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Clifton Observatory and Caves

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Address: Clifton Down | Clifton, Bristol BS8 3LT, England
Phone Number: +44 117 974 1242
Website
Today
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Open now
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Description: The Clifton Observatory and Caves sits above the Avon Gorge offering...
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 only two 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 artist studio and installed the camera obscuras, 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 Ghyston's / 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 - 4pm.
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 117 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 51
    Excellent
  • 42
    Very good
  • 17
    Average
  • 3
    Poor
  • 4
    Terrible
Brillaint view

Well worth the climb up from the docks...did not actually go into the observatory chose to walk over the Suspension Bridge instead - another good walk.

4 of 5 starsReviewed May 30, 2015
FrNeil
,
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
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117 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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English first
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2015 NEW

Well worth the climb up from the docks...did not actually go into the observatory chose to walk over the Suspension Bridge instead - another good walk.

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Bristol, UK
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2015

St. Vincent's cave, or Ginats Cave as it is known, is situated some 250 feet above Avon Gorge and offers a unique view and photo opportunity of Clifton Suspension bridge. Originally, the only way to enter the cave was to climb the rock face, but sometime after 1828, the then owner William West, excavated the present walkway from the observatory... More 

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Coventry, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2015

Two exciting ways to view the Clifton Suspension Bridge - but only if you can manage stairs!... I hadn't visited the camera obscura for over 30 years and it was just as magical as I remembered. You need to pick a sunny day to enjoy the experience the most and the steps up to the observatory to view the camera... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Manchester, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
674 reviews 674 reviews
398 attraction reviews
351 helpful votes 351 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2015

Above the Gorge and suspension bridge you can either go up the tower or descend below to get good vantage points for viewing and photographing.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
36 attraction reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2015

The Observatory is located hidden off a track in Clifton there you will have the most incredible view of our Suspension Bridge you will not want to miss this location. A cafe for light refreshments and an inside cave .

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Christchurch, New Zealand
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2015

It's worth a visit if you are in the area. Great views of the gorge and bridge. Lots of green space for kids to run around but not much else once you've climbed the tower and descended into the cave. The camera obscura works best in bright sunlight, and the rest of it is covered so is still a good... More 

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Bristol, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2015

went there today 2nd april 2015 was not open... not happy mummy or 4 year old, so walked around for 15mins, then looked at the suspension bridge, then went home

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Gosport, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
11 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2015

A pleasant place to visit if you are in the area, but not worth going out of your way for. We combined it with a visit to the Suspension Bridge information centre.

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new zealand
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2015

Went for the bridge which by itself is a must visit in Bristol. Caves and observatory added bonus, cost next to nothing great views, highly recommend.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Gosport, UK
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
21 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2015

Great day out, beautiful scenery, great playground, lots to see, would highly recommend. This is a good cheap day out.

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