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Top Discount Passes for United Kingdom Visitor Attractions

Pre-Paid Discount Tickets Make UK Sightseeing Easy and Cheaper

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If you pay as you go, the cost of entry to UK visitor attractions can really add up. Discount passes for overseas visitors are a great solution, offering free, unlimited entry to hundreds of UK landmarks. Besides saving money, prepaid passes usually allow you to jump the queue at busy sites. Most also include a few extras - like useful guidebooks and maps. And you don't have to keep up with changing exchange rates - you know what you've spent before you go. These are the best passes I've found.

1. English Heritage Overseas Visitor Pass

This is a great discount pass for a first time visitor to England. It provides free, unlimited entry to more than 100 castles, historic battlefields and Roman ruins, plus information about another 300 free sites and free or discounted admission for special events. Key to this pass is that it is an edited selection of the best on offer - so beginners won't be overwhelmed by enormous choice but also won't miss all the good stuff.

The terms of the English Heritage Overseas Visitor Pass are generous as are the savings. And visitors only need to visit three attractions to make the passes pay for themselves. Unusually, two adults traveling together can buy a special pass instead of each having to buy a separate adult pass.

2. Historic Scotland Explorer Pass

When you tour with this flexible pass, there's plenty of time to enjoy Scotland's landscapes, lochs, coasts and mountains as well as its castles, abbeys, museums and prehistoric sites. Unlike some visitors passes that are only worthwhile if you commit yourself to a relentless trek from one landmark to another, the Historic Scotland Explorer Pass is good for a number of days within a longer period, giving you plenty of time for hill rambles, nature walks, loch fishing, golf and boating - all that good, outdoorsy stuff for which Scotland is best known.

3. The National Trust Touring Pass

The pre-paid, National Trust Touring Pass gives free entry to all the National Trust's protected properties, including 300 buildings and gardens, more than 600,000 acres of countryside in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and more than 600 miles of coastline of outstanding beauty. The pass can be purchased for seven or 14 days. Given the trust's extensive holdings and more than 100 years of national preservation experience, it represents really excellent value and the purchase price supports the trust's programs.

4. The York Pass

York Pass
Courtesy of Visit York
The York Pass is one of the better city passes I've seen because York, England, being a smallish, walled city, is compact enough for visitors to get their money's worth from the pass without too much rushing about. For its size, the Roman-Viking-Medieval city of York has plenty to see, including one of the official Seven Wonders of the UK, York Minster. The pass is available in one, two and three day versions for families large and small.

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