Take The Kids To Camera Obscura, Edinburgh

4 November 2015

Like a hi-tech hall of mirrors combined with a science museum, the six-storey Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is a celebration of visual trickery, packed with optical illusions, holograms and interactive exhibits that are – for all their educational value – simply funny.

Lose yourself in the mirror maze; get shrunk by giant children in the big-small room; and stagger through the vortex tunnel (but take seriously the motion-sickness warning).

 Inside the Magic Gallery at Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura. Photograph: Alamy

Fun Fact

The Camera Obscura itself is like a 19th-century webcam, projecting live images of Edinburgh through a pinhole camera in the roof on to a viewing table (or your hands).

Best Things About It

Your phone will be full of wacky photos – although the exhibit offering your child’s severed head on a salad plate may upset the grandparents.

This may be an ideal rainy-day attraction, but it’s also great in fine weather: the 360-degree views from the roof terrace (telescopes included) should be seen in all their glory.

What About Lunch?

There’s no on-site cafe, but a hand stamp lets you come and go all day. Camera Obscura visitors get discounts at certain cafes on the Royal Mile.

Failing those, Hula, a few minutes away on Grassmarket is a wholesome and child-friendly lunch spot, serving bagels, wraps and soups all day.

 Honey, I shrank...

Exit Through The Gift Shop?

Yes (via musical steps), but you wouldn’t want to miss it. Sneak in without the kids to get a head start on Christmas shopping, from joke-store stocking fillers to hi-tech science toys.

Getting There

It’s a 15-20 minute uphill walk from Waverley station. Keep your off-peak train ticket to get one child in for free under Scotrail’s Kids Go Free scheme.


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 Tunnel vision...

Value For Money?

Yes - by Edinburgh standards. There’s enough here to keep you giggling for three to four hours. Adult A$30, child A$20.

Opening Times

Open every day except 25 December. 9am-9pm July-August; 9.30am-7pm September-October; 10am-6pm November-March; 9.30-7pm April-June; extended opening hours during school holidays – 9am-8pm.


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This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk

This article was written by Rachael Oakden from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.