Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
4.5
Science MuseumsObservation Decks & Towers
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Monday
9:30 AM - 7:30 PM
Tuesday
9:30 AM - 7:30 PM
Wednesday
9:30 AM - 7:30 PM
Thursday
9:30 AM - 7:30 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
About
Winner of VisitScotland's Best Visitor Attraction Experience 2022/23! We are Scotland’s oldest purpose-built attraction, established in 1835. Interact with over 100 illusions and get a breath of fresh air on our magnificent Rooftop Terrace, which offers the most spectacular 360 degree views of Edinburgh. At Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, experience five floors of interactive hands-on optical illusions, tricks and fun things to do including our head-spinning Vortex Tunnel, bewildering Mirror Maze and mind-blowing Shrinking Room. Not to mention our 170 year old Camera Obscura! Get involved, play, touch, listen, and see. Great fun for all ages and nationalities, whatever the weather. 'Best family attraction in Britain’, The Telegraph. 'Five Stars, outstanding, world class', VisitScotland. Free Wi-Fi. Allow about 2 hours. Please note the attraction is located in a listed 17th Century building over 5 floors without a lift. Open every day, open late on holidays.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Old Town
Few Edinburghers live in the Old Town, but its labyrinth of dank alleys and steep streets suggests this was not always the case. Today, it’s mostly visitors, tartan-flavoured souvenir shops, and pipers that you’ll find on its cobbled streets. This is the place to get a feel for Auld Reekie (Old Smelly), as the town was once nicknamed, and stroll the Royal Mile, the thoroughfare that links the castle with the royal palace – two of Edinburgh’s great set-piece attractions. But there’s lots more exploring to do here down dozens of little alleys, or wynds, while at night the city’s busiest clubs erupt along the Cowgate which is closed to traffic for this purpose.
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See what travellers are saying
  • ScubamommaDevon
    Barnstaple, United Kingdom737 contributions
    Too many allowed in at once.
    We visited this afternoon. All the staff we encountered were lovely. We seemed to enter along with a couple of large groups and this made it hard to try the attractions as we were constantly waiting. Views from the top were lovely. Would we visit again?……personally I don’t think it’s worth the entrance fee when it is so busy. Maybe on a quieter day.
    Hello, and thank you for your high recommendation. It's great to hear you enjoyed the panoramic views from our rooftop terrace, we hope you took lots of photographs. We agree, our team are lovely, we'll be sure to let them know your kind words. We can get busy during school holidays, but with over 100 exhibits over 5 floors to enjoy, we feel we have something to entertain everyone. Thank you for visiting and we hope you'll visit us again in the future.
    Written 2 January 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited January 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 1 January 2023
  • cadley13
    30 contributions
    Good for the kids, very interactive
    Camera Obscura was a nice place to look around and had some good displays. The show was good although if its not a bright day you do struggle to see anything ... no ones fault, it's mother nature. Lots to do and very interactive. The kids will love it
    Hello and thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We're so pleased you had a fun visit and found there was lots of interactive exhibits for you and your family to enjoy! Our 170 year-old Camera Obscura does rely on daylight so we've developed a projector show for when the Scottish weather isn't cooperating, we hope you were able to see this instead. Thanks for visiting, we hope to welcome you back again soon.
    Written 13 January 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited October 2022
    Travelled with family
    Written 12 January 2023
  • Nancy N
    14 contributions
    Great for youngsters
    My granddaughters (6) enjoyed everything especially the mirror maze, fart chairs, photo booth and well, everything really. It was mid-week in January so not too busy, which made the whole experience much more enjoyable. It was a sunny day so the camera obscura showed up well. However, I think it is extremely expensive if you have more than one child.
    Hi Nancy, and thank you for rating us so highly. We're delighted to hear your granddaughters enjoyed all our exhibits, there is lots of fun to be had! We hope you also enjoyed discovering our 5 floors and over 100 interactive exhibits, including the 170-year-old Camera Obscura. Thank you for visiting and we hope you'll visit us again in the future.
