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


“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



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!


Written by: Christine McCleary

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


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

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary

For all you muggles out there that have been hiding under a rock you may not have notice the magic in the air last weekend. We had a great time here at Camera Obscura joining in the celebrations for Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary! Whether you are a brave Gryffindor, a kind Hufflepuff, an intelligent Ravenclaw or a sly Slytherin there is something for you at Camera Obscura!

During the weekend we enjoyed reliving our childhood magic by having sorting hat ceremonies throughout the day, where lots of new wizards and witches were sorted into their appropriate houses, Harry Potter face painting so you too could have the mark of he who cannot be named, and lots of fabulous Harry Potter gifts and sweets to buy, including a competition with one lucky winner!

It truly was a celebration of 20 Years of Harry Potter Magic!










written by Christine McCleary

Teeny Tiny Toddler Fest ‘17


It’s finally that time of year again.  No, not Christmas or Hogmanay:  Teeny Tiny Toddler Fest is back and this year bigger than ever!  To help you organise your visit, check out our special schedule of events available to download below.

Big Schedule of Events!

This year we have an under-the-sea theme for Teeny Tiny Toddler Fest. Come and enjoy the six floors of interactive exhibits, fabulous workshops developed by Developmental Psychologists, play-stations with hands-on fun from Camera Obscura and all the usual favourites. Make coloured shadows fish theatre, swim without getting wet, take unique family photos, and watch your toddler delight in their mixed up reflections.

Extras include a Quiet Room for feeding, relaxing and sharing a free cuppa with friends or if you want to take advantage of our tickets being valid all day, there are great local discounts if you would prefer to check out some of the cafés in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town.

Toddler Fest will run from Friday the 13th until Sunday the 22nd of January.  Although we might add more activities as the event nears, we’re pleased to release a preliminary calendar of activities down below.  Pick a day, any day, and have a look below to see what you and your Toddler will be enjoying together this Toddler Fest, and don’t forget to grab your tickets at www.hubtickets.co.uk !

Festive Fun in Edinburgh

At Camera Obscura we are excited about the run up to Christmas! We wanted to share some of the exciting events that taking place across the city.

The Street of Light will be back this year after its huge success last year, it will take place at a new location on George Street. The stunning light show will take place from 21st of November right through 24th of December. It will have a fantastic display of over 60,000 lights alongside synchronised music – it is truly spell binding.  For those of us at Camera Obscura that saw the lights last year we would definitely recommend!

street-of-lightImage found via http://www.edinburghspotlight.com/2015/11/streetoflight/

Of course Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas here in Edinburgh without two visible features – The Big Wheel and of course Edinburgh’s Christmas Market. There is nothing like freezing in the December cold with a mug of mulled wine and pretzel in one hand.

The Big wheel is a noticeable addition to Princess Street and will be operational from 19th November – 7th January 2017, it will be open from 10 am each day but remember its first come first served. It is a fantastic way to see the city and we bet you’ll want to go on the Big wheel more than once!


Image found via https://www.theinnonthemile.co.uk/edinburghs-christmas/

The Christmas Market will return once more and delight us with its mulled wine, fresh foods, warmth and haven of Christmas trinkets. This year the Christmas market will be open until 10pm meaning you never miss the fun.

For those good boys and girls writing their letters to Santa you’ll have to be quick as The Royal Mail will need them sent in by Friday 9th December to send them to Santa himself!letter_to_santa_logo

Camera Obscura will also be joining in the festive activities this year with free Christmas face-painting in our gift shop throughout the festive period. We have some beautiful Christmas displays and Christmas hampers available in our gift shop, perfect for those who are hard to buy for.

We will also be supporting Save the Children’s Christmas jumper day on Friday 16th December and we look forward to coming to join in our Christmas fun!

Halloween Fun!

We hope everyone has had a fantastically spooky Halloween this year, the staff here at Camera Obscura certainly enjoyed getting dressed up!

Take a look at some of the wonderful costumes…..



Until next year…. Lets hope its even spookier!