Purple Friday

February is LGBT History month and today, Friday 23th February is “Purple Friday” a day for the people of Scotland to help show support for LGBTI equality and inclusion.

Purple signifies the purple stripe on the LGBT rainbow flag which stands for spirit. This Purple Friday you can take action to help stamp out prejudice.

This year’s theme focuses on the #EverydayHero the person whose small gestures promote an inclusive atmosphere for LGBTI people.

There are several ways in which you can show support, by wearing purple, having a rainbow bake sale, taking to social media to nominate your #EverydayHero, a person that makes your day better in some small way. You can also find out more about LGBT History Month events and Purple Friday at lgbthistory.org.uk.

At Camera Obscura we will be showing our support by turning our Camera Obscura Tower purple, and flying our rainbow flag over the city with pride.

We hope that you will be joining us to help spread awareness.

(Banner image from Studio Two Photography studio2photography.co.uk/)
(Image Below Taken from www.lgbthistory.org.uk/whats-on/2018-everyday-hero-celebration/)

Written by Christine McCleary

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Valentine’s Day 2018

Valentine’s day is approaching and we do love a good excuse for a day out or some chocolate.

Edinburgh has been described as many things – “Auld Reekie”, the “Athens of the North” and even the “Venice of the North”. Now a weekend away to Venice does conjure up romantic trips down canals but the closest we can compare in Edinburgh is when the Old town feels like a canal due to rain!

If you want to inject some fun into Valentine’s day we would always recommend to see us!

Camera Obscura is the perfect place for a fun first date or day out in Edinburgh just what you need on the run up to Valentine’s day!

We have discovered that most of our visitor numbers come from adult couples visiting together. Our rooftop views are stunning and the perfect spot for a photo or two.  It is a fantastic viewpoint for the city and you can always reenact the pose from Titanic if you want to (we have all been tempted to at some point).

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The Camera Obscura ticket is also valid all-day so if you manage to get a booking for a romantic meal at The Witchery or Angels with Bagpipes (for example) we are just a stroll away for some entertainment.

Now Camera Obscura is not just fun and games we are very passionate about romance because we have been so lucky to have so many engagements at our attraction.

Our Victorian Camera Obscura has also aided with romance by helping couples propose to each other over the last few years. Either our Tour Guides or the Fiancé will be visible from our Camera Obscura will that clear and important message “Will you marry Me?”. Thankfully everyone who has proposed with us has always said yes! A record we hope will continue.

If a formal proposal is too much of commitment you can always have a trial run with our Auto-Wed. This light-hearted exhibit can “marry” you for a cheap and cheerful £2. It is not legally binding so you should be safe but does include a wedding certificate to treasure and of course a set of wedding rings.

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We do hope you have a fantastic February and if you pop in around Valentine’s day why not share your most romantic photos with us via Facebook or Instagram?

Written by Christine McCleary

Robert Burns & Burns Night 2018

At Camera Obscura we are looking forward to celebrating Burns night supper tonight.

We are going have a quick look at “Rabbie” Burns life and things to do in Edinburgh to help celebrate the life of a beloved poet.

Robert Burns was born on January 25, 1759, in Ayrshire, Scotland. He is an iconic Scottish figure gracing our ten pound notes and whose works of poetry are still recited to this day.

Burns was a cheeky lad, a romantic and a legend in his own right, managing to father 12 children in his lifetime before his death at the age of 37. He certainly had a way with words and flattery so it’s no wonder that he has captured the hearts of so many.

Burn’s suppers are hosted on the poet’s birthday to celebrate his life and his works. The first ever Burn’s Supper was hosted by friends of late poet marking the five year anniversary of his death. They ate, drank, and reminisced about their fallen friend by reading his works.

You could pay tribute to the poet by visiting the Robert Burn’s monument here in Edinburgh that resides on Regent Road just by Calton Hill.

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Others prefer to attend a Burn’s Night Supper and ceilidh that are hosted all around Edinburgh. Due to the popularity of the poet, most events must be pre-booked, however you can have a look at “The List” which mentions a handful of celebrations happening in the city, check out the link below:

https://www.list.co.uk/events/burns-night/

If you don’t want to go out, many have a quiet celebration at home. If you want to know more about Robert Burns we have a few recommendations for you.