    Written 5 February 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited January 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 3 February 2023
  • GlasgowHappyHolidays
    Larbert, United Kingdom273 contributions
    A very cool experience
    We had wanted to visit here for a long and had been previously put off by covid restrictions and the entry price. Well our day didn't disappoint and we past a fun filled 3 hours exploring the various interactive activities. Perfect for a wet day and for a nice day as we enjoyed watching everyone in the street. A must when in Edinburgh
    Hello and thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We're so pleased you had a cool experience at Camera Obscura! It's great to hear that you spent 3 hours exploring all 5 floors of fun, and that you enjoyed our wacky interactive exhibits. We hope you visit again soon.
    Written 13 February 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited February 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 13 February 2023
  • ALISTAIR B
    Derby, United Kingdom2 contributions
    Expensive but glad we did it.
    Certainly not cheap, actually expensive for a family of four compared with other Edinburgh attractions, but we are still glad we did it. Take your time through the attraction to take everything in. We got some great photographs and the whole family really enjoyed it.
    Hi Alistair, thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We're so pleased you spent time exploring all 5 floors of interactive exhibits we have to offer and felt it was worth it! We love your photo in our head-spinning Vortex Tunnel, thank you for sharing it.
    Written 21 February 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited February 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 20 February 2023
  • Ciara S
    14 contributions
    Fun experience, but quite expensive
    Great location with amazing views of Edinburgh from the rooftop! The place was quite busy when we were there, everyone seemed to be having fun ! This is a bit on the pricier side, it may be difficult for one to justify the cost, however it was an enjoyable experience and we left with some funny illusion photos!
    Hi Ciara, thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We're so pleased you had a fun experience and enjoyed our stunning rooftop views! With 5 floors of interactive exhibits we feel we're good value and in keeping with our location here in the heart of Edinburgh but we're grateful for your feedback. We're glad you got some fun photos, and hope you visit again soon!
    Written 21 February 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited February 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 21 February 2023
  • Holl 💋
    Stafford, United Kingdom43 contributions
    Hidden Gem! But avoid when schools are off.
    We visited this hidden gem after seeing a leaflet for it at the dungeons. Although it was a bit on the expensive side, we had a good day. There was so much fun crammed into what seemed like a small building. My only grumble would be to allow less people in per time slot, as we did feel that the exhibits were overrun by kids (and some bad behaved ones!). I understand that we did visit during half term, however, on such weeks I feel that there should be more of a limit. We found ourselves waiting for some of the exhibits for a very long time and then had children jumping on when it was our turn. This can’t really be helped by staff but it was annoying. There was plenty of interaction throughout the building which was awesome, and at the top there was the most beautiful view of Edinburgh. It would be good to have a map up there of the city so that you know what you’re seeing (maybe there was and I was un-observant!). We will definitely visit again next time we are in the area.
    Hello and thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We're so pleased you had a fun visit to Camera Obscura and enjoyed our stunning rooftop views! We do currently operate with reduced capacity, staggered entry times and a one-way system to prevent our exhibit spaces getting crowded but we are fully booked during school holidays and do welcome a lot of families. We're grateful for your patience during your visit and will pass on your feedback (and your suggestion for our rooftop!) Thanks again, we hope to welcome you back for another visit in the future.
    Written 27 February 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited February 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 24 February 2023
  • Ells
    Spalding, United Kingdom34 contributions
    A bit of fun, even for big kids!
    Great experience, even better if you have children! Wasn’t sure of the actual history of the museum but the talk at the end of the trip was really good! Lots of activities and mind-bending sections. The mirror maze and vortex tunnel are excellent. Staff are so friendly and welcoming, definitely worth a trip!
    Hello Ellen and thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We're so pleased you had a great experience and felt it was fun for all ages! Our Mirror Maze and Vortex Tunnel exhibits are a highlight for lots of our visitors so it's great to hear you loved them too. Thanks for sharing your photos, we will pass your compliments on to our brilliant staff and hope to welcome you back again soon.
    Written 27 February 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited February 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 26 February 2023
  • Gemma J
    8 contributions
    A different experience!
    Thoroughly enjoyed a visit here it was a complete change to the type of place I would normally visit. The views from the rooftop were spectacular. The only thing stopping me rate this as a 5 was that when certain areas are busy it’s hard to fully enjoy them.
