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Education and Groups Primary Schools Language Schools

Primary School VisitThis unique visitor centre is becoming increasingly recognised by teachers as a valuable source of learning within disciplines such as Science and Environmental Studies. Every year, a significant number of school children come through the doors of Camera Obscura and World of Illusions for a couple of hours of serious fun, a field trip with a vibrant and colourful twist. Set in the historical Old Town, the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions has the added bonus of being within walking distance of train and bus stations and is also close to some of the other top attractions in Scotland.

The Camera Obscura shows run every 15 minutes and the camera obscura room holds up to 35 people at a time.
If you prebook, as well as receiving a discount, one leader admitted free of charge for every ten paying group members.
You will also find information packs and an Education Pack to download prior to your visit. (See below).

The Education Pack has been designed to meet the 5-14 Curriculum Guidelines and although it is primarily geared at levels C and D, activities should easily be adaptable for younger or older learners.

Our toilets are located on the first floor of the building; unfortunately they cannot currently accommodate large numbers at one time.
We also have a gift shop with a big range of goods to suit all budgets.

We recommend that group leaders stay with their groups at all times.

Most people spend around one to two hours in our building. Do allow time for our shop as it is a favourite with children and packed with unique gifts, gadgets and games to suit every pocket.

To benefit from our group rates, please book at least 24 hours in advance.
The further in advance you do this, the more likely we are to be able to accommodate your group.

When you phone us please ensure that you have:
Day of your visit
Time of your visit
Name of group leader or organiser
No of children & leader
Method of payment
Contact details (address, Tel no, email)

If your would rather email us -

We would also appreciate if you to let us know if you are running late or need to postpone your visit, so we can rearrange the schedule for other groups.

For interesting, educational, activities related to your visit to Camera Obscura please check out the following links:

During your visit, you may like to hand our Visit Tracking Sheets. These have one activity per floor to focus the attention of pupils, there are two versions, one for younger pupils and one for older pupils. There is also an answer key for teachers.

Visit Tracking Sheet – Junior Visit Tracking Sheet – Senior Teacher Visit Tracking Sheet

For a quick activity that will confuse your eyes and challenge your pupils try Mirror Mirror. This tests how well you are able to perform a simple task while looking in the mirror.
Mirror Mirror

Or, try a classic optical illusion and create your own thaumatrope. Thaumatropes allow two images to be seen together, even though they are on different sides of the page. This is not only a great illusion, but also a good introduction to animation and film!

For the full kit; of pre-visit, during visit and post-visit resources that relate to the Scottish Currlculum for Excellence’s Vibrations and Waves area of the Science Curriculum for P4-7s please see the teacher resources below. You can pick and choose the activities you like; making a pinhole camera or seeing waves with a tuning fork, or run through the whole pack to tick all the boxes for this unit. The activities should also be easily adapted for younger or older students.
Vibrations and Waves Full Kit

If you would like more information, or your class is studying something and you think we could help out, please get in touch with our Educational Coordinator, Alyce. Email her at

  What visitors thought
  Absolutely loved it all. Lots to keep the kids amused. Fabulous day out. Well done.
k Sinclair, Fife

Very interesting and very educational
Stuart & Caroline Leatham, York

Very interactive and hands on, for children especially. Show- also informative. Thouroughly enjoyed visual view of whole city- able to spot where they had been .
2nd & 5th Oban Brownies

This was a wonderful educational exhibition. Thank you
Catalina Agyepong

Excellent- just the right level for our 6 & 8 year old. Very informative.
the Henderson family, Kelso

I thought that it was great that all the exhibits were pretty much hands on. I think this is the best way to learn - as a child or an adult. I found the whole experience entertaining as well as educational.
Visitor Survey

My son loved it! We learnt a lot of new things about Edinburgh's history.
Visitor Survey

Very visual experience which was informative, educational and entertaining. The children really enjoyed the interactive displays which were easy to understand and relate to.
Visitor Survey

I loved the collection of visual illusions. I teach some of these to undergraduate psychology students but this is the first time I've seen so many in one place.
Visitor Survey

The whole visit was excellent - every year when I bring nearly 50 13 year girls , it is welcoming and exciting - they are always thrilled by it all. We spend around 2 hours there, and they could still spend more time. All I could hear from around the building was "Wow that's so cool!" High praise indeed!
Visitor Survey