Artist David Begbie created a steel sculpture of Robert Burns which will feature in the Burns Unbroke Festival in Edinburgh which starts from today until March the 10th 2018. You can find out more here https://www.summerhall.co.uk/burns-unbroke/

The artist has been quoted saying ““I am proud to be Scottish, and Robert Burns is certainly Scotland’s most famous poet. This, combined with his relationship with Alison Begbie, his first real love and the inspiration for many of his works, over two centuries later, inspired me to create this portrait.” – David Begbie.

We hope you have a fantastic Burn’s Supper!

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Written by Christine McCleary

Panda on the Roof – Giant Lanterns of China

It’s a New Year and an exciting time for us at Camera Obscura. We had record visitor numbers over the festive period, but now the festive season is over you may be wondering what to do in Edinburgh in the New Year.

Camera Obscura is supporting Edinburgh Zoo with its “Giant Lanterns of China”; this includes beautiful displays of lanterns dotted around the city for you to discover along with the event itself taking place at Edinburgh Zoo.

We are currently looking after one the Zoo’s panda lanterns at the front of our building which you can see in picture below.

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This unique display of lanterns at Edinburgh Zoo helps highlight the long-standing support Edinburgh Zoo has had with China and the ongoing help in raising panda numbers.

Edinburgh was all a buzz when Tian Tian (the female panda) and Yang Guang (the male panda) first arrived in the city back in 2011. They have captured the city’s hearts and we are always hoping that baby pandas will arrive in the future.

This Winter Edinburgh Zoo has a beautiful visual treat by displaying over 450 Chinese giant lanterns to discover across the Zoo itself. The event will also host Chinese performers and wintery food and drinks to keep you warm whilst you enjoy the displays. The full route takes place over a one mile loop and will take about one hour and a half to complete.

Tickets can be booked online through Eventbrite, Edinburgh Zoo’s ticketing partner or at Edinburgh zoo itself. Tickets will only be available at the door if there is availability. Due the event’s high demand we recommend booking in advance so you don’t miss out! The Giant Lanterns of China will be running up until the 25th of February 2018 so catch it whilst you can. To find out more or book tickets just follow the link below;

https://www.edinburghzoo.org.uk/giant-lanterns/

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Written by Christine McCleary

Teeny Tiny Toddler Fest ’18 Day Planner 2 (Other places)

If you find yourself with some extra time after visiting all of the floors in the Camera Obscura, and your kids are still itching for some activities, we can recommend you pay a visit to either the National Museum or the Museum of Childhood, the latter one located right on the Royal Mile.

The museum is the first of its kind in the world; it is dedicated to the history of childhood with a great collection of old toys and board games to admire with nostalgia, you might find things you or your parents used to play with, and you’ll get to share it with your kids. Look out for the Puppet Theatre, they might have it on depending of the time of your visit, and don’t forget to snoop around the gift shop, they have a wide selection of Scottish books for children. There’s no fee to enter but the building is not that buggy-friendly to be honest, so you might have to leave any prams by the desk and take your kids with you for the tour.

Outdoorsy stuff

For the ones that are a little bit more daring, there are a lot of outdoor options despite the cold January weather: Princes Street Garden, The Royal Botanic Garden and Gorgie Farms are great places to explore with your winter jackets, not that far from the Camera Obscura.

Princes Street Gardens is the closest one; the garden is beautiful all year round but will be closing around 18:00 each day during the winter months. At the West end of the garden there is a play area with ramps, tunnels, slides and roundabouts suitable for toddlers. Older kids might enjoy better some train spotting from the Waverley Bridge on the East side of the garden. It might be a tad too cold for a picnic but you can enjoy strolling around with a great view of the Edinburgh Castle above you and the Walter Scott Monument next to you.

We can also recommend paying a visit to the Royal Botanic Garden, it is a beautiful place in all seasons and it is really accessible for prams, with levelled and ramped ground floor access and lifts. Inside there is a Chinese garden, a rock garden, the Scottish Heath Garden and the Queen Mother’s Memorial which looks like a little maze that kids will definitely enjoy and it could also serve as great location for an impromptu photoshoot of your favourite baby model.

