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“Brilliant a really excellent attraction”

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
Ranked #11 of 428 things to do in Edinburgh
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Enjoy unique 360 degree panoramic views over Edinburgh from the fascinating Camera Obscura and rooftop terrace. In World of Illusions, experience five floors of interactive hands-on optical illusions, tricks and fun things to do including vortex tunnel, mirror maze and shrinking room. Get involved, play, touch everything. Great fun for all ages and nationalities, whatever the weather. Scotland’s oldest purpose-built attraction, established in 1835. Tickets are valid all day, just get your hand stamped and come and go as you please all day long. If you don't see everything we give you a free pass to come back the next day. Unique money back guarantee if not fully satisfied. Free Wifi. 'Best family attraction in Britain’, The Telegraph. 'Five Stars, outstanding, world class', VisitScotland. Bring your camera - lots of photo opportunities throughout. 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. Latest news: Autowed has arrived - get married, renew vows or become 'best friends forever', with our friendly robotic wedding machine.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed 30 March 2011

Despite having lived for years in Edinburgh this attraction offered a whole new perspective on the city and was both fun an educational all in one. Its proximity to the castle makes it a good one to do at the same time and it offers amazing views from the top of the city. The Camera Obscura tour itself is brilliant as it done properly(having visited one in London this is a far superior experience) and allows you time to appreciate the technology and get an eagles eye view of the city at the same time. The rest of the exhibits are great fun as well and bound to keep you entertained for a while, all very well done as well and add to the whole experience rather than just being an afterthought. I would highly recommend visiting.

Thank thetravellingman73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"mirror maze"
in 594 reviews
"all ages"
in 1,054 reviews
"vortex tunnel"
in 434 reviews
"great fun"
in 897 reviews
"no lift"
in 187 reviews
"five floors"
in 121 reviews
"couple of hours"
in 410 reviews
"kids and adults"
in 144 reviews
"few hours"
in 364 reviews
"interactive exhibits"
in 109 reviews
"a lot of fun"
in 214 reviews
"any age"
in 99 reviews
"whole family"
in 133 reviews
"rainy day"
in 227 reviews
"great attraction"
in 133 reviews
"well worth the money"
in 144 reviews
"edinburgh castle"
in 262 reviews
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9,035 - 9,039 of 10,669 reviews

Reviewed 27 March 2011

Like Many people I would assume, I saw that this attraction was the best attraction for edinburgh on trip advisor and so made the time to go and see what all the fuss was about.

Camera obscura is located right next to Edinburgh castle, on the golden mile. It isnt an obvious looking building and it took a while to notice it as I was expecting a huge building like a museum. 

The staff were so friendly and helpful. I was really impressed as they were full of smiles and jokes and ready to give all the information you needed. It is quite expensive to get in. As for value for money, I am not sure it lives up to the price, as I there didn't seem to be that many exhibits, although the exhibits they do have are extremely interesting and fun. However in saying that, I would recommend the attraction to friends and family regardless of the price as it is some of the most fun we had in edinburgh.

The exhibits themselves are full of weird and wonderful things to mess with your brain and intrigue you. My favourite was the optical illusions and the holograms. With many photo opportunities and activities I would recommend it to anyone especially families and groups of friends. 

The gift shop is something else you should definitely hAve a look at with Many great things to buy. I brought some postcard and book marker holograms which considering I was bracing myself for the end total, wasn't actually that bad price wise. Also, onsidering the amount of repeated crap in the shops around edinburgh, it was great to see some interesting and wacky things to buy rather than tartan this and tartan that.

A fun and enjoyable day out for all...however not a cheap one! X

Thank Claritabelle90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2011

Three of visited here and it was really fun. It is great for children and adults alike. The view of the city was great and the interactive exhibits and the holgrams were good. Compared to the many overpriced places in Edinburgh this offers value for money. Greeted by the very pleasant man on entry ?manager who made us feel very welcome. The maze "thing" at the end was a hoot.

