Edinburgh’s Most Amusing Attraction: Camera Obscura

An incredibly fun attraction to visit in Edinburgh is Camera Obscura. This attraction, located next to Edinburgh Castle, features five floors of clever optical illusions from mirror mazes and holograms to hysterical photo opportunities. 

Basically, you are given that rare opportunity to transform into a hyper five-year old for a couple of hours.

We had bucket loads of fun and I have to say that, unexpectedly, this was one of the highlights of the trip. Besides being extremely fascinating, this place is worth a visit for its guaranteed laughs.

My favourite part was the floor where you could take some quirky photographs…

There were some amazing, and quite spooky, holograms…

This is actually Boy George!

Ever wondered what it would be like to have a twin?

Or a conjoined twin?

If you visit Camera Obscura, you will begin from the top floor with a short show.

Inside a mysterious, dark rooftop chamber, people sit round a viewing table where real-time moving images of Edinburgh are projected through a giant periscope.  You can pick people up on your hands and make the traffic climb over paper bridges.

This must be some kind of high-tech, modern technology, right?

Not at all. The panorama is created simply using mirror, lenses and daylight. In fact, this show has been performed here for more than 150 years.

After that you are free to roam as you like. Also on the top floor is an outside area with spectacular views over Edinburgh.

Telescopes and binoculars are on hand to ensure you can see for miles. This is a great opportunity to get some photographs as well.

As you work your way downwards, there are all sorts of illusions in store.

In the magic gallery, you can have fun with bendy mirrors and swap heads with people.

Other spaces include the electricity room, featuring balls and tubes containing electricity charges that react to your touch.

A new addition to Camera Obscura is the swirling vortex tunnel

Have you ever visited Camera Obscura?


  1. February 25, 2012 / 16:26

    My husband would just love this. You are making me want to book a trip to Edinburgh!

  2. February 27, 2012 / 18:39

    I want to go! Looks like so much fun, Edinburgh is moving quickly up my list, I think it’s now hit the top five of places I want to go.
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  3. February 28, 2012 / 09:22

    This looks absolutely brilliant! I’m particularly enticed by your description of the old-fashioned mirror and light illusion. I wonder if it’s a Pepper’s Ghost (which also works by mirrors to create a kind of hologram) or something else entirely, but it sounds fascinating. I will check this out when I’m there, for sure.
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  4. February 28, 2012 / 14:37

    I visited Edinburgh a couple of times during their annual festival which, incidently is amazing. I loved the Camera Obscura, even though my last visit was about 10 years ago, can still remember it vividly!
    Cynthia recently posted..D is for Dagga BoysMy Profile

    • February 28, 2012 / 20:03

      Hi Cynthia, I’d love to visit during the Fringe Festival, have heard this is a great time to go. I’m not surprised you remember Camera Obscura as it’s a very memorable place. It’s just so quirky and fun :-)
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    • February 29, 2012 / 20:48

      Hi Suzy, it’s definitely cheesy photos galore. I was constantly snapping away in amazement at everything!

    • March 3, 2012 / 15:56

      Hi Sabrina, it was extremely fun and the views were an added bonus :-)

    • March 6, 2012 / 20:27

      Hi Audrey, it was a right laugh and there were loads of places to take pics which was great :-)

  5. March 7, 2012 / 10:50

    We have similar places in India but not all in one place. This is so cool. Would love to go there.
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    • March 19, 2012 / 20:46

      I just wanted to say I love your photos, descriptions, the conversation that follows, and that your posting might inspire others to visit our beautiful city AND come and have fun with us at Camera Obscura & World of Illusions. We try to create a place where everyone, whatever age, can make their own fun, and you clearly you have let your innner child out to play. Seeing such great photos is a great reward for encouraging photography here. Thanks so much for visitig and for posting. Warm regards, Andrew Johnson, Director, http://www.camera-obscura.co.uk

      • March 20, 2012 / 21:54

        Hi Andrew, thanks for your comment. This was one of the highlights of my trip and I was happy to write this review to tell people how unmissable it is! Great attraction :-)