Clifton Observatory, Bristol
Photo by Tobias Berchtold

Clifton Observatory

Home to one of the best views in Bristol, overlooking the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge

  • Heritage
  • Museums

Clifton Observatory is home to arguably, one of the best views in Bristol. Perched on the cliffside of the dramatic Avon Gorge, which plunges down through rock and woodland to the sinuous river, the 360 Cafe (open from end of July 2019) overlooks the breath-taking Clifton Suspension Bridge and Mendip Hills beyond.

It’s no wonder this was the location artist William West chose to house his studio in the 1800s. One of West’s best legacies was the steep tunnel he built leading down through the rock to Ghyston's Cave (also known as the Giant's Cave), which opens up on the cliff face of the Avon Gorge some 27m below the cliff top and 76m above the bottom of the gorge.

Make sure to visit the Suspension Bridge Museum on the other side of the gorge, and pop in to nearby Clifton Village to marvel at the handsome Georgian architecture. 

Don't miss

In 1829 William West installed a camera obscura in the tower of the Clifton Observatory. Still working today, it projects an image of the iconic surroundings, including the Suspension Bridge, into the room.



  • Accessible to wheelchair users
  • Guide dogs permitted
  • Disabled parking
  • Toilets for disabled visitors
  • Baby changing facilities
Share this page

Plan your visit

All the information you need to find your way and plan your stay in Bath and Bristol

Do you live locally?

Join our residents-only mailing list for exclusive special offers to top cultural attractions on your doorstep

Find out more