Accessibility

  • 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. 
  • Due to the nature of the listed building, it is not possible to take a wheelchair around the building. The exhibition floors are too narrow for wheelchairs to move around, especially in the event of fire evacuation. However, it is possible to arrive in a wheelchair if you can manage stairs with assistance of a companion and wheelchairs can be left in the foyer. There are two steps into the building from the entrance just beside the courtyard. We welcome one carer ticket per paying visitor. Please bring along your carer status ID.
  • 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.
  • We can gladly offer you one of our walking sticks stools to borrow from reception so you can rest between floors. If this would be useful, please let us know ahead of time and we can reserve one for your visit.

Families

  • 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. The hand dryers in the toilets are quite loud so please be aware if you are using these facilities.
  • We have a buggy park in our foyer where you can leave your buggy for the duration of your visit.
  • 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. 
  • We have a hearing loop at our reception, in the Camera Obscura and in our shop. Please set your device to the ‘T’ setting.
  • If you 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.
  • BSL (British Sign Language) users can make contact by using the free Contact Scotland BSL service

Visual impairment

  • 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.
  • Some exhibits at our attraction have low levels of lighting. If you have any concerns, please speak to a member of staff.
  • Although we don’t have a lift, our brightly lit stairwell with contrasting handrail can make our six-storey tower accessible.
  • We welcome guide dogs into our attraction.
  • Please be aware due to the nature of the listed building, the rooftop has some uneven surfaces. We have highlighted these where possible but please always take care when moving around on the rooftop.

Visitors on the Autistic spectrum or other

  • Our range of sensory exhibits and freedom to go at your own pace make The World of Illusions a great place to visit. 
  • If you would prefer to visit at a quieter time we would recommend booking either first thing in the morning or later in the evening, as we tend to be quieter then. Though quieter times can't be guaranteed.
  • We are most popular during school holidays, so during this period we are generally busy throughout the day. 
  • Due to our staggered entry times there may be small queues on arrival at the attraction. If you are finding this unmanageable please approach a staff member who will grant you priority entry.  
  • With our one way route you won't miss a thing, but it's easy to skip sections or exhibits if you wish. The attraction is split over five floors, so if one area gets too noisy, there’s always another section to move on to.
  • We have ear defenders which you are welcome to borrow, please ask at the front desk on arrival. These are sanitised after each use.
  • If you need to change the time or day of your visit at short notice, just let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you.
  • We do not have a dedicated quiet space, but our open air rooftop terrace is half way through your visit, which can provide a welcome break from the enclosed exhibit space, Scottish weather permitting!
  • There is a single unisex toilet on the 4th floor, just over half way through your visit on the way down from the rooftop.
  • To help familiarise yourself with the types of exhibit ahead of your visit, you can find an interactive building plan and an introduction video on our Attractions page in the Ground Floor section. 
  • Any further queries? Call us on 0131 226 3709. We’ll talk you through any concerns. 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

  • Toilets are available on the first floor and the fourth floor both with baby changing facilities.
  • The ladies’ toilets on the 1st floor are cubicles whilst the 1st floor gents are cubicles and urinals. The 4th floor toilet is a single unisex toilet with additional space and privacy.
  • The nearest Changing Places facilities are at Waverley Train Station and the National Museum of Scotland. View the map and find out more at Changing Places.

Parking

  • There is no on-site parking. There are limited disabled parking spaces available on Johnston Terrace. There is a multi-storey car park on Castle Terrace, NCP Edinburgh Castle Terrace with 5 disabled parking spaces, which is approximately a 7-minute walk away. We offer discounted parking for this car park, which can find out more about here.

Photosensitivity or epilepsy

  • We have several exhibits that use light, all of which are outside of the parameters that would usually cause a seizure. However, please note that these effects are highly dependent on the individual. For more information, please get in touch ahead of your visit and we can advise accordingly. 

hidden disabilities

  • Camera Obscura recognises the  Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme. Visitors can borrow a lanyard / sticker or wear their own to let our team know they might need support, help or a little extra time. 

Pacemakers

  • The first room in our Magic Gallery on the fifth floor is the Electric Room, which contains several electrifying exhibits. The exhibits bring electricity right to your fingertips and can spark a tiny shock. Any risk to individuals with a pacemaker is low, and research is based on very specific circumstances and older models of pacemakers, however as a precautionary measure we would ask visitors to follow the advice below.
  • Any visitors with a pacemaker should not touch any of the electric exhibits in the first room on the fifth floor and should remain 1m distance from the electric exhibits at all times. Visitor should proceed straight through the first room to the adjoining room. If you feel unwell at any point, please find the nearest member of staff and seek medical advice.
  • Alternatively, visitors are welcome to enter the fifth floor via the exit barrier on the other side of the staircase, where you can access the rest of the floor without having to go through the small section of electric exhibits in room one.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, please ask a member of staff who will be happy to advise or take you through the exit barrier themselves.

Carers

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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