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“Weird and Wonderful” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2 ND, Scotland
44-131-226-3709
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Ranked #10 of 156 Attractions in Edinburgh
Type: Historic Sites, Science Museums, Specialty Museums, Landmarks/ Points of Interest, Lookouts, Cultural
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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 older children, Activities for young children
Andover
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Weird and Wonderful”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2013

My family visited on 24.10.13. My two kids are 12 and 19 but both really enjoyed the attraction as there were lots of hands on activities to suit all ages. Even my husband enjoyed it despite being dragged there against his will. We were there for almost 3 hours. We particularly enjoyed the "vortex". It made me feel queasy but I enjoyed watching other people stagger through. We also liked the booth where you could alter your appearance in different ways, including seeing what you would look like as a monkey - much hilarity amongst family members here! It was a clear day when we visited and we got a fabulous view of Edinburgh from the outside viewing area on the top floor. I enjoyed the Camera show but despite it being a sunny afternoon, it seemed a bit dark. This was possibly due to the fact it was 4.00 pm on an October day and the sun was already getting low. I would recommend going on a clear, bright day and a good few hours before sunset. The guy operating the camera interacted well with the visitors. He knew his way around Edinburgh and also added a good dose of humour to the event.

We went during the school holidays but it wasn't too busy so we could access everything easily. However, the stairs and corridors are quite narrow so it could be a bit hectic on very busy days. It is not suitable for people in wheelchairs or parents with very young children in prams as there is no lift and there are several flights of stairs to negotiate.

To sum up, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit and would definitely recommend Camera Obscura and World of Illusions as a fun way of spending a few hours with the family.

Visited October 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tony M, Manager at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, responded to this review, November 25, 2013
Hello there!
I am glad you and your family enjoyed your visit and would recommend others to come and see our exhibits. It is true that our building consists of quite a lot of stairs and we recommend people to leave their buggies downstairs. However, we do offer baby carriers for visitors with babies and we also assist visitors that have difficulties walking.
Regarding the Camera Obscura; the reason that the image might appear a bit darker than the view outside is that in order for the focus to be very precise and the depth of field to be very large, a very small aperture is necessary. A bigger aperture would let more light in, making the image brighter, but this would mean that it would not be as sharply focussed as it is now. However, even when the Camera Obscura picture is a bit darker it still fascinates the majority of visitors and now that we are approaching winter we do get quite a few clear and sunny days during which the picture is rather spectacular. So it might be worth coming back to see the picture earlier on in the day.
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Reeth, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“The place to bring out the inner child”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2013

Amazing and unique visitor attraction. Superb vantage point and an unusual way to view the fantastic city and surrounding area. Allow at least a couple of hours as there is lots to see and do. Different exhibitions over five floors make this a place for kids from five years old to a hundred.

Visited October 2013
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Tony M, Manager at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, responded to this review, November 25, 2013
Thank you for your nice feedback! We hope to see you again soon, maybe on your 99th birthday!
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Torquay, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Traditional Camera Obscura... and more!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2013

I had seen filmed camera obscura before but this was the first time I had seen one for real. Very impressive, even on a dull day.
It was the 3 or 4 floors below that were informative and fun for the children that were visiting as well as fascinating for adults.
The ticket allows you to have a pass out so that you can break your visit for lunch of coffee etc nearby before returning to complete the experience. This is a worthwhile element, as I certainly found that with all of the optical effects my eyes started to get very tired!

Visited October 2013
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Tony M, Manager at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, responded to this review, November 25, 2013
Hi there! I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed seeing our Camera Obscura and found it as impressive as we do. We are also glad to hear that you enjoyed taking advantage of our All-Day Ticket. If you are interested in seeing other camera obscuras, the apparently biggest one in the world is in Aberystwyth and there is one in Bristol as well, not too far from Torquay. Hope to see you again soon!
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Camera Obscura”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2013

All the levels were fun and my family enjoyed them all - then came the Camera Obscura part which as it is close to Halloween was meant to be spooky. The guide did state that we were the first to see the show. We all found it an anti climax to the rest of the experience. I am sure with more practice 2014 will be better.

Visited October 2013
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Tony M, Manager at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, responded to this review, November 21, 2013
Hello, thank you for taking the time out to let us know about your visit. It is wonderful that you enjoyed our four levels of exhibitions. As our Camera Obscura works on natural daylight the Camera Obscura shows finish early in winter. We wanted to add extra value for those customers who arrived when it was too late to see an actual presentation in the Camera Obscura and decided to offer a Haunted History show as a small extra. This show was also accompanied by a re-admission ticket or an exhibitions only ticket which comes at a 10% discount. As you have pointed out it is the first year of us attempting to use the Camera Obscura for something different than its intended use. Like anything, we have learned from these shows and now have an idea of how to better improve for 2014. If you have any suggestions on how to better improve our shows to make them truly spooky for 2014 please feel free to contact me on tony@camera-obscura.co.uk. Thanks again, your feedback is vital to us improving the experience we offer our customers.
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Gloucester, England
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Excellent fun”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2013

This last minute trip whilst it was raining was great fun and I am so glad we went in. We were there for about 2 hours and had fun all the way around. Lots to do for adults as well.

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Tony M, Manager at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, responded to this review, November 25, 2013
Hi there! I’m glad that you enjoyed your visit. The rain often works against us with the image in the Camera Obscura, but it would appear that it has worked in our favour this time. It’s fantastic to hear you spent as long as you did with us. As longer visits were becoming a regular occurrence we decided to make the ticket valid all day so that people can leave for a break and come back at their own leisure.
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