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Address: Clifton Down | Clifton, Bristol BS8 3LT, England
Phone Number:
+44 117 974 1242
10:00 - 16:00
Closed now
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Sun - Sat 10:00 - 16:00
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour

The Clifton Observatory and Caves sits above the Avon Gorge offering superb...

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 only two 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 obscuras, 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 Ghyston's / 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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 293 reviews
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    Very good
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I quite like it here

I quite like it here. I like it at night when you can see the suspension bridge lit up. definitely better in the summer when it's warmer though!

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 9 January 2017
Bristol, United Kingdom
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293 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 276: English reviews
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 February 2017

My family wanted a good view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and a trip round Clifton. I took them to the Observatory first.... they marvelled at the Obscura - not having seen one before and how such a simple device could provide such clarity of the surrounding area. We then descended down the tunnel to the viewing platform for the... More 

Thank ch0llis
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 January 2017

Unless brilliant sunshine day don't go. Optics dirty, reflector damaged. Very poor. Total rip off. Cave ok but steep and naturally a little claustrophobic, eventual view not as good as you can see from the top of the Downs.

Thank Arthur M
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
78 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 January 2017

I went up to the camera obscura first of all - fun to see the traffic across the bridge moving across the table in front of you - and then down the steep stairs to the cave, where there's a great view of the gorge. After that I walked round the grounds for more fine views of the suspension bridge... More 

Thank Jim_Cleary
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
70 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 January 2017

I quite like it here. I like it at night when you can see the suspension bridge lit up. definitely better in the summer when it's warmer though!

Thank madmanprod2015
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 December 2016

do visit if in bristol, just by the suspension bridge and very close to clifton village shops and resaurants, nice play area for kids

Thank martin m
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
56 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 December 2016

We went up to the top to see the camera obscurer first which is a brilliant idea. We then went to the caves which you have to pay extra for but it is only a couple of pounds. I wouldn't recommend this to someone with mobility or breathing problems as the stairs can be quite tricky but if you have... More 

Thank Sue C
Guernsey, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
110 reviews
67 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 December 2016

Well worth a visit if you are visiting the Clifton Suspension Bridge. You get a wonderful view of the bridge, the rive and the area. A lovely place to sit and relax on a sunny and warm day too.

Thank Pamela P
Montseret, France
Level Contributor
129 reviews
82 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 December 2016

We thoroughly enjoyed this visit when we were staying with family quite close by. It was a pure delight, for each of us.

Thank Catalan66117
Winchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
38 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 December 2016

Girl at kiosk took our money (£5 for 2 visitors), said 'go that way'. Gave no advice about number of steps, narrowness, steepness. Went down about 50 steps, could go no further, very cautiously made our way back up. Told the girl we hadn't made it and asked for our money back. She said 'no, you should have read the... More 

Thank Lin M
Beth B, Manager at Clifton Observatory and Caves, responded to this review

Hi Lin M, Thank you for taking time to write this and I'd like to apologise for your experience. I would like to discuss this further with you via email if you are able to provide more details? beth@cliftonobservatory.com Apologies you didn't find the signage clear enough - we will be updating this in the near future. I will also... More 

Warwick, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
376 reviews
220 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 467 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 December 2016

Walked up the path to see and take photos of the bridge. Had no idea this attraction was there, but we don't waste opportunities, so we opted to try this attraction. A little bit overpriced in my opinion. We paid to do both things on offer. We walked up the stairs to the camera obscura. It was alright, but didn't... More 

Thank rayraysworld

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