Scotland – Royal Mile And Camera Obscura Museum

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We were lucky to have amazing weather during our time in Edinburgh – I believe this was our first day of sunshine since the new year. I was tempted to buy some sunglasses as my eyes no longer know what to do when there’s actual blue skies and light.


The walk towards the Royal Mile was really beautiful and had some great spots along the way to take photos. Our apartment was situated right by The Meadows Park and there were all sorts of people out and about – joggers, parents with strollers, business people, students. It made for some great people watching and it was really interesting to listen to all the different languages being spoken.

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We happened upon this dog statue and Lena took an interest in “woofing” at it – she’s currently into making animal sounds. It’s called Greyfriars Bobby and the statue is a tribute to the little dog who, starting in 1858, stayed near the grave of his master for 14 years. It sits at the top of Candlemaker Row; just one of the many streets filled with great little shops and restaurants.


I won’t post all of them, but about half of my photos are of Lena climbing up and down stairs, curbs, basically anything that she could go up and down. She was utterly obsessed with this activity so it took us twice as long to get anywhere since she was zigzagging the whole time. Jason was a trooper and wrangled her most of the time while I took pictures. Here he is checking to make sure we don’t get hit by a car since Lena insisted on straddling the road for half a mile.


I geeked out over these posters at the National Library of Scotland and am tempted to see if they’re for sale. The designer had taken faces of famous explorers and blended them with topographical maps of the countries or places they discovered. It was a beautiful design and I drooled over them for a bit.

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After Lena had climbed every possible step along the way, we finally made it back to the Royal Mile. She was quite intrigued by this bagpipe player and stared at him for awhile in awe of his music. I loved that he was out playing because we heard his music before we actually saw him; it really added to the feeling that we were visiting somewhere new and foreign to us. Speaking of foreign, we saw this woman who claimed to hold the record for most piercings. I remember seeing a picture of her in one of my Norwegian books in college; it was seriously random that she was just hanging out in Edinburgh showing off her face jewels.

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While the buildings were really diverse and interesting to see, the shops were a bit touristy for my taste. Lots of kilts, tartans, and cashmere as well as your typical tourist fare with flags and the country name plastered all over them. We let Lena peek at some of the bins but continued on to the top of the Royal Mile where we finally arrived at the Camera Obscura Museum.

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This place was awesome! And it was perfect for us because not only did it keep Lena entertained, we enjoyed it as well. It’s been around since 1853 and has five floors of all types of optical illusions. We started at the top floor where you can get a rooftop view of the city. Edinburgh is a decent sized city and sits right on the water; I could have spent hours up there just taking it all in. The top of the museum also has the Camera Obscura for which it is named and it’s basically a series of mirrors set up to give you a bird’s eye view of the city. They do “shows” every 15 minutes where a local guide explains the camera to you and points out some of the interesting buildings and history of Edinburgh inside a darkened room. For lack of a better explanation, it’s like an ancient overhead projector. The guide showed us how to take pieces of paper so you can lift people up off the ground. If you have kids (especially boys), they will go crazy for this!

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We each had a favorite part of the museum and I was cracking up taking pictures of Lena checking everything out. We had to eventually pry her away from this soccer field; you could kick the ball around and it would move accordingly. The graphic switched between the field and a koi pond and nearly every kid that saw it stayed to play for quite awhile.

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This head-on-a-platter table was just ridiculous. Jason helped push Lena through the hole and she thought it was so cool. I could not stop laughing and I think this is my most favorite picture of the day. It’s just hilarious to me. The size shifting room was pretty cool, too. Don’t mind the Baby Bjørn I’m sporting. There are no elevators in the museum so we had to park our stroller but they gave us a carrier in case the Bacon Bit got tired. Classy move, Camera Obscura.

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Jason’s favorite was the infinity room. I managed to get a picture of us inside but it doesn’t quite do it justice. The lights morphed into all colors of the spectrum and it felt like you were in space. Pretty awesome.


I would not miss this museum if you’re in Edinburgh especially if the weather is nice. It has some of the best views in town and everything from magic tricks to holograms. We paid about £24 ($36); not too bad for the UK. Kids under five are free so if you’ve got little ones, this is an even better deal. Check out their website for more info:




By | 2017-02-10T16:57:02+00:00 February 21st, 2013|Days Out, Travel With Kids|0 Comments

About the Author:

Wife, mama, graphic designer, and documentary photographer. Never met a piece of chocolate I didn't like. I love celebrating special occasions, exploring new cities through their local cuisine, and kissing my babies incessantly.

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