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
4.5scorecard
  • 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

See all Hotels in Edinburgh »

More Best Things To Do in Edinburgh

Arthur's Seat1 of 9
Calton Hill2 of 9
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Arthur's Seat

Arthur's Seat, located in the verdant Holyrood Park, affords one of the best views of the city. Standing 800 feet above sea level, Arthur's Seat is the highest point in the park, providing panoramic views of the sea and nearby sites, including attractions like Edinburgh Castle and the Scott Monument. If you're wondering how Arthur's Seat got its name, chances are you may never get a clear answer. Legend has it that it was the site for Camelot while others claim William Maitland, a Scottish politician, believed the name was derived from Ard-na-Said, a Gallic phrase meaning "height of narrows." The attraction was also a former volcano. Trails are accessible off of Queen's Drive near Holyroodhouse Palace, which is located at the base of Arthur's Seat. 

Some recent travelers mention the hike was a bit more strenuous than they thought it would be. Visitors not prone to regular walking might find it difficult. Keep in mind that the journey to Arthur's Seat is all uphill, so make sure to wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes and bring water. Once you reach the top, many travelers say you'll find the 360-degree views worth any sweat you might've worked up. Arthur's Seat is free to access.

Read more
Loop Images/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Edinburgh »

Explore More of Edinburgh

When purchasing from our site, we may earn commissions. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

30 Amazing Caribbean Islands to Visit

It's time to plan your next tropical getaway.

Holly JohnsonAugust 8, 2019

The Best Travel Rewards Programs for 2019-20

See which airline and hotel loyalty programs come out on top.

Erin ShieldsAugust 6, 2019

20 Surprising Ways to Earn Loyalty Program Points or Miles

Branch out beyond hotel stays and flights to maximize your earnings.

Christine SmithAugust 6, 2019

The 12 Best Cancun Tours

These excursions will show you what lies beyond the city's bright beaches.

Lyn MettlerJuly 26, 2019

Traveling With Toddlers: 16 Tips to Make Your Vacation Go Smoothly

These expert travel hacks guarantee a happy trip for the whole family.

Kyle McCarthyJuly 25, 2019

The 11 Best New Orleans Ghost Tours

Hear chilling tales of the city's paranormal activity on one of these guided tours.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJuly 25, 2019

The 10 Best Seattle Boat Tours

Take in the Emerald City's top sights from the water.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJuly 24, 2019

The 6 Best Maui Helicopter Tours

Combine sightseeing with a breathtaking adventure on one of these flights.

Gwen PratesiJuly 23, 2019

The 7 Best San Francisco Boat Tours

Take in the city's major sights by water with one of these excursions.

Holly JohnsonJuly 22, 2019

How to Pack a Suitcase: 16 Tips and Expert Tricks for Perfectly Packed Luggage

Take the stress out of vacation prep with these handy recommendations.

Lyn MettlerJuly 22, 2019