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“Camera Obscura Magnifica!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Clifton Observatory and Caves

Clifton Observatory and Caves
Clifton Down | Clifton, Bristol BS8 3LT, England
44 117 974 1242
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Ranked #27 of 97 Attractions in Bristol
Type: Observatories/ Planetariums, Caverns/ Caves, Museums
Attraction details
Bristol, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
213 reviews 213 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
144 helpful votes 144 helpful votes
“Camera Obscura Magnifica!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

I've never been to the caves - climbing through a tunnel surrounded by tons of stone onto a rickety-looking platform has never been my sort of thing.

What is my sort of thing, is the Observatory. Here, at the very top, sits a Victorian Camera Obscura. This wonder of the Victorian age is something that will keep you entertained for quite some time.

A simple premise, it projects an image from the roof-mounted periscope onto a dish in the middle of a darkened room. Great fun is to be had as you take turns in moving the gaze of the camera, watching the people outside in real-time as they happily go about their business in the bustling area surrounding the bridge.

Well worth a visit!

Visited April 2013
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English first
Modena, Italy
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Great views”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2013

There is a short walk up to the Oservatory from the Suspension bridge with stunning views of the gorge and bridge from the surrounding grounds. The area was once an iron age fort and some remains can still be seen following direction from the information boards. The top of observatory houses a Victorian Camera Obscura which projects a great image of the surrounds through a periscope like mirror and lens arrangement projecting onto a concave dish about 1.5m across. The cave is reached by a tight quickly descending set of stairs with low headroom of about 30m. Views from St Vincent's cave out into the gorge and of the Clifton suspension bridge are fabulous.

Bit pricey for family of 5 to visit at £2 adult and £1 children for each attraction costing total of £16..! Not much historical information about the place available either. Only saving grace being the novelty of the camera obscura as it was a very bright day and the images were great.

Visited April 2013
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N.E.Lincolnshire
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
41 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“great view of the gorge”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

make sure to climb down to the cave it's a tight squeze for the tall so mind your head my jill banged her head and she is only 5'4"

Visited April 2013
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Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
567 reviews 567 reviews
287 attraction reviews
Reviews in 148 cities Reviews in 148 cities
215 helpful votes 215 helpful votes
“Fun observation on a clear day”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2013

After thr suspension bridge walk up the hill to the observatory. Small entrance charge and then on as clear day interesting moving images of the local area including the bridge with traffic and people going about their daily business. The attached photo was taken on quitye a murky day so expect better in the summer.
Some building work was going on when we visited so I think some more facilities are in hand for the visitor.

Visited February 2013
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Lincoln, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
157 reviews 157 reviews
53 attraction reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
“Interesting contrast of up high and low views of Clifton Suspension Bridge”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

There is no requirement for you to buy tickets for both of these attractions (the tickets are sold separately) but at £2 each per adult most people do. The Camera Obscura has excellent views of the bridge and it great fun for couples and families. The Camera Obscura has best views on a clear day.

The cave was formerly used as a chapel 400 years ago but now has amazingly views of he suspension bridge. You have to walk down quiet a few steep steps in a narrow passage to get here but it is well worth it. Although other than the view there is nothing to do in the cave, it is very visually stunning so make sure your camera is charged.

For those with limited mobility please be aware that there are a lot of steps involved in these attractions and no lifts so these may not be suitable for you.

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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