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“Wonderful volunteers of an interesting building”
Review of Camera Obscura

Ranked #15 of 46 things to do in Douglas
Attraction details
Reviewed 27 October 2017

After finding out before our trip that the Obscura was closed for the season, my son was very disappointed. A keen photographer and fanatic of unusual architecture.
I contacted them directly on the off chance that someone may be working up there, and to my amazement, the kind volunteers offered to open it especially for him.
Howard was brilliant, and showed us round the inner workings of the building, then spent 1.5 hours with us, telling us all about the history of the building and the surrounding area.
There are a few other ones round the country, but this one is unique in the fact that it has 11 views at once, rather than 1 rotating view.
Images look like static prints, until you look closely and start to see the sea rippling, then grass moving and birds passing. Quite enthralling.
Well worth a visit, and make sure you talk to the volunteers, rather than just walk in and out like some reviewers have done.
Need a bright day to get the best from it.
Back again next time.

Thank Steve M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"douglas head"
in 19 reviews
"victorian society"
in 6 reviews
"interesting building"
in 4 reviews
"run by volunteers"
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"opening times"
in 2 reviews
"darkened room"
in 2 reviews
"small charge"
in 2 reviews
"piece of history"
in 3 reviews
"isle of man"
in 9 reviews
"union"
in 7 reviews
"staffed"
in 8 reviews
"lenses"
in 5 reviews
"lighthouse"
in 5 reviews
"technology"
in 4 reviews
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"lifeboat"
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Reviewed 11 September 2017 via mobile

Slightly disappointing once you're in there as it only takes about 10 minutes (ample time) to view everything but it's interesting to see how they used to view pictures in the olden days. The fabulous thing is the passion that the volunteers have about this attraction they are a true asset. The views outside of around Douglas are stunning, well worth the walk up.

Thank KSK321
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2017

The sheer strangeness of a camera obscura is a good enough reason to visit. There's something magical about the simple lens-and-mirror trick, even in these days when you can watch a movie on your phone. The Great Union Camera Obscura is an oddity even amongst its own kind, though. Rather than a single projection onto a round table, this one has eleven, each projecting the world outside into its own compartment. It's a rare and special thing.

Entirely run by lovely volunteers, it's not open very often but it's worth making the effort. The vist lasts around 30 minutes max, admission is very cheap, and the views from Douglas Head are impressive, both through the camera and outside it, where you can take a walk and blow away your cobwebs. One of life's simple pleasures and you'll be glad you did.

Thank cambert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 August 2017

Built in 1892, the Camera Obscura on Douglas Head, Isle of Man is a fascinating example of Victorian ingenuity. Through a series of lenses, live views of the surrounding area are projected onto screens.

Thank Trevor166
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 July 2017

As it is only open at weekends you must time your visit well. However, it is a fascinating living and breathing museum set in a delightful location set over the harbour on Douglas Head.. The pride that the volunteers have in this restored attraction is clearly evident. The displays within are memorising and the clarity of the images is very good. I was glad I visited. There is a small charge to go in but I believe it was worth it.
These types of attractions are very rare now and it is fantastic that this one has been restored to a very high standard. I was pleased to make a donation in addition to the small admission charge.
Just be advised that a note on the brochure states that poor weather conditions may mean it may not open.
There is no public transport to it although it can be reached be car. If on foot then be prepared for some quite steep gradients and steep stairs/steps.

1  Thank Ian B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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