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Clifton Observatory and Caves

Clifton Down | Clifton, Bristol BS8 3LT, England
+44 117 974 1242
Review Highlights
Everyone should visit

Been there with my 3 years old doughtier. The view and the place is super amazing!! Really relaxing... read more

Reviewed 18 March 2017
via mobile

It was closed, but there was no notification of this until we has climbed up to the building. Even... read more

Reviewed 8 March 2017
Bristol, United Kingdom
Read all 302 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.
  • Excellent42%
  • Very good39%
  • Average14%
  • 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 (302)
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11 - 20 of 283 reviews

Reviewed 18 March 2017 via mobile

Been there with my 3 years old doughtier. The view and the place is super amazing!! Really relaxing & we love it! The inside there is like a magic mirror you can see what's in with full door close and dark room only. Its WOW!!...More

1  Thank Swanlaik
Reviewed 8 March 2017

It was closed, but there was no notification of this until we has climbed up to the building. Even the staff on the suspension bridge were unaware of the status as I had taken the precaution of asking them if it was open. I was...More

Thank JohnBonzoDogHartley
Beth B, Manager at Clifton Observatory and Caves, responded to this reviewResponded 11 March 2017

Hi JohnBonzoDogHartley, Apologies for your experience this week. We have been closed for renovations, with a new reception area, flooring and staircase going in. The closing dates 6-10 March have been mentioned on our website and on social media so apologies you didn't see these...More

Reviewed 5 March 2017

Visited this interesting historic building with my sister in February. It is two attractions in one location each of which costs 2 pounds to visit. Unfortunately the day of our visit was quite cloudy and therefore we could see very little in the old observatory....More

Thank Johneo_ca
Reviewed 26 February 2017

Camera obsecura and the views marvellous. Cave journey very difficult, but from the viewpoint can get a different view of the suspension bridge.

Thank Prem K
Reviewed 23 February 2017 via mobile

If you are in Clifton looking at the suspension bridge it's worth a a visit, but nothing exceptional really. I had hoped that the cave which opens out into the gorge partway down the cliff face would give an unusual view of the bridge, but...More

Thank Nigel P
Reviewed 21 February 2017

This was built by an artist and it is said now that many artists used Camera Obscuras to draw and paint realistically. It is worth climbing up the steps to see that first, shutting the doors to keep out the daylight and turning the handle...More

1  Thank B F
Reviewed 14 February 2017

The camera obscura is amazing and gives 360 degree views. Great to go to the viewing platform to see the gorge and suspension bridge from a new angle.

Thank hikinggirl2017
Reviewed 14 February 2017 via mobile

Heard of this view through a friend. Lovely day out walking along the suspension bridge and also through the cave. Beautiful views and something different to do. Great to take someone who's never been before, exciting but the view is very high and not for...More

Thank Jess B
Reviewed 1 February 2017

My family wanted a good view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and a trip round Clifton. I took them to the Observatory first.... they marvelled at the Obscura - not having seen one before and how such a simple device could provide such clarity of...More

Thank ch0llis
Reviewed 17 January 2017

Unless brilliant sunshine day don't go. Optics dirty, reflector damaged. Very poor. Total rip off. Cave ok but steep and naturally a little claustrophobic, eventual view not as good as you can see from the top of the Downs.

Thank Arthur M
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Questions & AnswersAsk a question
Are dogs allowed into the observatory?
19 February 2017|
Answer Show all 2 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
Are you open on Monday 9th May. thank you. Gordon
3 May 2016|
Answer Show 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.
How much to see the observatory and caves?
31 August 2015|
Answer Show 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