Thank enquiries661
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 March 2011

If it hadn't of been for the hailstones that was pouring down on the day I don't think we'd of ventured inside - for some reason the leaflet for the place didn't really appeal to us but i'm so glad we visited. Me and my partner have never giggled or had so much fun inside a museum and we spent a good two or so hours there being big kids.

The lady we had for the camera obscura guide around Edinburgh was lovely and very knowledgeable and its an excellent way to learn and see Edinburgh another way.

We really enjoyed how hands on the exhibits were regardless of age and how camera friendly the place seemed to be - knowing your allowed to capture the funny moments really was an added plus.

Regardless of the weather it's definitely worth a visit

Thank jray2436
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 21 March 2011

We visited the Obscura late on Saturday 19th March 2011, on a whim after seeing it rated at the number one attraction on here (we quickly deduced this was because you are reminded to visit this site and rate them throughout the entire centre; that's not to say the rating isn't justified necessarily just that they constantly advertise that you rate them here).

As for the actual experience, we thought it was a little expensive on arrival but decided to go in anyway not really knowing what to expect. First up was the Obscura itself which was interesting if a little dark (it was quite cloudy); the guide was interesting enough in his 'tour' but I didn't really feel I got any more out of it than standing atop any other tall building in Edinburgh.

After this we went downstairs through the other three floors, the interactive one was very interesting and not too busy, though I imagine it's horrid if it is busy; though there was an over indulgence in magic eyes pictures and some of the effects simply don't work if you wear glasses.

The other two floors largely contained pictures and holographics, not really what I expected to find as a lot of them I had seen either in shops or online, so nothing really special although the Ammes (?) room was reasonably interesting.

Then lastly onto the vortex (spinning tunnel with a walk way) which I've seen many times before but this one was particularly good, and very disorientating.

Then it was all over, far too short and shunted into the gift shop; we left after a little over an hour, we took our time and saw everything there and left feeling it was little more than average and the price is probably about 20 - 40% higher than it should be.

Thank Enicomb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TonyCameraObscura, Manager at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, responded to this reviewResponded 22 March 2011

Our reason for being is to try to delight our visitors and deliver the best possible experience. So we encourage customer feedback from different sources, including TripAdvisor, as this helps us know if we are achieving this aim. We have been rated number one attraction in Edinburgh on TripAdvisor for most of the last two and a half years. This had to be pointed out to us at first, as we were not aware of it. It is only within the last six months that we have displayed one sign at each exit that asks visitors to give feedback on TripAdvisor, plus a footnote on the admission ticket, I am sorry if you felt this was too much.
I am glad to hear you enjoyed many of the interactive exhibits including the vortex tunnel. We have five magic eye pictures in total – sorry you felt this was too many. We try to exhibit things that work for everyone, but some of the stereoscopic effects don’t work so well for visitors with one eye much stronger than the other. If glasses are worn, everything usually works fine, so I am sorry to hear this was not the case for you. Some effects, like magic eye, take time to work, and it can be very rewarding when the hidden image finally pops out at you (and frustrating if it doesn’t!). Many of our holograms are unique, so it surprised me that you had seen some before. We are constantly on the lookout for new exhibits to intrigue and delight our visitors. Last July we opened two new floors of exhibits as part of a £1.2 million investment and we still have lots of exciting new exhibits in the pipeline – most months we add something new, as many visitors come regularly.
We are sorry you thought the admission charge was too high, and your visit too short. We know from our daily surveys that the average visit lasts one hour and fifty minutes and that the vast majority of visitors feel it is very good value for money. I can see that if you left after little over an hour you might not have felt you got your money’s worth. We accept that we can’t please everyone, so offer a money back guarantee. This is displayed on our leaflets, website and at reception. If you were not aware of this, I apologise and we will see if there is anywhere else we can display it.
To hear you felt ‘shunted’ really disturbed me. The whole ethos of the attraction is for visitors to explore at their own pace and to choose where they want to go. Thus there are two exits, one via the gift shop and one via reception, so that if visitors wish to exit without going through the gift shop they can do so. However, our shop is full of fun and unusual things to play with, so most visitors enjoy it, whether or not they wish to buy anything.
Thanks for taking the time to give us your feedback.

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