The garden is free of entry but you do need to pay a small fee for the Glasshouses, which might be worth checking out, especially due to the cold, unfortunately they are not that accessible for buggies, so be warned. The garden is so big that they have a restaurant in the John Hope Gateway building, and two cafes: the East Gate Cafe and the Terrace Café for any snacks or toilet check-ins.

Last but not least, we are also big fans of Gorgie Farms: an urban farm with a café, just over a mile away from the Camera Obscura. It is a great opportunity for kids to get close to farm animals: pigs, cows, goats, sheep, chicken, etc. There is no entry fee but donations are welcome as the farm offers different services to the community, fresh produce, pet minding, etc. We are pretty sure that kids will love finishing their day out in town surrounded by mud, animals and vegetables.

Written by Simon Maracara

Teeny Tiny Toddler Fest ’18 Day Planner 1 (Food)

There’s only a few days left until Toddler Fest ’18 begins! Since you already have your tickets, you might be thinking about planning the rest of your visit.  If your tummy starts rumbling while exploring the Mirror Maze, there’s nothing wrong with stepping out for lunch and coming back with replenished energy. Here is a list of places near the Camera Obscura you might like to check out:

The most obvious recommendation for a quick bite would be is Café on the Mound, going down from the Camera Obscura on to North Bank Street, with tons of space for your pram, some really comfy couches and even highchairs for the babies.  The staff are always friendly and very quick, and the wee ones can find toy boxes and lots of coloured books and pencils to stay busy while you sip on hot tea and put your feet up for a while.

A “two birds, one stone” recommendation would be the National Museum of Scotland. It’s only a few minutes away, it’s free to enter and has a large restaurant and a café for that mid-break you’re looking for with the kids. The Museum itself is beautiful, and has countless exhibits including animals, dinosaurs, cars and planes, and much more. They have a lot of interactive stations too, if your kids would like to play and learn about our mysterious and exciting planet Earth.

The Museum Brasserie restaurant is in the basement, next to the main foyer, it has a lot of space for the strollers and the service is really good. The menu is mostly made up of main meals with a lot of Scottish recipes, including veggie and gluten free options. Upstairs on the third floor, there is the Balcony Café with a self-service counter with different sandwiches, cakes and soups. The space here is limited as the tables are all closer together, but they have big windows with a lot of natural lighting early in the day which some might prefer. They have a £1 cloakroom for buggies and big spacious lifts if you need them.

You can also stop by the Camera Obscura Gift Shop and ask the staff there for a discount voucher we have for other restaurants in the area, includes a nice little map and it has kids’ specific offers.

Happy Holidays

xmasWe are very excited to count down the days until Christmas and we wanted to share the good news that Camera Obscura is open during the upcoming holidays.

We are open Christmas Eve (Sunday 24th of December 2017) from 9:00am – 7:00pm before we run home to celebrate with our families the last few hours before Christmas day.

We will be closed on Christmas Day as we want to rip open our presents and eat far too much food.

We will be however open for business again on Boxing Day (Tuesday 26th of December 2017) from 10:00am – 9:00pm. This is perfect if you are coming into the city centre to brave the Boxing Day sales.

After recuperating from all the Christmas grub Edinburgh will be getting ready for Hogmanay!

New Year’s Eve is such an exciting time to be in Edinburgh you can almost feel the excitement. Once we are in the new year 2018, Camera Obscura will be open on Monday 1st Of January from 11.00am – 9.00pm. It will be a great way to start the new year with some family fun.

We can’t wait to see you over the Christmas Holiday’s or in the New Year! You can keep up to date with Camera Obscura’s festive fun via our social media; on twitter (@camobscura), Instagram (@camobscura1) and Facebook (@camobscura).

Bonfire Night

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“Remember remember the fifth of November

Gunpowder, treason and plot.

I see no reason why gunpowder, treason

Should ever be forgot…”

It is the time of year that school children will be frantically drawing dazzling fireworks and bright bonfires on dark paper; the exciting events of Bonfire night / Guy Fawkes Night.