    Hi Gemma, thanks for taking the time to leave a review. We're so pleased you thoroughly enjoyed your visit to Camera Obscura and felt it was unique! Our rooftop views are a highlight for lots of our visitors so we're happy to hear you loved them too. We do welcome lots of families at the weekend so some areas get busy but we operate with limited capacity, staggered entry times and a one-way system to avoid crowds. We thank you for your patience and we hope you visit again soon!
    Written 6 March 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 5 March 2023
  • Gaz
    Penicuik, United Kingdom1 contribution
    Not worth the money
    I went with my kids at a supposed to be quiet time later at night .and I thought there would have been a bit more . There was people taking 5-10 mins on certain things just to take lots of pictures and had to pass half of the things because of it . The only good part was the vortex at the end . Apart from that it wasn’t worth the money of 2 adults and 2 kids. Wouldn’t go back
    Hi Gaz, thank you for sharing your visit experience with us. We're pleased to hear you enjoyed the Vortex Tunnel, it is a mind-bending exhibit! We generally are quieter in the evenings and are open late to allow more opportunities to visit. We would like to reassure you that we limit our entrance capacity and visitors are allowed to spend as much time as they need at the attraction to fully enjoy all of the 100 interactive exhibits available. With 5 floors, a demonstration of the Camera Obscura and panoramic rooftop views of Edinburgh, there is something for all ages to enjoy. We'd love to hear more about what you would like to have seen at the attraction and encourage you to contact us directly. Thank you for visiting.
    Written 13 March 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 12 March 2023
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4.5
16,102 reviews
Excellent
10,788
Very good
3,934
Average
986
Poor
271
Terrible
125

Aimee R
14 contributions
Nov 2023 • Family
Went with my mum for her birthday and had an absolute ball. It was well organised and thought out. The exhibits were interesting and lots of fun. I found myself having to awkwardly go around the rooms a couple times to try and see them all but I think that's a testament to its popularity. Once you get to the top there is a show with the camera obscura that was genuinely interesting and entertaining. Thank you Morag on that one. The views from the top are simply exquisite I never realised how close to the Castle it is. Highly recommend. Mum and I are both adults so if it was fun for us kids would certainly love it too!
Written 9 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chris W
1 contribution
Dec 2023 • Family
With a family of different ages this was good fun for an hour to escape the cold weather. Fun experience with great views of the city at the top.
Written 7 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Chris, thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We're so pleased you had a fun visit with your family and felt there was lots to keep all ages entertained! Our spectacular rooftop views of Edinburgh are a highlight for lots of our visitors so it's great to hear you loved them too. We hope you all come back for another visit soon.
Written 8 December 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Alejandra V
1 contribution
Dec 2023 • Solo
Overall, my time at Camera Obscura was a perfect fusion of pure enjoyment, fun, and a fantastic learning experience. It's a place where technology meets art in the most spectacular manner, offering a vibrant canvas for exploration and discovery. I left feeling inspired, enriched, and with a newfound appreciation for the beauty of colors, technology, and light in all their diverse forms.
Written 6 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Alejandra, thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We're delighted you had a fun and fantastic learning experience here at Camera Obscura! Our 5 floors of mind-boggling illusions are certainly vibrant and diverse, we're so pleased you enjoyed exploring them all. We would love to welcome you back again soon.
Written 8 December 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Hollie
Scotland, UK10 contributions
Dec 2023 • Couples
It’s such a cool experience to do and it can be for any age groups!! The staff members are SO kind, funny and knowledgeable which definitely made our experience more memorable! Definitely will be coming back that’s for sure!
Written 6 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Hollie, thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We're thrilled you had such a cool experience and felt there was lots to entertain all ages! Our staff work hard to make everyone feel welcome so it's great to hear your feedback, we will pass it on to our friendly team. We would love to welcome you back for another visit soon.
Written 8 December 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

john h
United Kingdom167 contributions
Nov 2023 • Couples
Excellent few hours spent here, would highly recommend you vsit, no matter what age.
We booked online and turned up on the afternoon at 14.30 and made our own way around all the exhibits, which blew our minds, they really were well put together and questioned what tou can believe is true, or not true.
