We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Clifton Observatory and Caves

Certificate of Excellence
Improve this listing
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Your filters are still active.
There are no pins in your viewport. Try moving the map or changing your filters.
Sponsored by:
Get directions
Address: Clifton Down | Clifton, Bristol BS8 3LT, England
Phone Number: +44 117 974 1242
Website
Today
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Open now
See all hours
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.
read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 114 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 50
    Excellent
  • 40
    Very good
  • 17
    Average
  • 3
    Poor
  • 4
    Terrible
A nice way to wile away the hours on a warm sunny day with picturesque, panoramic views.

We visited the Cave, Observatory & Clifton Suspension Bridge on a very warm summers day with a picnic. We took a leisurely stroll across the bridge first which enabled us to... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed August 26, 2013
Georgina T
,
Bristol, United Kingdom
via mobile
Add Photo Write a Review

114 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Liverpool
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2013

I wasn't expecting a magical mystery tour but I wasn't expecting to take my life into my hands either! There should have been clear warnings from the (obviously bored) staff and all long the caves which got slippier as it got progressively steeper. We had to turn back as it became impassible. Never again!

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Leigh-on Sea, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
11 attraction reviews
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2013

It cost £2 to descent down to 'caves' and you exit at the small platform, I wouldnt call it a cave, is is more a passage though the rock out on the small platform but each to their own! We havent seen observatory as it was bad light that day.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Bristol, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
30 attraction reviews
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013 via mobile

We visited the Cave, Observatory & Clifton Suspension Bridge on a very warm summers day with a picnic. We took a leisurely stroll across the bridge first which enabled us to appreciate the fine engineering as well as the awesome views. We made our way up the hill to the Observatory and had our picnic on the grass next to... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Bristol, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
33 attraction reviews
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2013

I was a little disappointed, although when I visited they were doing some work on the observatory which I expect is finished by now. Not much of a cave, more like a tunnel leading down to an opening in the side of a cliff. It was ok.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Somerset, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
4 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

Amazing views of Bristol observed from the Camera Obscura - an optical device. Stand in a darkened room at the top of the tower that houses the 'camera' and look down on a curved white dish shaped screen to see Bristol from every angle in real time with movement - cars on the Suspension Bridge and Leaves moving on the... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Bristol, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

sitting above the suspension bridge,a walk inside allows you to turn thearm and view a wonderful panoramic view.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Inverness, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
52 attraction reviews
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

This is ok it does not cost a lot of money the best part of this is you can walk down the long steps and come out on the side of the cliff where you can see clifton bridge it is worth it for that

Was this review helpful? Yes
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
36 attraction reviews
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

Clifton Observatory was probably cutting edge in its day.... but now is more of an historical curio. Fun for children - especially with the camera obscura - & good for the views.... but doesn't take more than 20 minutes really, to climb up & take a look at. The steps leading down to Jack's Hole are very long, narrow &... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Weston super Mare, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
146 reviews 146 reviews
91 attraction reviews
104 helpful votes 104 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

A steep climb to the top up a winding staircase and you will see the camera obscura which you can operate yourself. Then down again into Jack's Hole, through long tunnels seemingly going underground until you come out to a railed platform very high up, overlooking the Portway!

Was this review helpful? Yes
Adelaide
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
47 attraction reviews
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2013

Get great views of the suspension bridge from the park surrounding the Observatory. I came here for the camera obscura, which was 2 pounds was wall well worth the visit and 2 pounds for me! The camera obscura is quite fascinating and also fun as my friend didn't come up the observatory so I could find her in the park.... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes

Travelers who viewed Clifton Observatory and Caves also viewed

 

Been to Clifton Observatory and Caves? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Register now for free — and start getting automatic notification of new reviews, responding to traveler feedback, adding new photos to your listing and much more.

Manage your listing

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from Clifton Observatory and Caves staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?