost £45.50. If you manage to visit even more attractions on the one day you’ll save money with the city pass.
The 3-day pass, however, is more rewarding. It is suitable for travellers who spend a long weekend in Edinburgh, for example from Friday to Sunday. When you land at the airport in the morning, you can use the pass for the tram ride into the city. You then have three days to visit attractions worth around £20.00 a day. This is easily possible.
The following example shows that the City Pass is worthwhile for a validity of three days if you visit two or three attractions per day:
- Hop-on Hop-off bus: £10.00
- Harry Potter Walking Tour: £15.00
- Dynamic Earth: £14.50
- Edinburgh Dungeon: £15.00
- Holyrood Distillery Tour: £14.00
- The Vaults Tour: £13.00
- Nelson Monument: £6.00
- Scott Monument Museum: £8.00
In this example you will visit attractions worth £95.50. The 3-day city pass is only £65.00, thus you’ll save £30.50!
The best way to get the most value out of your Edinburgh City Pass is to visit the expensive attractions within easy reach. However, even small attractions that don’t take up much time can be worth it. If you like sightseeing and are interested in many different attractions, the 3-day pass will definitely be worth it.
When Isn’t the Edinburgh Pass Worth it?
Those who are in Edinburgh for the first time and want to visit the most important sights should not buy this city pass. In this case, the Royal Edinburgh Ticket is the much better product. With this ticket you get free entrance to the Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse as well as the Royal Yacht Britannia. The ticket also allows you to use the Hop-on Hop-off buses for 48 hours.
If you’re interested in Edinburgh’s museums, you don’t need a city pass either, as most museums are free for visitors.
Some of the attractions included in this City Pass are located outside of the city. They are difficult or impossible to reach by public transport. The value of these attractions is only £5.00 to £10.00 each, so it is unlikely to be worthwhile using the city pass.
Where Can You Get the Edinburgh Pass?
You can buy the pass from the official website or at the VisitScotland iCentre in Princes Street, Edinburgh. If you buy the pass online, you will receive a digital pass for your smartphone.
You can also choose to receive a plastic card by mail. This offer is only availabe through the official website. The shipping costs are only £2.50. The delivery time is about 10 working days. Depending on your choice, you will receive the travel guide either digitally or as a brochure by mail.
The validity period of the pass only starts when you activate the pass. Activation takes place at the first attraction. You will receive instructions on how to use the tram transfer after purchase.
FAQ About the Edinburgh Pass
Can I visit the attractions more than once?
No, each attraction can only be visited once with the Edinburgh Pass. Your ticket will be electronically validated upon admission.
How long is the Edinburgh Pass valid?
Depending on which option you choose, the Edinburgh City Pass is valid for either 1, 2 or 3 calendar days. The validity period begins when the pass is activated at the first attraction or tram ride.
Can I freely choose the visiting hours?
Basically, yes. However, you should note the opening hours of the sights. A few attractions also remain closed in winter. Some tours only take place a few days a week.
Do I need a ticket for my children?
The Edinburgh City Pass is also available for children aged 5-16. They pay a reduced price. Older teenagers have to pay the regular price.
For children under 5 years of age, admission to the attractions is free.
Who can I contact if I have questions?
The Edinburgh City Pass is issued by Open Pass Scotland Ltd. If you have any questions about the pass you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I use public transport with this pass?
The city pass is only valid for tram travel from the airport to the city centre and back. Additional journeys by public transport must be paid for separately.
Alternatives to the Edinburgh City Pass
Besides the Edinburgh City Pass, there is currently only one other city pass for Edinburgh: the Royal Edinburgh Ticket. The included attractions of these two passes do not overlap at all, so they complement each other very well.
The Royal Edinburgh Ticket only includes attractions that are not included in the Edinburgh City Pass:
- Priority entrance to Edinburgh Castle
- Priority entrance to the Palace of Holyroodhouse
- Priority entrance to the Royal Yacht Britannia
- 48 hours Hop-on Hop-off bus ride
If you can’t warm up for a city pass, many attractions in Edinburgh offer online tickets that you can buy at Get Your Guide. In addition to the attractions already mentioned, which are included in the Royal Edinburgh Ticket, there are also the following offers:
- Airport Bus to the city with flexible return
- Ghostly Underground Vaults Tour
- Magic Tour: on the tracks of Harry Potter
- Day trip to Loch Ness and the Highlands
If you are travelling all over Scotland, the Historic Scotland Explorer Pass may be worth your while.