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Education and Groups Primary Schools Language Schools

Every year, hundreds of primary school children from Edinburgh, Scotland, the UK and the world, visit Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. A favourite with pupils because of the hands-on fun, exciting exhibits and independent nature of the tour we are fast becoming a great resource for teachers too. With brand new education packs and items that demonstrate animation, light, sound, colour and vision as well as incredible artistic and creative inspiration, a visit is a great way to make parts of the curriculum come alive.

Our great location, next to Edinburgh Castle, also means that we have excellent public transport links and pedestrian access.

As a group, where available, your visit will include a showing of the original Camera Obscura, and as much time as you like to explore the World of Illusions - we recommend no less than 2 hours!

Booking your Group:
Please make a reservation as soon as you know you would like to visit. Bookings must be made at least 24 hours in advance, but spaces fill up quickly, especially at peak times of year. Booking guarantees your entry at the desired time, gives your whole group a discount on entry fees and allows us to accommodate any special requests you might have.

For some takeaway information about group visits please download the relevant document:

Camera Obscura Group Information 2017

The information we need from you:

  • Preferred date and time of your visit, we take bookings on the hour and half hour,
  • Name of the organisation and the contact details; address, phone number and email,
  • Name of group leader and a contact phone number for them,
  • Number of children, students, seniors and adults in the group,
  • How you would like to pay; an arrival, before the visit, after the visit.

For interesting, educational, activities related to your visit to Camera Obscura please investigate 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 Curriculum 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

Group Contact
If you would like more information, you are ready to book a group, or your class is studying something and you think we could help out, please get in touch with our Educational Coordinator, Alyce Paton.

0131 226 3709
  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