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Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, Edinburgh

4.5
#1 of 70 in Childrens Museums in United Kingdom
Observation Deck Science Museum
For a weirdly wonderful and unique view of Edinburgh, head to Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. The camera obscura itself sits in the roof and features a set of mirrors and lenses that project moving images of the city onto a screen. You'll be able to pick up projected pedestrians in your hands and redirect traffic over paper bridges. The guide narrates an entertaining history of Edinburgh while you experiment. Throughout the rest of the building, you can observe and play with all sorts of other optical tricks. Your entrance fee enables you to come and go as you want throughout the day, and you can return the next day for free if there more exhibits you want to see. Use our Edinburgh itinerary builder to arrange your visit to Camera Obscura and World of Illusions and other attractions in Edinburgh.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
9,505 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • It is easy to spend a few hours here. From the ground floor to the rooftop there are many attractions to keep everyone engaged. There are great views of the city from the rooftop.  more »
  • This is a good place for kids but not adults. It is really hammy/tourist trap. It cost around $20usd and feels like you entered a bad carnival (complete with a germ habitat). I went to see what the vi...  more »
  • Several floors of illusions and different takes on lighting. There's a short mirror maze that you can walk through, try not to bump your head. There is a spinning tunnel of lights that tests the balan...  more »
Google
  • My 10yr old said it turned her mind 😊 fantastic family day out and superb value for money. Absolutely loved the vortex tunnel. Staff very friendly. Can't wait to go back again 😊😊
  • This little pearl in the centre of Edinburgh is one of the best attractions around. They have tons of really elaborate illusions. Do not be mistaken, it is not just a bunch of pictures, they have some rather elaborate optical illusions that I will assure you will really surprise you. On top of that, they also have an actually camera obscura, a "camera" without film. There is a room at the top of the building where you can see the city in great detail, projected into a canvas in the middle of the room. It is truly remarkable.
  • Great science / museum and live session viewing Edinburgh through camera obscura. Wide range of interactive activities & viewable artefacts /science exhibits. Teens absolutely loved it, especially vortex tunnel and mirrored labyrinth. Staff friendly & very helpful. Lots of steps but equally, lots of seating/ rest stops available. Would recommend visiting in earlier part of day as can have long waiting times later. Plus, on way in you receive an all day hand stamp which allows you to exit/return as necessary.
  • + If you are landing in Edinburgh this is the best attraction. All ages can enjoy but mostly for children age 8 + Five floors of illusions, so be prepared to claim around 90 + steps (no lift, only stairs) - It's shame that this attraction doesn't have online booking facility. We stood in the queue at street during rain. - Rooftop presentation was utter waste of time.
  • Although it looks mainly for children, it's fun for adults too. The Camera Obscura is a brief but interesting tour of Edinburgh and it was the first commercial attraction in the city. Recommended to go in the morning and on a sunny day if possible. There are 5 interactive floors with different illusions and the stuff is very helpful and friendly. These are best to be explored at night when the museum is emptier. One option is to see the museum at night and come back the next morning for the Camera Obscura show with the same ticket. Recommended to spend a nice time with your friends and family. Some activities require a second person.

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Where to stay in Edinburgh

Edinburgh hides a maze of cobbled streets dotted with boutique hotels offering inexpensive rooms and outstanding restaurants. Many of the city's Gothic buildings house chic hotels with easy access to most of the city’s main tourist sites. For a uniquely Scottish experience, consider staying in the famous old town. Despite being in this historical district, many hotels here feature contemporary decor with lots of glass walls and muted color schemes. They’re also known for offering spacious rooms, comfortable beds, and restaurants serving classic European cuisine, with a modern Scottish twist.
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