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Clifton Observatory

Litfield Rd, Bristol

Tel: +44 (0)117 974 1242

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.

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)



TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:

4 of 5 stars
  • Certificate of Excellence 2019
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Average
  • Poor
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Recent Reviews:

  • Moshotel
    Obscura not very clear
    4 of 5 stars
    Thursday, 14th November 2019
    The camera obscura (sp?) was not very clear. Probably better if the sun shines. It was wet and overcast for our visit. The Giant's Cave was well worth the visit. If you are tall it's a tight squeeze... Read full review
  • lies8et4
    Great view from top
    5 of 5 stars
    Tuesday, 26th November 2019
    Great surroundings and the best view on the Suspension Bridge while on the hill (or top) of the observatory. The rooftop terrace has a fence, which partly blocks the view. Just before the observatory... Read full review
  • AnnieAries
    Lichfield, United Kingdom
    Fabulous area with fantastic views
    5 of 5 stars
    Sunday, 1st December 2019
    whenever I visit Bristol I try to get up to the Observatory and around that area - the views are amazing and the area is inspirational. There are some places to get yourself a cup of tea or... Read full review

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Sunday, 1st December 2019 - Sunday, 5th January 2020

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