AboutBritain.com Logo

Camera Obscura & World Of Illusions

Plasma Ball at the Camera Obscura
© Camera Obscura
At the top of Edinburgh's historic Royal Mile, just before the famous Castle, you'll find the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions - an attraction which offers a fascinating range of optical illusions old and new.

Camera Obscura

Outside view
© Camera Obscura
Situated at the top of the building, the 19th Century Camera Obscura lets you see a live panoramic view of the city projected onto a screen in the centre of the room.

Of course seeing a moving image projected in front of you is something we're used to in the modern world - but it's interesting to imagine how exciting this must have been when it opened in the late 19th century.

Even today, younger visitors enjoy the experience and are thrilled to be able to "pick up" people walking in the streets below using pieces of card.

In dark or poorer weather we offer a projection show, showing off the same magnificent views observed from the Camera Obscura, with footage recorded from the very top of our tower during daylight hours.

But there's more to this attraction than just the Camera Obscura itself - there's lots more to enjoy on the lower floors of the building:

Magic Gallery

An exhibition of amazing optical illusions, including magic eye pictures, shadow walls, and one of the earliest forms of animation - a zoetrope.

Watch out for the tempting dish of sweets thoughtfully provided for visitors - there's just one problem - when you reach out to take one, there's nothing there!

The electric room has one of the largest plasmaspheres in the world.

This hands-on exhibition is a favourite with children - though there's plenty for the grown-ups to enjoy as well.

Photo with size illusion room
© Camera Obscura
Children always enjoy the room which lets them become giants while their parents shrink to midgets. But watch out, you might end up with your head on a platter!

Light Fantastic

The Light Fantastic exhibition offers one of the largest collections of holograms anywhere in Europe - the holograms are excellent quality too with very strong 3D effect.

If you're scared of giant hairy spiders - there's one you might want to avoid - just remember, it isn't really there!

Edinburgh Vision

See views of Edinburgh from 150 years ago, and how they compare to today. Enjoy 3D views of the city.

X-ray exhibit at Camera Obscura
© Camera Obscura
You'll also see the giant pinhole camera, and find out how to make a smaller one of your own.

You can also morph your face with a friends, see yourself as a baby, or even as a skeleton!

Other Attractions

© Camera Obscura
Kids will love the amazing Vortex Tunnel.

See if you can walk through it without falling over - it's harder than it sounds.

Can you find your way out of the mirror maze?

Shouldn't be too hard - but there seem to be a lot of people in there, and several of them look just like you...

AboutBritain Tips:

  • Your entry to the Camera Obscura Show is by timed ticket - we suggest you allow a few extra minutes to enjoy the wonderful views of Edinburgh from the rooftop viewing areas.
  • The Camera Obscura itself needs light to work, but don't worry if you're there after dark - there is a projection show with recorded footage of the daylight views.
  • Allow at least 2 hours for your whole visit - more if you have kids - there's lots to see!

Share this article


(2022 times)

Open every single day (except Christmas Day) till late.

Usual opening times:

Mon-Thu 9.00am - 8.00pm

Fri & Sun 9.00am - 9.00pm

Sat 9.00am - 10.00pm

Extended summer opening hours (until September 4th 2022):

Open every day from 8am-10pm.

Admission Charges

(2022 prices)

Peak Dates (1st July - 4th September 2022):

Adult 16 years+: £19.95
Senior/Student (with ID): £17.95
Child 5-15 years: £14.95
Under 5s: Free

Off Peak Dates:

Adult 16 years+: £18.95
Senior/Student (with ID): £16.95
Child 5-15 years: £14.95
Under 5s: Free 


At the top of the Royal Mile - just before Edinburgh Castle.

Camera Obscura & World Of Illusions Postcode for SatNav: EH1 2ND


+44 (0)1312 263 709

The Royal Mile

Copyright © 1999-2024 Excelsior Information Systems Ltd. All rights reserved.
About Us  Press Room  Terms of Use  Privacy  Link to Us  Index  Site Map  Contact Us

Made with Responsive Grid System by Graham Miller