Media and Filming at Camera Obscura

We’ve had a busy time over the past couple of months welcoming lots of film and media enquiries to the site. We love to welcome journalists, vloggers, bloggers and photographers to the attraction to capture all the exciting exhibits and most often our stunning views of Edinburgh, which make Camera Obscura and World of Illusions a popular request with the media.

Recent activity includes being featured on BBC One Scotland from the Sky, BBC One Bargain Hunt, Mini Travellers blog, Avengers Infinity War, being part of Edinburgh’s City of Superheroes, welcoming the Glasgow2018 mascot, Wide Days blog, Instgrammer visits from #UncoverEdinburgh, Scottish Field Magazine and the family from Super Toys Universe to take a vlog. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see all the most recent activity.

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The history of the attraction sparks the imagination of lots of content creation, being Edinburgh’s oldest purpose build visitor attraction, operating since 1853. The Camera Obscura itself is a scientific marvel, and has been delighting visitors with its live projections of Edinburgh for over 150 years.

Our five floors of illusions leave the mind boggling and there are certainly lots of photo and filming opportunities around the site. From bright coloured electric globes and kaleidoscopes, the shrinking room, mirror maze, vortex tunnel and severed head, getting photographs to show a fun-filled experience or highlight science and illusion are in abundance.

We always try to be accommodating and welcome media to the site. We recommend this is out of hours, first thing in the morning before we open works best for us. If you are interested in capturing content of the Camera Obscura Show please be aware that this is weather dependent (and unfortunately we can’t control the weather!).

EEN Superheroes

To get in touch and arrange a media visit please contact Claire Riddoch, Marketing Manager on or call 0131 226 3709

More information about Camera Obscura and World of Illusions can be found on our website

Facebook /camobscura
Twitter @camobscura
Instagram @camobscura1


A Great Body of Work

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The Human Chameleon – Body paint Artist Johannes Stoetter

A new exhibit in the Magic Gallery features images created by visual wiz Johannes Stoetter. The world renowned body painter tricks the mind by creating body paintings that transform his living models into objects inspired by nature including animals, fruits, flowers and more. According to the World Body Painting Championship 2012, body-painting to him is a way of “creating a unity between an image and a person”, and is made especially unique by the fact that the artwork is alive and able to move. Each of Stoetter’s art pieces are painstakingly planned and take up to 5 months to design and up to 8 hours to paint. Unlike canvas paintings however, these body-painting’s only exist for a few hours. Steal a peek behind the scenes of Stoetter creating his famous paintings The Chameleon and The Parrot.


written by Maria Grenman







Gay Pride in Edinburgh 2016

At Camera Obscura we are excited to support Gay Pride here in Edinburgh as you can see with our colourful addition to our Rooftop.


Scotland’s national LGBT pride festival, starts with a March and rally, and afterwards is a festival encompassing live music from Scottish and international acts. It takes place on the 2 July 2016.

If you are looking to support Gay Pride in the city here are some events to look out for; of course the Gay Pride march that will take place here in Edinburgh. The March route will start later than previous years due to the Queens March taking place on the same day.

March Route this year will take place down Royal Mile, Past Scottish Parliament, Abbeyhill past the Regent Bar, Royal Terrace, down onto Leith Walk (onto the pavement at RBS at corner of London Road/Leith Walk Roundabout).The march will disassemble at The Omni Centre at Greenside Row at the top of Leith Walk.

The march is expected to take between 45-60 mins with a possible stop briefly at bottom of the Royal Mile to allow the Police to reopen the road at Parliament following the Queens Parade. This information and more is available at if you are interested.

At Camera Obscura we will add photos on the day is show the exciting events in Edinburgh and how our staff support Gay Pride 2016.


written by Christine McCleary

Teeny Tiny Toddler Fest ’16 Schedule of Events Out Now!

It’s finally that time of year again.  No, not Christmas or Hogmanay:  Teeny Tiny Toddler Fest is returning to Edinburgh!  To help you organise your visit, check out our special schedule of events down below!

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Teeny Tiny Toddler Fest Schedule of Special Events


Creativity Workshops

These will be located on the 4th floor of the World of Illusions. This is a drop-in activity that one child at a time can take part in. Experiment with unusual objects, discover new ways of using them and help the researchers at Edinburgh University learn more about imagination and the development of creativity in toddlers.

