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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:

  • David M
    Cambridge, United Kingdom
    Good place for great views of the Clifton bridge
    4 of 5 stars
    Sunday, 11th August 2019
    This is probably the best place to view the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. The surrounding area is lovely but the Observatory itself is a really interesting experience with a fascinating old... Read full review
  • scottjep
    Bolton, United Kingdom
    Trip Type:
    Restricted by age and weather
    3 of 5 stars
    Monday, 12th August 2019
    Unfortunately I hadn’t read that under 4s cannot enter the caves. We had a very disappointed child and a very wet child! We will be coming back when they are a little older! Great views just very... Read full review
  • Busker999
    Tonbridge, United Kingdom
    Trip Type:
    Cheap and fun
    4 of 5 stars
    Wednesday, 21st August 2019
    Has the camra obscura and cave out to the gorge all for £4. Panoramic views over the gorge. Good cafe too. 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)