Many people know that Bristol's Clifton Suspension Bridge is one of the most iconic sights in the city, but how many know why and how it was built?
Cross the Avon Gorge 75 metres above the high tide mark to the Leigh Woods end of the bridge and you'll find The Visitor Information Centre. Learn why the design changed so many times, how daredevil bridge builders got the suspension chains from one side to the other, the impressive secret discovered 140 years after the bridge first opened - and what the mysterious Latin inscription ‘Suspensa Vix Via Fit’ really means. There's also information about the competition to design the bridge, its construction and completion and how it is maintained today.
As a working bridge connecting Clifton to Leigh Woods, the bridge is open to the public 24 hours a day and is illuminated every night between dusk and midnight. Entrance to the Visitor Centre is free and they are open 10am-5pm daily throughout the year except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Free tours take place at 3pm every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday from Easter to October - you'll find your volunteer guide by the Clifton Toll Booth (Bristol side of the bridge) wearing a high vis jacket. You'll find your volunteer guide by the Clifton Toll Booth (Bristol side of the bridge) wearing a high vis jacket. During the summer there are tours of the vaults below Leigh Woods - advance booking only.
Hard Hat Tours of the Leigh Woods Vaults run on selected dates between Easter and October. The tours take two hours and include a visit to two of the twelve chambers inside the Leigh Woods Abutment, which were designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel (advance booking recommended)
Did you know?
The original designs for the Clifton Suspension Bridge included a huge Egyptian sphinx on top of each tower. The designs are now on show at Brunel's SS Great Britain's sister-museum 'Being Brunel'.
- Accessible to wheelchair users
- Guide dogs permitted
- Disabled parking
- Toilets for disabled visitors
- Baby changing facilities