The highlight was the views accross Edinburgh from the roof, absolutely stunning.
The staff were great and knew a fair few things about the history and illusions.
Great visit, put it on your list of things to do in Edinburgh.
Written 5 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi John, thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We're thrilled you enjoyed your visit to Camera Obscura and had your minds blown by our unique exhibits! Our stunning rooftop views are a highlight for lots of our visitors so it's great to hear you loved them too. We will pass on your compliments to our staff, and hope you visit us again soon.
Written 5 December 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Aurore B
9 contributions
Nov 2023 • Solo
This was on my top five list of things i really wanted to do no matter what on my visit to Edinburgh . There is so much to see and do in Edinburgh i would recommend you make that to do list and i would recommend this is on the list . So much fun and so interactive once inside its a treat to the senses and fascinating to see i could have spent all day here there is so much to see and do . I would maybe suggest in the summer months going early as i would imagine it gets busy however on my visit i had no issues and found it great value for money .
Written 5 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Aurore, thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We're so pleased you had a fun visit to Camera Obscura and enjoyed our many interactive exhibits! It's great to hear that you felt your visit was good value for money. We do get busier in the summer months but have extended opening times to manage demand. We would love to welcome you back for another visit soon.
Written 6 December 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Melanie H
3 contributions
Dec 2023 • Couples
A great place for adults and children. Lots of interactive exhibits as well as art work that keeps your brain busy.
Highly recommended if you have a spare couple of hours whilst visiting Edinburgh with a good gift shop at the end.
Make sure you book your tickets in advance to save disappointment 🙂
Written 4 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Melanie, we're so pleased you enjoyed your visit and felt there was lots to entertain all ages, our optical illusions and bewildering exhibits certainly keep your brain busy! Thank you for your feedback about our gift shop, we will pass this on to our retail team. We hope you visit us again soon.
Written 5 December 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jenia M
1 contribution
Dec 2023 • Family
It was really nice experience for kids. This is not the place for fun for kids and you adults can discover the whole of Edinburgh. Wonderful view! Definitely worth the money.
Written 4 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hello Jenia, thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We're so pleased you enjoyed your visit to Camera Obscura and felt that there was lots to enjoy for all ages! Our rooftop views of Edinburgh are certainly breathtaking, we're glad you loved them and felt your visit was worth the money. We hope you visit again soon.
Written 4 December 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sam K
1 contribution
Nov 2023 • Family
Brilliant and great fun! Lots of things to look at and interact with! The views from top floor were stunning, a brilliant view of all angles of the city. Jamie gave us a brilliant demonstration of the camera, very knowledgable, entertaining and answered all our questions. Definitely worth a visit!
Written 2 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Sam, thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We're thrilled you had such a brilliant visit and found lots of fun things to interact with in our historic building! Our stunning rooftop views of Edinburgh are a highlight for lots of our visitors so it's great to hear you loved them too. We will pass on your compliments to our guide Jamie, and hope you visit again soon.
Written 4 December 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

family25traveller
Forres, UK141 contributions
Nov 2023 • Family
My kid wanted to take me here, as it was my birthday, we had a great time, had lots of fun and laughs, took some photos too, thoroughly wonderful, there was a few steps, which I struggled with, but doable.
However the day was tainted by the discount of 20 % that we tried to use at Byron burger on the royal mile, they had a hidden surcharge, so basically the lovely wee discount on our bill was pretty pointless, as they took it without my knowledge, I just want to make others using the wee helpful discount aware, avoid Byron burger, on royal mile, NOT FAIR!!!
Written 1 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hello and thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We're so pleased you had a fun visit to Camera Obscura on your birthday with your family! Due to being a listed historic building we are unable to add a lift but do provide free walking stick seats for our visitors to borrow. If this would help you during your next visit, please ask our friendly team when you arrive. We do partner with our neighbours here on the Royal Mile to offer our visitors discounts, however we have no say in their service costs, so please contact Byron directly if you wish to complain.
Written 4 December 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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CAMERA OBSCURA AND WORLD OF ILLUSIONS: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Camera Obscura and World of Illusions