10 Things You Might Have Missed on Your Last Visit to Camera Obscura

Regular visitors to Camera Obscura might think they’ve seen it all, but here are a few of our newest exhibitions – and things you might have missed before!



Up until Christmas, we have a thaumatrope activity on level two. Make your own snowman spinner with our Christmas Mascot!


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Spying on Those Spying

Many visitors use the pinhole camera to turn their friends and family members upside down. However, did you realise that on the wall beside you there is another pinhole spying on visitors using the view cams in the next room?




Bendy Men

Speaking of view cams, did you notice the little mascots we planted near the cameras?




The Cat

Many visitors get a fright at the sight of the giant spider in the holograms room, but those with nerve and an observant eye might have spotted another animal nearby…




New pictures depicting scenes from Alice in Wonderland and Pride and Prejudice are make lovely additions to the third floor. They are not just pictures, but litographs: look closely, and the words of the book itself make up the image.








This will sound strange, but did you see the toilets? The illusions stop nowhere…!





Even the floor plan has a bit of a twist: the toilets are on level one, while Edinburgh Vision is level two, therefore Bewilderworld must be level one and a half. Bewildering indeed!




Hidden in the Middle

The recent addition to Bewilderworld, Hidden in the Middle, is most often noticed as visitors stumble out of the Vortex Tunnel. Perhaps this is why some people have difficulty in spotting the pictures hidden in a single row of lights!




Towards the End

As you leave the exhibitions and head to the shop, look up: the roof is mirrored. You can look up to watch yourself going downstairs, like something from an Escher painting. Just mind you don’t trip!




The Musical Stairs

As you’re heading down, there’s one last interactive exhibition: the musical stairs! These are a very recent addition to Camera Obscura, so even regular visitors might not yet have had a chance to try their feet at Do, Re, Mi.



Last Minute Christmas Gifts – with a secret code!

The clock is ticking and time is running out to complete all that Christmas shopping. Well, have no fear, Camera Obscura’s Shop is here! Although a slight detour away from Princes Street, we believe we have just the thing you’re looking for. Plus, if you purchase any of these items and quote the secret code words ‘Christmas Antlers’, you’ll get a massive 20% off* (23rd-24th December only).

Merry Christmas and happy shopping!

Camera Lens Mug  |  £14.99

Why not thrill those photo fanatics with this intricately designed Camera Lens Mug. Warning – not to be attached to SLR cameras!


Waldo Pancake  |  from £3.99

With a vast array of items from the Waldo Pancake range, you’re sure to find just the right thing for family and friends. Whether it be a cheeky wee magnet or a Super Hero Travel Kit, these gifts are guaranteed to bring a smile to their faces.


Truzzles  |  from £39.00

‘What are Truzzles?’ we hear you say. Truzzles are luxury, top of the range, masterfully crafted, 3D wooden puzzles. With their silky smooth texture and rich wooden colours, you’ll almost think they’re made out of chocolate!


The Museum of Illusions  |  £16.99

It’s all about optical illusions in art. Learn how magic picture puzzles, optical illusions and distorted reality have been in art from the very beginning.


Plasma Ball  |  £30.00

It might be small but it’s certainly an eye catching ball! Hours of fun lay ahead as the crazy light patterns respond to your touch or even to the beat of music. It also doubles up as mesmerising mood light!


Don’t forget the Gift Vouchers!  |  from £8.75

It’s one of our favourites! What better gift to give someone than a pass to hours of hands-on fun and wonder in our World of Illusions, to spectacular unrivalled views from our Rooftop and to a guided tour of Edinburgh through our Camera Obscura. PLUS get them quick whilst they’re still at 2013 prices!

*20% off promotion excludes Gift Vouchers and cannot be used in conjunction with any other in store promotional offers

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!…

To help you get into the Christmas spirit, why not check out Decorate Edinburgh’s Christmas Tree Trail! The trail originally started as an annual Christmas Tree Festival at St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church, but has now spread to include businesses all over the city. Businesses have been encouraged to decorate a tree, which has been donated by the Bethany Christian Trust’s Caring Christmas Tree Project, in order to help people discover new places. The trail is not just about discovering new places though; there are four local charities that benefit from the donations of the participating businesses. With there being 45 different trees dotted around the city, you won’t have to go far to find one!

When it came to decorating our tree we drew inspiration from some of our exhibits. Our tree features bendy mirrors and some Escher inspired lizards.

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As we’re all about being different and unusual, we couldn’t have the usual star or angel tree topper so we had to come up with something a little bit different. Thanks to our talented maintenance staff our tree is topped by a working Plasma Ball! This is something, we believe, has never been done before.


With many of our neighbours participating in the trail, such as the Scotch Whisky Experience and the Real Mary Kings Close, why not make a day of it!

If you would like to find out more about the Decorate and the participating businesses and charities, more information can be found at: https://www.edinburghschristmas.com/decorateedinburgh

We would love to see your photos of our tree! If you have any please feel free to upload them to our Facebook or Twitter page.




