Want to do something practical instead of walking around Edinburgh Castle? Look no further, because the Camera Obscura is right next to the Castle’s entrance. Maria Theresa Short, claimed daughter of optician Thomas Short, built the giant periscope in 1853 and made it accessible to the public.
Visiting the building includes a 10-minute show of an illuminated wooden plate in the pitch-black rooftop chamber. You can see the whole Royal Mile live through a tilted mirror, whose image is magnified through three lenses onto the plate. The guides are very friendly and tell anecdotes of visible Edinburgh sites. Up to the rooftop, you can explore four other floors, each themed by another illusion. If you go with the right company, you can have lots of fun. Get through the mirror maze, try to decipher optical illusions or morph your face into one of an ape. Still, consider that £13 might be a lot to spend on some interactive shenanigans and a short look at an enlarged mirror image for some of you.
Insider tip: Don’t go through the vortex, if you have a weak stomach!
1 Queen Street, EH2 1JD
Fri-Wed: 10.00 AM – 5.00 PM, Thu: 10.00 AM – 7.00