Bristol-based photographer Jess Siggers guides us around Bristol's most colourful neighbourhood...

A row of multi-coloured houses in the Cliftonwood area of Bristol - credit Jess Siggers

Not Clifton, not Hotwells, but sandwiched in between… Cliftonwood (so called due to the small wood we have in the middle which forms part of Goldney Hall gardens) is a (surprisingly peaceful considering it’s half a mile from Bristol city centre) neighbourhood overlooking Bristol Harbourside.

There are only two roads in & out of Cliftonwood (which may explain the tranquillity) and it’s probably known to most Bristolians and tourists as the colourful area you can see from Baltic Wharf!

Coloured Houses

Cliftonwood comprises of mainly Victorian terraced houses, many of which are painted in bright colours.

Nobody’s entirely sure when or why houses in the neighbourhood started being painted… a certain ex-Bristol Mayor believes he was the first to paint his house a colour other than grey-plaster-on-red-brick…as does a local ex-estate agent. It remains a mystery! However the craze began, the houses are an iconic part of Bristol’s skyline.

Colourful houses along Ambrose Road in Cliftonwood - credit Jess Siggers
Ambrose Road. Image: Jess Siggers

The Lion

Run by Fiona & family, The Lion is our community hub and arguably Bristol’s cosiest hub/pub at that! Festooned with strings of multi-coloured bulbs across its +200 year old ceilings, a roaring real fire in the winter & a tiny but beautiful courtyard garden, The Lion serves legendary Sunday roasts (book in advance or you’ve got no chance), a wide range of very tasty burgers and light bites, and also cater for gluten-free, vegetarian & vegan customers.

During warm weather, the Cliftonwood tradition for parents is to grab our favourite tipple from the pub (in a plastic glass) then hang around the courtyard while the kids run riot in Argyle Place park. The perfect local!

Colourful houses along Church Lane in Cliftonwood - credit Jess Siggers
Church Lane. Image: Jess Siggers

Argyle Place Park

Cliftonwood has its own little play park which has recently been renovated, funded by the community. A bucket swing, a decent slide and a couple of other bits including goalposts are all that are needed to keep the neighbourhood little ‘un’s happy! (plus it’s next to the pub, so…)

Community Garden

Another hub for the community albeit one that’s a bit more open to the elements, is (award-winning!) Cliftonwood Community Garden, also known as the town green.

Maintained tirelessly by local resident Carol and other neighbours, the community garden is a beautiful spot situated at the crossroads/bottom of the wood where Ambrose Road meets Ambra Vale East, with benches provided where you can sit on a warm day & listen to the birds. The garden is also home to a summer house, bbq & picnic area where regular community events are held. Which leads me to…

Cliftonwood Street Parties

Cliftonwood knows how to throw an epic street party! Cliftonwood Crescent, Bellevue Crescent, Ambra Vale East & Ambra Vale South all host annual street parties for residents which generally carry on late into the night.

An abundance of bunting and games which include Cherry Stone Spitting & Splat The Rat, plus live music & car-free streets for the kids to enjoy make for happy summer Saturdays (it usually rains but it’s pretty fun trying to cram everyone into a small gazebo).

Colourful houses and bunting along Cliftonwood Crescent in Cliftonwood - credit Jess Siggers
Cliftonwood Crescent. Image: Jess Siggers


Have a wander around Cliftonwood and try to spot all of the pretty mosaic street art pieces dotted about the neighbourhood. Favourites of mine include the hot air balloons (there are several of these – can you find them all?), the big ‘Welcome To Cliftonwood’ mosaic near the bottom of Ambra Vale & the cherries at the end of Worlds End Lane.

Other interesting Cliftonwood street art to look out for include the Ambra Velo bicycle with its flower-filled basket, the road sign which tells anyone who passes it how beautiful they are and the random bus stop at the top of White Hart Steps/end of Worlds End Lane (placed there years ago as part of a local art trail – love how much it baffles people).

Colourful houses along Ambra Vale South in Cliftonwood - credit Jess Siggers
Ambra Vale South. Image: Jess Siggers

Secret Spot

Giving the exact location of this spot away wouldn’t be fair to my neighbours… but let’s just say there’s a secret look-out point in Cliftonwood from which you have the most breathtaking 180 degree view of the harbour, with Totterdown’s own colourful houses to your left, Brunel's SS Great Britain in all her glory across the river and, if you’re lucky, hot air balloons rising to the right from Ashton Court

A row of multi-coloured houses in the Cliftonwood area of West Bristol - credit Jess Siggers
More Cliftonwood colour. Image: Jess Siggers

I hope you’ve enjoyed my guide! I count myself as hugely lucky to live in Cliftonwood and can’t imagine living anywhere else now. Walk up from the harbourside or down from Clifton Village, enjoy some peace, nature & colour then stop for a pint at The Lion. Also – take lots of photos during your visit and be sure to tag them with #VisitBristol!

About the author

As well as being a proud Cliftonwood resident, Jess Siggers is a photographer, content creator and consultant.

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