Fireworks and sparklers will be enjoyed throughout the city and if you are joining us here at Camera Obscura you will be able to see the displays from our rooftop terrace as we are open until 9pm!

Alternatively we have a couple of ideas where to join in the fun.

Meadowbank stadium

05 November 2017  Price: £7.00
Meadowbank stadium is hosting its annual fireworks display. It is great place for a local firework perfect for school children as it doesn’t go onto late. The doors open from 6pm and fireworks show starting at 7:30pm. Perfect family fun.

03 November 2017  Price: £6.00

An evening for you and your family to enjoy street food or supper in the restaurant followed by a fireworks display. The fireworks display will begin at 7.30pm, followed by the opportunity to see our exciting new Christmas range, with the evening coming to a close at 8.30pm.

 

Written by Christine McCleary

 

Halloween

We cannot believe that the summer is over at Camera Obscura but we are fully prepared to enjoy the horrific treats that come with October – Halloween!

Whether we are hearing ghostly foot -steps on our musical stair case or our View Cams are catching ghostly figures at night; there is something for everyone at Camera Obscura and Edinburgh on the run up to Halloween 2017!

Instead of auguring whether the Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween or a Christmas movie we have a few recommendations for fun over October.

There’s a nip in the air and that not just the Scottish weather if you are looking for some frightening fun you may want to explore;

  • St Giles Cathedral is a traditional hotspot for ghoulish walking tours that show all the haunted areas of the city, hopefully you finish the tour all in one piece.
  • There is also the Samhuinn Fire Festival, which takes place in Edinburgh on 31 October 2017 at 9pm. It is run the Beltane Fire Festival Society who creates a colourful performance depicting characters from ancient folklore with fire and music. The Samhuinn Fire Festival in Edinburgh is a feast for the senses and a sight to behold. The festival is the pagan celebration of the end of the harvest season and arrival of winter.
  • For younger ghouls and trolls there is “Halloween Hop Monster Mash up” which takes place at The Jam House Edinburgh, located just behind George Street. It promises to be a day of Halloween hop dancing, ghoulish games and frightful face painting. Parties commence throughout the day at 10-11.30am / 12.30 – 2pm / 3pm – 4.30pm. It is suitable for children who are walking to ten years old. Tickets are £9.00 each and we recommend to book soon so you’re not disappointed.

Of course at Camera Obscura we too will dress up and have some fun; we keep you updated via our social-media. Until then remember this Halloween drink, eat and be scary!

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Written by: Christine McCleary

The sky is falling! No wait, it’s the 2017 Meteor Showers.

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At Camera Obscura we have been viewing the city of Edinburgh and its skies since 1853. Since we opened as a tourist attraction we have seen many incredible things like sun shine in Scotland, solar events and even the odd eclipse. We were spoiled last month with beautiful views of the Northern Lights from Calton Hill in Edinburgh.

This is why we are so excited to tilt our head to the skies during October 2017 to hopefully catch a glimpse of  both the Draconid and the Orionid Meteor showers.

The Draconid meteor shower, also known as the Giacobinids, is the first of the 2 meteor showers to grace the skies in October. The Draconids owe their name to the constellation Draco the Dragon, and are created when the Earth passes through the dust debris left by comet 21 P/ Giacobini-Zinner. This meteor shower is usually known as a sleeper with very few meteors, but watch out because the dragon might wake up and many shooting stars may race across the sky. It is due to hit it’s peak on 7th and 8th October and is best viewed just after sunset.

The second of the 2 meteor showers in October is the Orionids. The Orionid shower is created when debris from the passing Halley’s Comet comes into contact with Earth’s atmosphere every October. It should be visible from October 2 to November 7,  but will hit its peak on the nights of the 20th and 21st of October.

Tips for viewing these visual treats are, avoid city lighting as this can interfere with your viewing experience, watch with your friends and family not just for safety but also for warmth! Of course wear sensible clothing but if you’re local to Edinburgh or Scotland we presume you do this anyway and lastly if you can bring a good chair or seat, it will make all the difference.

We hope you are able to wish upon a shooting star or meteor over October and would also love to hear about your star gazing adventures via Facebook or twitter.

written by Christine McCleary