For more information please ask the researcher at this station.

Language Workshops

These will be located on the 3rd floor of the World of Illusions. This is a drop-in activity that one child at a time can take part in. Play with some unique toys, make up a story and help the Edinburgh University learn more about the way language develops in toddlers.

For more information please ask the researcher at this station.

Talks on the Science of Learning and Discovery

From Monday to Friday, researchers from the University of Edinburgh’s Developmental Science group will be discussing the amazing mechanisms that allow babies and toddlers to learn to make sense of the complex world around them. Please ask at the reception desk when you buy your tickets if you would like to have a place reserved for you in one of these sessions.

Stories in the Shop

On the hour at 12.00, 1.00, 2.00 and 3.00 our creative shop team will be sharing the story of Cameron the Bear’s adventures in a snug little corner under the stairs. No need to book, just walk down the musical staircase and find us at the bottom.


For more information or to book your tickets, call 0131 226 3709 or email

Last Minute Christmas Gifts from Camera Obscura

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  The decorations are up, the carols are sung and you’ve wraped the presents for everyone and … HORROR!  You forgot to get a gift for someone.  Be it a friend, aunt, cousin, grandparent, we have all done it.  But never fear … your friendly neighbourhood Camera Obscura Gift Shop is here to save the day with these last minute present ideas….

Heat Changing Mugs

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Tis a cold time of year, and nothing heats you up better than a nice hot drink.  But in a heat changing mug, you can see just how warm you are getting. Be a matching pair, or family, with buy one and get one half price.

Rudolph mug

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Christmas kitsch at its classiest.  Perfect to drink from while sporting your best Christmas jumper.

Stocking fillers

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Christmas stockings are one of our dearest, and most joyous, Christmas traditions.  Finding items small and fun enough to fill them is a nightmare.  We have that problem solved with 3 for 2 on all festive toys.

Worry Eaters


Christmas can be stressful, but so is the rest of the year.  Feed your worries to a worry eater and let them fade away.  Chosen as Toy of the Year 2014.



Be the host with the most when the family are round for Christmas dinner.  Rather than having just crackers, have some Facemats to make everyone smile at even the worst of jokes.

Gnaw chocolate


Christmas is not the same without eating too much chocolate.  So let us help you with buy one get one free on artisan Gnaw chocolate in many tantalising and sensational flavours

Duck Fizz!

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Prepare for that grand Hogmanay party with a ducktacular twist in the shape of duck fizz.

And remember … if you spend over £25, you get a free iPhone 5 case!


Shop Opening Hours:

Standard winter opening hours are 10am – 6pm every day.

Wednesday 24th December: 10am – 5pm

Thursday 25th December: Closed

Friday 26th December: 11am – 6pm

Saturday 27th – Wednesday 31st December: 10am – 8pm

Thursday 1st January: 11am – 8pm

Friday 2nd – Sunday 4th January: 10am – 8pm

Monday 5th January onwards: 10am – 6pm



Teeny Tiny Toddler Fest ’15: How do babies’ senses develop?

Humans are born with all five senses virtually fully developed. However, slight changes and improvements happen to these senses as a baby develops and grows and this happens at a different rate for each of the five senses.  For example, by eight months a baby will have developed an understanding of a full range of sound frequencies, but it takes until the age of two for a child to develop adult perception in terms of vision. Sensory development can refer to the improvement of the five senses but it also refers to how a child reacts to the input from these senses and how they then form an appropriate response.

So, how does this all fit in with Camera Obscura and the World of Illusions?

participantWell, believe it or not, babies can be fooled by illusions from as young as five months! In 2005 the University of Bonn decided to see at what age babies begin to decipher information on distance based on perspective. The test was simple, place two toys on a chessboard background which was drawn to look like it was receding away from the babies. The toys were placed at different heights to make it look like one toy was closer to the baby than the other.  The researchers had worked out that a baby would naturally grab the toy that was closest to them. The test was repeated several times with 20 seven month old babies and 20 five month old babies, all of whom had one eye covered; this improved the perspective of the drawing and helped the babies make a more informed choice about which toy was “closer”.  The toy that was placed lower on the drawing, and therefore looked closer, was the favourite with 19 out of the 20 seven month old babies and, even more surprisingly, with 16 out of the 20 five month olds. Until this experiment was carried out, it was believed that babies could not process information on perspective.  Researchers now believe that the ability to process this information could kick in even earlier.

