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Clifton Observatory

Clifton Observatory


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 art 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.

Map & Directions

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TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:

4 of 5 stars
  • Certificate of Excellence 2019
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Recent Reviews:

  • hawkes2an
    Cranbrook, United Kingdom
    Trip Type:
    Friends getaway
    It's a fair way down
    4 of 5 stars
    Wednesday, 8th May 2019
    This is an unusual place; first you go down and then up; or the other way round. Either way, there's a lot of steps involved. It's a fair way down to a gantry from which there are views of the... Read full review
  • d0gwalker
    Trip Type:
    observatory is interesting but maybe not for little kids
    4 of 5 stars
    Saturday, 18th May 2019
    The camera obscura is at the top of the tower (a former windmill) and can take about 8 people at a time, so you may well have to wait your turn at busy times. You really only get a view of Clifton... Read full review
  • SVacher
    Portsmouth, United Kingdom
    Trip Type:
    Solo travel
    Good visit at a great price.
    4 of 5 stars
    Monday, 20th May 2019
    I visited the observatory on a lovely sunny afternoon. It’s well worth a visit, I would recommend doing the Camera Obscura and the ‘Giants Cave’, for the £4.50 fee it’s an hour well spent. Not at all... Read full review
Litfield Rd

Tel: +44 (0)117 974 1242

Opening Times

Open (1 Jan 2019 - 31 Dec 2019)

* Summer: April – Sept, 10:00 – 17:00
Winter: Oct – Mar, 10:00 – 16:00
(Last entry 15 minutes before close)