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Clifton Observatory and Caves

Clifton Down | Clifton, Bristol BS8 3LT, England
+44 117 974 1242
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Review Highlights
Great Views & Great Value!

Our visit to Clifton Observatory & Caves was a bit of a spontaneous side trip to our pilgrimage to... read more

Reviewed yesterday
Nick and Angel S
,
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
via mobile
Great Views

The Camera Obscura was interesting. The kids weren't that impressed until we used a piece of white... read more

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Thorny61
,
Glossop, United Kingdom
via mobile
Read all 364 reviews
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The Clifton Observatory and Caves sits above the Avon Gorge offering superb views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the city of Bristol. The Observatory houses one of the only camera obscuras still open to the public in the UK. Originally built as a windmill for corn in 1766, the mill was later taken over by William West in 1828 who then converted the building into his own artist studio and installed the camera obscura, which is still working today. The camera offers a panoramic view of the surrounding area including the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Avon Gorge & Clifton Downs. During his time at the Observatory West also cut an underground passage to the Giant's Cave which was originally only accessible via the cliff face. After a short descent into the cave guests can enjoy the spectacular views along the Avon Gorge and Clifton Suspension Bridge. The Observatory is open to visitors 7 days a week from 10am - 5pm in Spring/Summer and 10am-4pm in Autumn/Winter with last entry being 15 minutes before closing time.
  • Excellent42%
  • Very good39%
  • Average13%
  • Poor3%
  • Terrible3%
Travellers talk about
Closed Now
Hours
Hours Today: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Suggested Duration: < 1 hour
LOCATION
Clifton Down | Clifton, Bristol BS8 3LT, England
CONTACT
Website
+44 117 974 1242
Write a ReviewReviews (364)
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"viewing platform"
in 34 reviews
"suspension bridge"
in 84 reviews
"camera obscura"
in 12 reviews
"steep steps"
in 13 reviews
"dark room"
in 7 reviews
"unique view"
in 5 reviews
"avon gorge"
in 21 reviews
"sunny day"
in 15 reviews
"worth the effort"
in 6 reviews
"short visit"
in 4 reviews
"per adult"
in 7 reviews
"unique experience"
in 5 reviews
"great fun"
in 13 reviews
"clifton"
in 34 reviews
"lens"
in 8 reviews
"climb"
in 26 reviews
"tower"
in 27 reviews
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1 - 10 of 341 reviews

Reviewed yesterday via mobile

Our visit to Clifton Observatory & Caves was a bit of a spontaneous side trip to our pilgrimage to Clifton Suspension Bridge. As the name suggests the attraction had two elements - The observatory, originally a snuff mill, was converted into a studio and observatory...More

Thank Nick and Angel S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

The Camera Obscura was interesting. The kids weren't that impressed until we used a piece of white paper to lift a dog and make a bridge that pedestrians had to go over. There are great Views over the gorge and bridge. There are a lot...More

Thank Thorny61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I loved the camera obscura; my kids were less impressed. Not sure that the cave is worth the effort steep steps to a small viewing platform. for me it was a nostalgia trip so perhaps a little 'rose tinted'.

Thank PDubois
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
See more reviews
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Visiting the camera obscura was fascinating. Easy to see why it wowed the Victorians. The cave (not caves) was a bit disappointing. Lots of steep, slippery steps which we weren't warned about when we bought the tickets. Only one route up and down which can...More

1  Thank SBA156
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

I know it’s cheap but it isn’t really very much except a hell of a lot of steps. The camera obscura wasn’t working because of the weather so we were let up the tower for free but the views are no better than you get...More

1  Thank johnandlizb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 March 2018

We visited on a rainy Saturday morning and were pleasantly surprised to find the observatory very quiet and when we got down to the caves we had the entire place to ourselves, which was amazing. Then the clouds cleared and the view got even better!...More

Thank Claire E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2018 via mobile

Cant comment on the caves as we didn't go in but the views from the observatory grounds are amazing... and free!! Cost of going into the tower and caves is less than 5 quid but we knew the views from the park grounds would be...More

Thank drsids2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 March 2018

I love this place, when I first visited here twenty years ago it was basically a tower built over a hole in the ground with a little old lady sitting on a stool taking the money (a pound each I think). I loved the rustic...More

Thank thehighlander2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 March 2018

It’s over 65 years since I visited as a child. It must have been very sunny when I last visited as the camera Obscura was magical, through a child’s eyes. Shame it was a dull day when we visited but nevertheless still interesting and we...More

Thank FeistyyFran
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 February 2018

Interesting history, great views and cheap to enter - worth paying a couple of £ more to visit the caves. Worth combining with a visit to the suspension bridge and shopping in Clifton. We made a day of it and had lunch at the Ivy...More

Thank Tracy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Ask a question
Questions & Answers
HayleycUK
19 February 2017|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from Beth B | Property representative |
Hi HayleycUK, Generally dogs are not allowed into the Observatory, except assistance dogs. We believe the narrow and steep staircases are unsuitable for them. Fortunately the Downs just outside the Observatory is a lovely... More
2
Votes
gordongalway
2 May 2016|
AnswerShow all 4 answers
Response from Martin R | Reviewed this property |
Sorry no but should be able to find out on website. I have been in winter and its been open.
0
Votes
SHARON M
31 August 2015|
AnswerShow all 9 answers
Response from Beth B | Property representative |
Hi Sharon, Apologies for the delay in response. As others have already posted, here are the prices for the Observatory: Camera Obscura & Viewing Platform – Adults: £2.50 | Children (Under 14): £1.50 Giant’s cave... More
3
Votes