Photo by Tobias Berchtold

Clifton Observatory

Perched overlooking the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, Clifton Observatory is a unique attraction in an out-of-this-world setting

  • Heritage
  • Museums

On one side The Downs parkland strides majestically into the distance, and to the other, the Avon Gorge plunges down through rock and woodland to the sinuous river below.

It’s no wonder that this was the location that artist William West chose to house his studio in the 1800s. One of West’s best legacies was the tunnel he built leading down through the rock to St Vincent’s Cave, which opens up on the cliff-face of the Avon Gorge some 76m above ground and 27m below the cliff top - a must visit if only for the incredible opportunity it offers for a Suspension Bridge selfie.

Make sure to visit the Suspension Bridge Museum on the other side of the bridge, and pop in to nearby Clifton Village for a bite to eat before you leave. 

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
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