Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura, located at the top of the Royal Mile, is one of the most enduring attractions in the capital. Strictly speaking its name refers to a device located on the topmost floor, but the name is also used as a catch-all term for the whole attraction. The camera itself displays a 360-degree panoramic view of the city. In addition to this, there is a virtual tour of the city and its history on this floor, based largely on the vision of the sociologist and urban planner Patrick Geddes. On the floors below this you’ll find the ‘World of Illusions’, comprising puzzles and optical illusions that are in equal part fun and educational, including the Mirror Maze, Vortex Tunnel, and Chaotic Pendulum. Camera Obscura began its life after Maria Short inherited a telescope built by scientific instrument maker Thomas Short. In 1835 she setup the telescope on Calton Hill, and built a public exhibit around it named ‘Short’s Popular Observatory’. The whole site moved to the Royal Mile in 1853, allowing for a spectacular view over the city that is still enjoyed by visitors today. The site was further developed by Patrick Geddes in the 1890s. He used it to demonstrate his ideas of urban planning and at the same time educate the public about the history and geography of the city in which they lived.

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Hannah Dunford
Tickets were a little pricier than expected, but the experience was also better than expected. Best panoramic views of Edinburgh, especially good on a clear day. Lots of fun optical illusions as well, definitely worth a visit!