Isles of Scilly Camera Obscura and Cabinet of Curiosities

Isles of Scilly Camera Obscura and Cabinet of Curiosities

Isles of Scilly Camera Obscura and Cabinet of Curiosities
4.5
Speciality & Gift Shops
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.5
63 reviews
Excellent
49
Very good
9
Average
3
Poor
1
Terrible
1

Alison K
Bedfordshire, UK61 contributions
Jul 2015 • Family
Before my sixth visit to the Isles of Scilly, I went on Tripadvisor to see if there was anything new to do on the islands. This is when I came across this hidden gem. The Camera Obscura is housed in Buzza Tower above Porthcressa Beach, St Mary's. It's open on clear days only to make the most of the stunning views (if the bunting's up then it's open) and is run by Mr and Mrs Obscura, Andrew and Be, who have endless enthusiasm for their project and countless tales to tell. We visited on a crystal clear day and were treated to beautiful 360 degree views of St Mary's. Such is their enthusiasm that, even a year into this quirky attraction being open, Andrew and Be get genuinely excited when there is movement (a cyclist or bird flying by) on the live image being projected. To reach the camera, there are two steep ladders to negotiate but these did not present a problem for our party (which included pensioners, young children and those afraid of heights) as the ladders and handrails provided are very sturdy. Once at the top of the tower, Andrew or Be (they take it in turns) take you on a panoramic tour of St Mary's and across to the off islands beyond, offering plenty of information and fascinating stories about island life. They even threw in a couple of additional anecdotes for the children in our group. The images from this rooftop lens are amazing and we were lucky enough to see the sun glistening on the sea on this blue day. It took just under an hour to view the complete rotation, which was the perfect length - whilst it's lovely to see these views, it's also wonderful to be outside enjoying them! We'd highly recommend a visit to this innovative tourist attraction.
Written January 10, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rosie M
24 contributions
Jun 2018 • Couples
To be honest, I wasn't as set on going here as my husband was, but it was open - and so we went.
I'm glad we did.
Andrew's achievement is remarkable, and his conversation is a one-off. Think Stephen Fry crossed with Douglas Adams and Bill Bryson. Other folk have mentioned the quirky nature of the tower - but you learn a lot as well.
Andrew embodies the best of determined eccentricity (repurposing the tower required vision and hard work), and his dry humour kept us amused from beginning to end.
So, if you're up for climbing a couple of ladders to the viewing platform, go. . . and be prepared to be entertained.
Written July 3, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

T Y
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK43 contributions
May 2015 • Friends
Opens at 1pm. Look for the bunting round the top which will signify it's open! very informative and lots of curios. Indeed a labour of love to save this tower. Visit at the beginning of your stay to orientate yourself around the island. Fascinating images and details. Great for all ages. Be aware you need to climb very steep stair ladders to access roof space.
Written May 15, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Suejackson1
89 contributions
Aug 2018 • Couples
While staying on holiday on St Mary's we visited the camera obscura, it was £5 to go in. But especially if he is not busy you get a great talk, we had been there a week and knew our way round a bit, so could see where things were, the gentle man operating the camera was very interesting and knowledgeable. He had a lot of background information to and colour and interest to the visit and our understanding of the island.
Written September 12, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stuffinpuffling
Tonbridge, UK15 contributions
Jul 2016 • Family
Short walk up from Hugh town, it was only found through Pokemon go! Open when the bunting is up from 9:30am to 1pm. What we found were friendly, knowledgeable owners who were very passionate about their subject and the Isles of Scilly. Although the cabinet of curiosities was slightly disturbing, the camera obscura is amazing and is a lovely way to find out more about the island! Would definitely recommend it.
Written July 22, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TA-AndrewS
Norfolk, UK32 contributions
Jun 2016 • Couples
Saw the tower was open and stood outside debating whether to go in or not. The owner came out, described a little about what a 'Camera Obscura' is and persuaded us to go inside.

So glad we did. We were treated to a full tour of the formerly derelict tower with the 'prize' being the amazing and detailed live views from the camera on the second floor.

Both the owners are absolutely passionate about their venture and have quite obviously put in a lot of time, effort and money to get it going. They are also hugely knowledgeable about the Scillies in general and both are very entertaining people.

We enjoyed out visit immensely and were surprised that we spent over an hour and a half in such a tiny venue.

I hope their venture continues - go and visit and support their efforts. You won't be disappointed.
Written July 2, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

gladlass
exeter6 contributions
Sep 2015 • Friends
If you are holidaying in the Scillies the camera obscura is a great way to learn about the Island, its history and the current goings on there. The owners have restored the tower and built the camera obsura, they are passionate about it, highly informative and very friendly. To get a view of the island in this way, watching people stroll about, see the beautiful landscape and listen to so many intersting facts was really novel and good fun. Allow a good hour for your visit.
Written October 7, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sue M
Chippenham, UK53 contributions
Sep 2014 • Couples
We loved this little place! We had walked past it all week wondering what was inside as it only opens 2-5 weekdays, then we went past, the sun was out and so was the bunting indicating the tower was open. In we went and upstairs to the viewing chamber. The picture the obscura gives is large and excellent, and the enthusiastic and amusing owners guide you around the island by turning the lens through 360 degrees. We went on our penultimate day of our holiday but I think it would be great at the beginning to get a good overview of the island and also pick up lots of interesting, irrelevant and amusing facts. The cabinet of curiosities could do with a few more items, so if you have something interesting that will fit in a jam jar then take it along!
Written September 15, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

James F
West Midlands, UK15 contributions
Sep 2018
We arrived at approx 13.30hrs to find that the camera closed at 12.00, still completely our fault, we should have followed the clues....... the camera website does say that they are open when the bunting is hung up outside..... we failed to follow that basic clue..... the climb was well worth the view provided by this high point, views across Hugh town not to be missed on a sunny day.
Written September 14, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

spy777
Burton upon Trent, UK117 contributions
Jun 2018 • Couples
What fantastic views of St. Mary's and the surrounding islands. The fella was very informative and welcoming. £5 each and well worth it. Steep ladder type steps up and dark, but worth every penny. Hope to visit it again. Need to have a clear day though. Well done to him for renovating a disused place.
Written July 7, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Isles of Scilly Camera Obscura and Cabinet of Curiosities - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)