Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is in the same six-storey building Maria Short bought in 1853. Because this special building is listed, it’s impossible to add a lift. But we’ll do everything we can to help. Need a walking stick stool for your visit? They’re free from reception and are cleaned and sanitised after each use. 

Our new one-way system makes using our staircases less crowded and a handrail is easily accessible. There are 98 steps in total to reach the top of the building, covering 5 floors. It is a 2 floor climb to each exhibition level going up and down. 

There are seats or benches available on every level. 


  • Camera Obscura is fun at any age – from toddler to teenager to grandparents.
    Young babies are welcome and will love the sights and sounds of our World of Illusions.
    Our attractions are not suitable for pushchairs but you can borrow one of our brilliant baby carriers – there’s no charge. Baby carriers are cleaned and sanitised after each use.
  • We’ve also got baby changing facilities in our male and female toilets.
  • Children aged 12 and under need to be accompanied by an adult during their visit. An adult qualifies as anyone aged 16 and over. 

Hard of hearing or Deaf

  • Our exhibits are mostly visual, so visitors with limited hearing can enjoy almost all the fun. 
  • At this time, we have taken the decision to postpone all demonstrations of the Camera Obscura. 
  • If you are visiting with a carer they will receive a free carer ticket. If you are visiting independently but are concerned you will not be able to experience all of our exhibits, let our team know about your requirements when you arrive and you’ll get 10% off your ticket price.

Visual impairment

  • There’s plenty for partially sighted visitors to enjoy at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. Some of our visual illusions also have interactive, hands-on aspects to stimulate the other senses. Let our team know about your requirements when you arrive and you’ll get 10% off your ticket price.
  • Please be aware that some exhibits need darkness to work properly. Our kick-along stools can also present a trip hazard.
  • Although we don’t have a lift, our brightly lit stairwell with contrasting handrail can make our six-storey tower accessible.

Visitors on the Autistic spectrum or other

  • The freedom to go at your own pace makes the World of Illusions a great choice for a day out.
  • Spend ages at some illusions and skip others altogether – whatever pace works. The attraction is split over five floors, so if one area gets too noisy, there’s always another section to move on to.
  • With our one way route, you won't miss a thing, but it's easy to skip sections or exhibits if you wish. 
  • Undecided on the best time to visit? Call us. We’ll talk you through everything that might be useful to know in advance. If you’re still unsure, come along and see how it goes. We’ll refund your ticket price in full if things don’t go to plan. 


Toilets are available on the first floor. There is also one unisex toilet available on the 4th floor. 


Carers supporting visitors with disabilities go free. We welcome one carer per paying visitor. ID of carer status required, such as: 

  • Carers allowance award letter (e.g. DLA / PIP)
  • Local Authority Carers / Plus One Card
  • Carers UK membership card 
  • 'CARE' membership card OR Bus Pass (showing plus 1 / companion) 2. Award Letter (e.g. DLA / PIP) 
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