Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

#5 in Best Things To Do in Edinburgh
Camera Obscura and World of Illusions picture
Karoly Lorentey/Flickr

Key Info

549 Castlehill

Details

Museums, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.5

scorecard

  • 4.5Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

If you're traveling with kids, there is no better place in Edinburgh to bring them than Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. Located at the top of the heavily (tourist) trafficked Royal Mile, Camera Obscura is filled with enough colorful puzzles, games and optical illusions to keep the kids entertained for days. It's also the city's oldest attraction, having opened in 1835. 

Inside this Victorian tower of a building, visitors will find the 175-year-old Camera Obscura show, which is led by a (usually funny) tour guide. There's also a mirror maze and photogenic vortex tunnel in Bewilderworld, Light Fantastic, the U.K.'s only permanent gallery on the science and art of holography and the hands-on Magic Gallery, where visitors can catch their shadows, shake hands with their ghost and even walk on water. There's also something for the history buffs; the 3-D Edinburgh Vision exhibit takes you through the city from the 1850s to present day. 

Although travelers attested to the attraction's appeal to children, many visitors of all ages admitted to having loads of fun at Camera Obscura. Some offered a word of caution: If you're prone to motion sickness, stay away from the vortex tunnel. Others said if you're especially keen on experiencing the Camera Obscura show, come when the weather's right. Some travelers said it was difficult to see the surrounding city through the camera  if they could see anything at all.  

Entry to Camera Obscura and World of Illusions costs 14.50 pounds for adults (about $21.13) and 10.50 pounds (about $15.30) for children between the ages of 5 and 15. Hours vary by season. For more information, visit Camera Obscura and World of Illusion's website

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Type
Time to Spend
#1 Calton Hill

If you're like the writer Robert Louis Stevenson, you might enjoy the view from Calton Hill; this spot was a favorite of his. One of the most popular vantage points for photo ops (and included in the city's UNESCO World Heritage site distinction), Calton Hill affords a majestic panorama of the city below – so don't forget to bring your camera, or make sure your phone is charged. Located east of New Town, Calton Hill is one of the country's first public parks, founded in 1724. Today, the hill supports several iconic buildings and monuments, so much so that it has been nicknamed the Athens of the North. Some of these structures include the Burns Monument, erected in honor of Scottish writer Robert Burns, the Nelson Monument, designed by Robert Burns, and the National Monument, modeled after the Parthenon but given the name "Edinburgh's Disgrace" for never having been completed. 

Recent travelers loved Calton Hill for its beautiful views, peaceful surroundings and relatively easy hike to the top. With Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh Castle and the sea in sight, some visitors say the best time to go is during sunset or sunrise. Calton Hill is less than a mile from the Royal Mile and less than a half-mile from Edinburgh Waverly train station.

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