We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
New! Find and book your ideal hotel on TripAdvisor — and get the lowest prices
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Get directions
Address: Clifton Down | Clifton, Bristol BS8 3LT, England
Phone Number: +44 117 974 1242
10:00 - 16:00
Closed now
See all hours
Sun - Sat 10:00 - 16:00
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour

The Clifton Observatory and Caves sits above the Avon Gorge offering superb...

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 only two 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 obscuras, 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 Ghyston's / 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.

read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 273 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 105
  • 103
    Very good
  • 35
  • 6
  • 9
Was expecting more to be honest

We visited the cave and not the Observatory. Very interesting but you don't get to see much. Not worth the money they charge - which isn't a great deal - as you aren't down there... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 1 week ago
West Midlands, United Kingdom
Add Photo Write a Review

273 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
  • More
Showing 258: English reviews
Winchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
36 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Girl at kiosk took our money (£5 for 2 visitors), said 'go that way'. Gave no advice about number of steps, narrowness, steepness. Went down about 50 steps, could go no further, very cautiously made our way back up. Told the girl we hadn't made it and asked for our money back. She said 'no, you should have read the... More 

Thank Lin M
Beth B, Manager at Clifton Observatory and Caves, responded to this review

Hi Lin M, Thank you for taking time to write this and I'd like to apologise for your experience. I would like to discuss this further with you via email if you are able to provide more details? beth@cliftonobservatory.com Apologies you didn't find the signage clear enough - we will be updating this in the near future. I will also... More 

Warwick, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
333 reviews
184 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 451 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

Walked up the path to see and take photos of the bridge. Had no idea this attraction was there, but we don't waste opportunities, so we opted to try this attraction. A little bit overpriced in my opinion. We paid to do both things on offer. We walked up the stairs to the camera obscura. It was alright, but didn't... More 

Thank rayraysworld
West Midlands, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
63 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

We visited the cave and not the Observatory. Very interesting but you don't get to see much. Not worth the money they charge - which isn't a great deal - as you aren't down there very long. But it's nice to say you've seen it. Very steep steps, and plenty of them - not for the infirm

Thank ThisIsMyOpinion2
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
62 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

This place is next to the suspension bridge. You don't need to climb a lot to the top of the hill. It was the best spot to view the bridge. It costs 2.50 pounds to get to the top of the observatory.

Thank Bingshan
Valenzuela, Philippines
Level Contributor
279 reviews
194 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 172 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

This offers a good viewpoint overlooking the clifton suspension bridge, river avon and the city. The walk up is not that steep and quite easy. This is a great place to view the hot air balloon festival. It's also nice to just chill and enjoy nature.

Thank Rohise
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
35 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

The caves are very tight so not good for anyone with claustrophobia or 7ft tall. I'm 6' 3" however and managed to fold myself enough to make my way through the caves and it was well worth it!! The caves are steeped in history and the views from the balcony when you get to the bottom are simply stunning, looking... More 

Thank chuckie88
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
212 reviews
100 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

A great place to walk the dog... If you go up in the early evening its quite busy here with people looking at the lights on the Suspension bridge. The whole area is also a very early hill fort with a similar one on the other side of the gorge, try and see if you can see it. There is... More 

Thank HarleyMatt
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
285 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 October 2016

Visited the viewing platform, 128 steps down quite steep and also the cave is quiet low so very tall people will have to bend their heads down, the view is nice of the bridge and gorge. The way back up is strenuous as you have to climb the steep stairs again, not great if you don't like enclosed places and... More 

Thank RealityCheck2013
Gloucester, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 October 2016

The day we visited was somewhat overcast so the camera obscura was slightly disappointing until it was focused on the suspension bridge. If you visit in these conditions, it is worth persisting to give your eyes a chance to adapt. The caves lead down to a viewing platform, that gives a different view of the bridge. Be warned there are... More 

Thank Folkie G
Level Contributor
43 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 October 2016

It was a dull day when we visited but well worth it. I think the views would have been clearer if it had been sunnier. The camera obscura and caves have quite a few steps to reach them. Not a trip to do if you don't like heights or narrow passageways.

Thank jdal185

Travellers who viewed Clifton Observatory and Caves also viewed


Been to Clifton Observatory and Caves? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Clifton Observatory and Caves and other visitors
2 questions
Ask a question
County Galway, Ireland
7 months ago
over a year ago

See all questions (2)

Questions? Get answers from Clifton Observatory and Caves staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?