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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

Road Directions

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Public Transport Directions

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TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:

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

  • ernieparry
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    Fun on a Rainy Day
    5 of 5 stars
    Friday, 11th October 2019
    We went to the Observatory when we had our two primary school grandsons staying with us - that turned out to be a great idea. First we went up the building looking at displays about its history, and... Read full review
  • pezianni
    London, United Kingdom
    Trip Type:
    Caves !!
    5 of 5 stars
    Saturday, 12th October 2019
    Cheap to enter. And great caves. Very steep. But good views. Only a couple pound to entry. Takes like 20 minutes in total so only a quick trip. Read full review
  • Sellest
    Bushey, United Kingdom
    Well worth a visit
    4 of 5 stars
    Sunday, 13th October 2019
    Came here with two of my children on the last week of September and were lucky enough to have a brilliantly sunny day. When you get to the top you can enjoy great views down on to the Clifton... 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)


Friday, 25th October 2019 - Friday, 25th October 2019

Clifton Observatory Halloween Party
more info

Saturday, 26th October 2019 - Sunday, 3rd November 2019

Clifton Observatory Half-Term Halloween TrailHalf-Term Halloween Trail at Clifton Observatory
more info