Written by: Keshena Goldie


It’s less than 2 weeks until Christmas and we’ve got just what it takes to keep you occupied for hours! We’ve picked our top 10 favourite gifts that will challenge minds, inspire creativity and bring the family together. 

All of these are available in the Camera Obscura gift shop which is open from 10am-6pm every day until Christmas, with the exception of Christmas Eve (10am-5pm).


1)  Wooden Puzzles  |  £4.99 – £15.00

Follow the footsteps of the great explorers and inventors as you put your brain to the test with these beautifully crafted puzzles. Can you defeat Darwin, beat Brunel or match Marco Polo?!


2)  ‘Find It’ Books  |  £5.99 – £9.99

On your marks, get set, go! Race to find the Stig, save the Universe from Daleks by finding Doctor Who, or enjoy a classic game of ‘Where’s Wally?’


3)  Science Kits  |  £11.99 – £14.99

Guaranteed explosive fun and not with Brussel Sprouts! These gifts allow the kids to explore the Universe without even leaving the house.


4)  Make a Camera  |  £7.99 – £27.99

Why not capture your Christmas the old fashioned way? With our build your own Pinhole Camera or Camera Obscura kits, you can experience what the very first cameras were like, see how light is turned upside down, and even take a photograph of the view.


5)  Nail Puzzles  |  £3.99 – £7.99

Guaranteed to delight, frustrate, amaze and annoy, separating the pieces will challenge the whole family. You might be surprised by who completes the puzzle first!


6)  Magic Kits  |  £3.99

Where better to find the magic of Christmas than inside a magic kit? Stage a show with a mini guillotine, make some money disappear or separate the magic rings. (Warning…nail puzzles cannot be separated by magic!)


7)  Make a Sci-Fi Movie  |  £6.99

Lights…Camera…Action! Be story writer, cameraman, stunt coordinator and director all in one. Will humanity survive your alien invasion? Will Santa save the day (it is Christmas!)?


8)  Vintage Toys  |  £0.99 – 7.99

Skip the regular card games after Christmas lunch. Let the kids make that puppy they have been asking for – out of balloons! Enjoy a family game of pick-up sticks, or for the more adventurous – why not be a spy for the day?


9)  Timberkits  |  £12.99 – £36.99

Seriously skillful craftsmen will be able to build their very own band, locomotive, biplane or caterpillar with our mechanical timber kits. Kits can be manually or battery operated and painted with whatever colours you choose.


10)  Camera Obscura & World of Illusions Gift Vouchers  |  £8.75 – 11.95

Nothing will provide more fun filled hours than a trip to Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. A tour of the city in the Camera Obscura, more than 100 hands-on exhibits to play with and some of the funniest photo opportunities you will ever have. Plus, get your vouchers at 2013 prices before they go up in the New Year!



Written by: Alyce & Jen

Top 10 Stocking Fillers Under £2!

It’s only 20 days until Christmas!  We’ve pulled together some of our favourite stocking fillers from the Camera Obscura Gift Shop to help you with your Christmas shopping, and all for less than £2 each!

You can visit the Gift Shop during Camera Obscura opening hours: 10am until 6pm every day until Christmas (closed Christmas Day).

 1)  Smiler Bubbles  |  £1.00

Who doesn’t love bubbles?! Also doubles up as a stylish fashion accessory by wearing as a necklace.


2)  Rainbow Spring  |  £1.50

A classic gift for kids or kids at heart. Chase it down the stairs, wear it as a hat…the options are endless!


3)  Jokes  |  £1.25-1.99

For the prankster in every family. Give someone a shocking hand-shake, win all the board games with our loaded dice, offer someone a sweet they’ll never forget, or create a scare with some foaming blood. Guaranteed laughs.


4)  3D Bookmarks  |  £1.99

With a motto to suit everyone you’ll never lose your page again. But maybe they’re too pretty to hide in a book – why not hang them on your Christmas Tree?


5)  Finger Spy  |  £1.00

Because you can never have too many eyes! The cheapest and most customisable hand puppet around. Why not stage a play this Christmas Day?


6)  Magic Spinning Top  |  £1.00

The one and only gravity –defying spinning top. One good spin is all it takes to turn this top upside-down!


7)  Camera Obscura Badges  |  £0.99

We know how much some of you love Camera Obscura. Now you can show everyone! Suitable for attaching to shirts, jumpers, cardigans, hats, bags, pencil cases and even cuddly friends (toys…not people!)


8)  Multi Badges  |  £0.50

At time of writing, we have the entire One Direction collection…plus more than 50 other designs for those with a taste in an alternative direction!


9)  Candy Canes  |  £0.75

No Christmas is complete without a bendy sweet! With lots of flavours to choose from, why not get 5 each?


10)  Eraser Money  |  £1.00

Watch your money disappear right before your eyes with this money eraser…well, depending how many mistakes you make!


Happy shopping everyone!