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Book in advance to visit Scotland’s historic places. Before you travel, please check the latest Scottish Government guidance.

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Explorer Pass FAQs

Planning your visit

Our pass includes entry to over 20 of our sites that are open including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles. For a full list of the sites that are open visit www.historicreopening.scot

Entry to our sites will be managed by means of timed ticketing with capacity limits for all time slots. All passholders must book their visits in advance.

All passes must be bought online, they cannot be bought at our sites.

Please ensure you reserve a timeslot for your visit at each site to help us manage capacity safely. You can reserve your visit online

Entry will not be permitted without a valid pass and a reservation for the individual site.

We are supporting NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect to help ensure the health and safety of all visitors to our sites. As such this will mean that we shall be recording the name and contact details of visitors making an online booking to visit our sites.

This information shall be used to enable NHS Scotland to contact you should you have been at one of our sites at the same time as someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. For further information on how we shall process your data please see our privacy notice.

We are required by law to take all reasonable measures to ensure that distance of at least 2m is maintained between all people at our sites, and everyone visiting our sites.

Signage to remind visitors about distancing will be available on site which may also include one-way systems.

Screens will be in place at ticketing points and till points to separate visitors from our staff.

The health and safety of our visitors is our main priority. On entry, a hygiene station will be located at all ticketed sites. We ask all visitors to clean their hands-on entry.

Enhanced cleaning regimes will be in place at all ticketed sites, including all touch points and toilet facilities.

Our staff have been trained in hygiene and physical distancing and provided with the necessary PPE. Cleaning regimes will also be constantly under review and will be adjusted as required.

Please check our individual site listings to see whether your furry friend can join you on your visit.

Where sites normally have toilets, they will be open. Please see individual site listings. Enhanced cleaning measures will be in place across all facilities.

In line with Scottish Government legislation and guidance, facing coverings are mandatory if you are visiting our shops and if you are entering our cafés and are not seated at a table (subject to some exceptions).

Please note masks will not be provided, so make sure you bring one with you.

Face coverings are not required while visiting external areas of the sites.

Unfortunately to ensure that we manage our capacities at sites, you can only visit each site once.

Unfortunately, entry to Holyrood Palace is not included.

Booking your passes and visits

We accept Visa, Visa Debit, Mastercard and American Express.

All passes need to be booked online in advance – at the moment we do not have the facilities to process payments over the phone.

No. Advance online booking is required to visit our sites and a card only service will be operated on site including our cafés and shops.

Following government guidance and to help us with capacity management and physical distancing measures on site visitors, all passes must be booked in advance. Then a timeslot for all individual site visits will need to be booked in advance prior to visiting. Each timeslot has a limited capacity and once these are full, we will not be able to accommodate additional visitors.

No - Following government guidance and to help us with managing physical distancing you will need to book tickets online prior to arriving. However, you can book online on the day of your visit if there are tickets available.

In line with best practice in the visitor attractions industry and as advised by Capability Scotland, visitors with disabilities are treated on an equal basis with all other visitors and entry is charged at the appropriate admission category rate - Adult/Concession/Child. Proof of disability is not required.

We recognise that some visitors with disabilities may need help to visit our properties and we offer free entry for carers accompanying visitors with disabilities. To book a free carer ticket, email ticketing@hes.scot and quote your order number.

Please make an online booking for the paying members of your party. To book a free carer’s ticket, please email us at ticketing@hes.scot, quoting your order number.

Your tickets will be attached in your email confirmation in a PDF document. Please print your tickets and bring them with you for entry. You can also opt to collect your tickets on arrival and print them at the designated ticket collection points.

No, we are unable to post tickets. Tickets will be emailed to you.

No, your email confirmation email should arrive shortly after booking. If you have not received this, please check your junk folder in the first instance. If you have not received this please contact ticketing@hes.scot with details of your booking (name on booking, email address used and property visiting) and they will investigate and get back to you as soon as possible.

If the web page is not displaying correctly, we advise you to clear the cache/cookies on your browser then close the browser and reopen it. The ticketing page should now load correctly. If this doesn’t work the date/time slot you wish may be sold out – please check for an alternative date/time.

If you cannot find the email confirmation please email ticketing@hes.scot with your booking details (name on booking, email address used and property visiting).

All visitors aged 60, full-time students and over and UK visitors who are unemployed are eligible for Concession tickets. You will be asked to show proof of eligibility on arrival.

Yes, full-time students are eligible for the Explorer Pass concession category.

Once you have purchased your explorer pass, you will need to pre-book your visit to our sites and pick a timeslot. The time on your ticket is when you should arrive on site. You can spend as long as you like at the site from your entry slot until closing for the majority of sites. Some sites may have a maximum visit time of 2 hours. Please check the specific property webpage for further details.

Not all sites have the facilities so if you have selected Print at Home as your delivery method, please print your tickets and bring them with you for entry. You can also opt to collect your tickets on arrival and print them at the designated ticket collection points.

Visitors arriving at our sites will have their passes scanned for entry by staff who will adhere to physical distancing.

No. The time shown is the earliest you can arrive, and you can arrive at any point within your chosen timeslot.

We’ll do our best to fit you in if we can, but if we’ve reached capacity for the time slot when you arrive, you will have to wait until the next available time slot.

Travelling to our sites

Some of our sites do have parking however each site is different so you may need to book a car space when booking your ticket. Please check the information on the web page for the site you wish to visit.

We do have blue badge spaces at some of our sites. Please check the information on the web page for the site you wish to visit.

Please check the information on the web page for the site you wish to visit.

Cancellations, refunds and exchanges

Please contact our Admissions & Sales Team, ticketing@hes.scot or call 0131 668 8831

In the event of severe weather such as strong winds or snow, we may need to close our sites. The sites will close if the weather presents a hazard and a risk to visitors.

We recommend that you check our website and our social media channels on the day you are going to visit, especially if severe weather is forecast, as a closure notice will be posted here first.

Customers will then be contacted by us shortly afterwards with details regarding how to rebook or how to claim a refund. If you have not been contacted within 48 hours please contact ticketing@hes.scot.

All tickets purchased are non-refundable as per our terms and conditions however if tickets are available for different dates then we can alter your existing booking. Please contact ticketing@hes.scot with your booking details

If we have availability then yes, we can alter the date of your tickets, please contact ticketing@hes.scot with your booking details. With staff working from home please be aware that our response times may be slower.

Please do not visit if you feel unwell with any symptoms of COVID-19 or have come into contact with anyone who may have symptoms. Contact us at ticketing@hes.scot with your booking details to re-arrange your visit.