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Clifton Observatory and Caves

Clifton Down | Clifton, Bristol BS8 3LT, England
+44 117 974 1242
Review Highlights
Camera Obscura

See the bridge the way the Victorians did! Lots of steps up a middling tall but very old tower. An... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Bigbury, United Kingdom
One of only three working camera obscuras in the UK

I have never seen one of these "cameras" in real life only on television in a noteable Midsummer... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Johannesburg, South Africa
Read all 308 reviews
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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 artist 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.
  • Excellent43%
  • Very good39%
  • Average13%
  • Poor2%
  • Terrible3%
Travellers talk about
Closed Now
All hours
Hours Today: 10:00 - 17:00
Suggested Duration: < 1 hour
Clifton Down | Clifton, Bristol BS8 3LT, England
+44 117 974 1242
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Reviews (308)
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1 - 10 of 287 reviews

Reviewed 1 week ago

See the bridge the way the Victorians did! Lots of steps up a middling tall but very old tower. An experience not to be missed - not because it is thrilling - we have too much of that - but because it gives a peek...More

Thank RosieB50
Reviewed 1 week ago

I have never seen one of these "cameras" in real life only on television in a noteable Midsummer Murders episode. I really enjoyed it as did my family of wife, daughter, son in law and three grandchildren. Great views of the suspension bridge also.

Thank JonathanSuch2013
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Took my father to this location when he visited me in Bristol. Good cost, website states when booking online you get a 5% discount but this didn't work for some reason. Easy to find but finding parking nearby proved to be a challenge. The view...More

Thank Aimee S
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

The camera obscura at the top of the tower was smart and very clear...then I went down through the cave which had very low ceiling and I had to crouch down for most of it...lots of steep steps also but when you reach the viewing...More

Thank Choxbird
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

It's extremely pretty up on top, and the views are pretty breathtaking from the caves too. You can also learn a lot too, and it's really close to Clifton...

Thank mrben17
Reviewed 15 May 2017

Allow half a day to visit Observatory good and the caves great, but take care going down to the cave as its not very well lit and there are a fair few steps (both concrete and metal) not always a hand rail and you come...More

Thank PamY_11
Reviewed 25 April 2017

We walked up to the Observatory to gain a better view of the suspension bridge. The children enjoyed the camera obscura. There are about 120 steps down (and up again) to the very small cave, with views across to the suspension bridge from the precariously...More

Thank Linda S
Reviewed 25 April 2017 via mobile

Went here on a Sunday morning, quite busy. we had seen the yellow railings half way down the cliff face and went looking for the entrance. It was in the tower on the north side of the bridge. Entrance fee is £2.50 (or combined ticket...More

Thank hickmagp
Reviewed 20 April 2017

The camera obscura I admit was quite fascinating to see the skyline in real time - make sure you have a clear day. The view was nice but hard to photograph as is all windows. The cave was impressive on the way down. However there...More

Thank Lucy M
Reviewed 18 April 2017 via mobile

We went to the observatory however I did not find it interesting. But the cave was interesting. Just to walk down on the stairs watch ur head. I think that worths the visit

Thank Szabina T
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Questions & Answers
19 February 2017|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from Beth B | Property representative |
Hi HayleycUK, Generally dogs are not allowed into the Observatory, except assistance dogs. We believe the narrow and steep staircases are unsuitable for them. Fortunately the Downs just outside the Observatory is a lovely... More
2 May 2016|
AnswerShow all 4 answers
Response from Martin R | Reviewed this property |
Sorry no but should be able to find out on website. I have been in winter and its been open.
31 August 2015|
AnswerShow all 9 answers
Response from Beth B | Property representative |
Hi Sharon, Apologies for the delay in response. As others have already posted, here are the prices for the Observatory: Camera Obscura & Viewing Platform – Adults: £2.50 | Children (Under 14): £1.50 Giant’s cave... More