So, what better place to bring your little one than to Camera Obscura and World of Illusions? We’ve been fooling adults for the last 160 years…let’s see how your toddler can handle our illusions!

The event will run from the 12th-18th of January, so make sure you don’t miss out!

To book tickets call 0131 226 3709.

You can also get 20% off your ticket for the event by completing our Teeny Tiny Toddler Fest survey:



University Of Bonn. “Even Babies Can Have Optical Illusions.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2005.

Camera Obscura’s Toddlerfest Tickets: the perfect Christmas present!

Looking for a last minute gift for someone? Why not buy tickets for Teeny Tiny Toddler Fest! Buy tickets for the event before the end of the year and get them at 2014 prices.

Adult Ticket

With workshops from Edinburgh University’s Psychology department, new exhibits just for little ones and a quiet room for parents to take some time out and refuel, Toddler Fest is a great day out for you and your little one(s).

The event will run from the 12th-18th of January, so make sure you don’t miss out!

You can buy tickets for yourself or as a present at 2014 prices by calling 0131 226 3709.

You can also get 20% off your ticket for the event by completing our Teeny Tiny Toddler Fest survey:


Cameron explores….a Christmas in Catalonia

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Bon Nadal!

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Kike….one of our maintenance team



I am in Catalonia in Spain.

Did you know one of our maintenance team is from Catalonia?!

Spain is like Britain because there are a lot of different regions with their own traditions.

In Spain, many people are Christian and some act out the Nativity story.  These are called Pastorets, or El Pessebre.  I watched one.  It was very entertaining.


Christmas here is very different.  The main meal is eaten on Christmas Eve, and presents are not delivered by Santa Claus on Christmas Day, but by the Wise men on Epiphany (6th January).

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On Epiphany Catalans eat Roscón or tortell, a ring shaped roll filled with cream, or chocolate or even a bean!  Whoever finds the bean has to buy the Roscon for next year.  I think I ate the bean!


I was given a Tió de Nadal or Caga tio in Catalonia.  It is a small log with a big smiley face.  From 8th December people give the log food and a blanket to keep it warm, and then on Christmas Day it gives out presents!  From inside the log comes sweets and nuts.  I see why Caga tio means ‘pooping log.’

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I loved the Catalan Christmas, and will look after my Caga tio always.

All this travelling has been fun, but in every place I have learnt that it is important to be with friends and family.  I am going to travel home now to spend Christmas with my Camera Obscura family.



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Cameron explores….a Christmas in Latvia and Lithuania


Priecïgus Ziemassvºtkus!  Linksmų Kalėdų!

I am visiting two countries.  Latvia and Lithuania.

Although they are very close to each other, they celebrate Christmas very differently.

One of our guides is from Latvia!!


IMG_1452 - smallIn Latvia, Ziemassvētku vecītis delivers presents.  He puts them under the Christmas tree, but unlike in Scotland, they can be opened on Christmas Eve!  I would like to get presents a day early.  But some presents are hidden, and to get them children must say a poem or sing a song, or even dance!


What would my talent be?!

On Christmas day, Latvians eat peas with bacon sauce, peas, cabbage, sausage, and bacon rolls.  Afterwards they eat gingerbread.  It sounds yummy.


Latvia had the world’s first Christmas tree!  It was in the capital, Riga, in 1510.  I love Christmas Trees, especially the ones with lots of lights.


In Lithuania, a Christmas tree, or fir tree, is called Egle, which is the name of one of our guides!  Egle (trees, not our guide) are decorated with paper straws made into beautiful patterns.

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Egle…one of our tour guides!



Christmas Eve is the most important day in Lithuania.  Lithuanians have a huge meal called Kūčios.  It has no meat!  I never had a vegetarian Christmas meal before.  It was very exciting.  My favourite was kūčiukai, small pasteries soaked in poppy milk.

After the Kūčios, Kalėdų Senelis (Grandfather Christmas) visits and delivers presents!

Latvia and Lithuania celebrate Christmas very differently.  I wonder how my next Christmas will go?



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